College-Readiness: The Current State of Affairs
Academic Leadership - Online Journal,
Vol. 8 No. 4 (2007): Vol-8-Issue-4-April-2007
Imagine a nation in which every student, from Boston to Houston, from Cleveland to Miami, from
Chicago’s South side to Compton, from a New Mexico Indian reservation to the Appalachian
Mountains, characteristically graduates from high school prepared for postsecondary training (i.e.,
college, university, trade school, or workforce training). Further, imagine being able to say to every
child “you will be provided with a high school that will educate you, challenge you, care for you, support
you, and graduate you ready to compete and succeed in this world” (Balfanz & Letgers, 2004, p. 2).
The current realities of the proposed outcomes of Brown vs. the Board of Education and subsequent
education legislation create a vastly different view of the educational panorama. Rather than the
beautiful landscape, the bleak picture is that many students in the U.S. do not graduate and of those
students who do graduate, most students are not prepared to participate fully in academic endeavors,
the workforce, or civic life. According to Bourdieu and Passeron (1977), the primary avenue out of
lasting poverty and dependence on social services in America is a quality high school education
followed by some form of postsecondary schooling or training.