Whaddya mean they can’t read good?

I received a text message from son #2/child #3 Wednesday night informing me that my presence was expected at his college orientation meeting today.

Oh, foolish me. I assumed that meant I’d spend a few hours at the college this morning and then head out, giving me time to visit Lowe’s and the thrift store and the local Habitat for Humanity Re-Store before I dropped said kid/college frosh off at work at 5 p.m.

Alas. It was not to be.

Had I been paying more attention, I’d have realized the orientation involved STAYING at the dorms (something I didn’t do when I attended college) and TWO full days of busywork and information sessions. Grr.

So between all the happy, chipper, bouncy college people and the 3-hour session this afternoon about campus life and student housing and yada-yada-yada, the one randomly tossed-out factoid I latched on to was this one…

60 to 70 percent of incoming college freshman require remedial help in basic skills… readin’, writin’, and/or ‘rithmatic.


We pour billions of dollars into this nation’s public education system every year. Maybe trillions. And still we aren’t getting the desired results: kids who can “read and write good” and maybe even balance a checkbook.

Do I think it’s the fault of the teachers? No. Anyone who would take on a roomful of children for five days a week, 9 months of the year, at the pittance our teachers are paid has a heart for what they do. In my experience, the majority of them excel in their field, and they love their students.

Wherever the disconnect lies in the system, we need to find a solution…

I have a terrible feeling the reason “college orientation” requires two days of parental attendance has to do with the fact the parents AND their children won’t bother to read, or won’t understand, all the information doled out by way of student handbook, etc. I can’t blame the admins… based on the inane questions asked by several parents in the afternoon session, I’d want to  be able to answer the phone and say, “that was covered at orientation,” too.

Today’s experience was just one of the many reasons I chose to homeschool my children… and now , they still won’t let me unhook… Even though I know kid #3 will DO BETTER when I’m not involved, when I’m not there to issue reminders and offer suggestions… after all, isn’t that what college is supposed to be about? The next step out of the nest? Since when do the parent birds have to follow the baby birds to the next stop?

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