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Colleges Failing to Prepare Students for Careers and Citizenship

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By Danielle Wirsansky

Most students believe that college is preparing them for a bright and successful career and life. However, recent findings from The American Council of Trustees and Alumni’s annual publication, What Will They Learn? has shown otherwise, according to a recent press release.

Their findings specifically for the 2019-2020 academic year, published in this text, showed how colleges were letting their students down academically:

  • 82% do not require students to take a foundational course in U.S. government or history.
  • 43% do not require students to take a college-level mathematics course.
  • 68% do not require students to study literature.
  • 88% do not require intermediate-level foreign language courses.
  • 97% do not require a course in economics.

“It’s not surprising that public confidence in higher education is falling,” said Michael Poliakoff, ACTA’s president. “Amidst all the fanfare about the release of the latest college rankings this week, there is not a peep about ill-informed citizens, often underprepared for the workforce, who are graduating from our colleges and universities with mountains of student debt. By focusing on resource inputs, admissions selectivity, and institutional reputation, the major rankings systems drive costs up but show little interest in what students learn—or don’t learn.”

This new publication also suggests that by refusing to have a U.S. government or history requirement, colleges and universities are also failing to prepare students for informed citizenship. This finding was supported by a recent survey where nearly 1 in 5 Americans selected Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as the author of the New Deal.

To find out more information on What Will They Learn? 2019-2020 and its findings, check out ACTA’s new and improved website, which has a new look as well as two new focuses. These focuses include one for high school counselors and the second reinforces what employers believe a core curriculum should provide to students, which can guide students in their college studies

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