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The topic on this week's Behind the classroom door from northern Illinois University's College of Education is should all children go to college. Here's the moderator Dean Robert F. top. It is interesting that in our country it appears the thing to do is to send your child to college. All children apparently planned to go to college or at least their parents would like to plan to have them go to college. This is an interesting development actually because there have been changes over the years with regard to what was expected educationally for one to be a success in life. You know several generations ago it was sufficient if a person graduated from the eighth grade. Later a high school diploma became necessary to attain a satisfactory position in life but today it seems that a college diploma is essential if you want to get the job you desire. Now when you consider what has happened it appears to me that the completion of the eighth grade and then
the completion of the high school course. Now the completion of college would indicate that employers have always looked for a certain degree of persistence that was shown by the completion of these three different types of educational programs in past generations. Yes. It's interesting that you mention generations Leo because I was just sitting here thinking as you were talking that relating this to my own family for example in my father's day if you said an eighth grade education was adequate I think in my day one generation later I'm in my day a high school education was adequate for most of my classmates and of course now for my children a college education is a necessity. You know there's like oh you know you say I wonder if we aren't almost past that stage. Some type of graduate work or graduate
degree is a necessity for many fields. Well a large percentage of baccalaureate earning students plan to go on to their and their master's degrees. But you know there can be a lot of harm come out of this custom. This idea that you aren't in unless you have completed college degree. I think we have to recognize that even though a high school diploma used to be. The mark of distinction indicating a person was ready to go to work that many people then did not finish high school program. And today there is a considerable percentage of young people who don't finish the high school program. These are so-called dropouts and whatever may be the cause. They just don't finish. And perhaps a different kind of program needs to be designed for such individuals. I think that in some cases the job market tends to be quite unrealistic and that often times an
educational requirement is attached to the job when it would be very different to determine the rationale for that particular degree. You begin to wonder were the employers asking for a bachelor's degree because of the now only skills a person has or whether just to winnow out. Some people do think in general might not do the job. You know when I consider this problem it appears to me that at the present time the elementary school and the secondary school have all they can do to prepare children to become good citizens and thinking human beings without taking the time or they don't have the time to prepare these children for a specific occupational skill. So I think it's a necessity then that children continue beyond high school to pick up the technical knowledge which will fit them for a job and in the community
now. I don't think that necessarily has to be a college bill. I think we ought to consider any institution that prepares a child beyond the high school. But isn't it truly all that as we talk more and more about all students going to college those of us at the college level are guilty of forcing high schools to concentrate more on the college preparatory program and we won't let them in unless they have so many hours for laying foreign language and so forth and yet dropouts often have dropped out of high school because the curriculum was not meaningful to them. I think in many cases the potential dropout is a type of individual who wants immediate reward or he wants to be able to see the relationship between what he is studying in school and what he will be doing in life. And. Most recent figures I've seen
for the state of Illinois indicate that we have approximately one third of our youth who start the first grade who do not complete high school. Well that's a large number. And I think that our schools have to become concerned much more concerned about providing a meaningful curriculum for that group. You know when you say that it's meaningful this is significant because it's wrong to think that all of those children all the children of all the people can can complete the typical academic colleagues prep program at the high school level they just can't or as you've indicated they may not be interested or motivated enough. So were it were seriously in error and not providing the kind of high school programs that meet their needs. One of the features that is being incorporated in many high school programs these days is the work study program in this program the student
who was on able or unwilling to continue with the regular basic highschool course to work part time in industries or offices within the community it's shared time. Type of arrangement where the child spends part time in the in the business office or factory and part time in the classroom in the high school. Then he is able to get this training which otherwise would not be a vailable for him. And I think that's definitely a step in the right direction and many schools of course in the last few years have started such programs. But I also think that. Many laypeople in fact many people even in the profession have a very erroneous idea is about to drop out based on studies that were done many years ago all. For example I think we tend to think of the dropout as being someone with a lower
IQ. Someone who was unable to achieve in school and yet one member of our Illinois junior college board is on a committee that has just well they're in the process of completing a study. The dropout and surprisingly cities they found that it is the person with the higher IQ who is dropping out of school. Imagine that. How do they account for that. These individuals of course. I think you're dealing largely with minority groups. Once you moved into the inner city but they know all that they're not going on to college and therefore they're intelligent enough to see that much of what they're doing in high school. Has no relationship to what they will do in employment. I shouldn't say they necessarily have a higher IQ but he found that they have. There is no significant difference between the
IQ of the individuals who drop out and those who stay. However there was a slight advantage for those people who were dropping out. Now if when these people were traced through their elementary schools their grades often were fairly high at the beginning and then gradually became lower and you could almost see that as the student Developmentally he saw that what he was doing in school had no relationship to his world. So again I think that those of us in education have to make certain that teachers try to relate what a person is studying in a classroom to the child's world not to the teacher's world or not to the college life. But to the entire class and you have to realize and face up to another thing that I think is a factor in the dropout rate or the person's disinclination to go to college and then is that intellectual
activity requires a lot of inner drive. Sit do sit down and apply or sow independently do homework or preparation requires a lot of internal drive and motivation. More perhaps than actual work. I think many and many a dropout who had given up because you just can't bear the boredom him sitting down and studying can go out and make a good contribution. But we want them to be prepared in the areas where they can contribute. Now we've indicated there are a lot of alternatives because of my concern and I think you would have the concern to parents who are saddling their children with their own ambitions to finish a typical baccalaureate program when many of them should not do this. Or perhaps are not capable of doing it. Under present circumstances where we still formalize a baccalaureate degree I know there are a lot of opportunities other than the baccalaureate degree and I think that parents ought to realize this and
try to assess their children's interests and abilities and think of these other things. I think one of the best things certainly happening throughout the United States and happening very rapidly in the state of Illinois is the development of community colleges or perhaps more commonly called junior colleges. And these are part of the higher education system in the state so that it is possible for an individual to attend a junior college. If he is uncertain whether he should. An attempt a baccalaureate he can take a college parallel program a so-called program because it parallels what the individual would take in his first two years at a senior college. And if he does satisfactorily on that program he may transfer into a senior college without loss of credit. But the best thing about the
community college is that the community college often offers programs that would be more meaningful for the non academic student backed by a percentage of the curriculum has to be devoted to the technical aspects. Yes Tech and technical and vocational and I think. Eventually in the state of Illinois they do hope to have community colleges within commuting distance of all high schools. In other words an individual should be able to commute to a nearby Jr. College Well actually you can make some mistakes in the counseling young beginning junior college student. Again if we aren't careful of our own desires and ambitions are projected to this individual we don't give them sufficient testing and counseling to find out what his interests are. I think many a person going into a junior college chooses the college prepare a well program as though you were going right on to a
baccalaureate when again. If his counselors and his teachers and his parents had a little more insight this young person they would try to encourage him into some kind of a technical or terminal vocational program in the community college. When you think of the needs of the junior colleges now serving in Illinois and will serve in the future it's amazing to me that we've haven't had more junior colleges in the past I know about 25 years ago. There was a movement towards private union colleges across the country. And then during the war. They sort of fold many of them folded. And so now there certainly is. It certainly is evident that there is a need for this sort of institution. And then furthermore there's there is the student that that really doesn't know whether or not he will be successful in college and it's a good chance for this student at sort of on the fence to test him self because sometimes they
have the idea that they have to be highly intellectual to be successful in college. And as Dean top said a few minutes ago there are other factors that are important here such as that inner drive that stick to it and is to do a good job in rural encouragement. And so I think many times students who feel they wouldn't be successful in college surprised themselves by by being very successful. Well then it's not too hard really to decide to discover where their young person is a mechanically inclined. I see this with children that I know where one child grasped the relationships between physical things and mechanically can put them together or take them apart or has this insight. On the other hand a very bright person academically speaking maybe all thumbs may be unable to see the spatial relationships. Well this is a junior college movement would appear to indicate then that
there is going to be a 14 year educational program available to all children then at at state expense. In our time we had this program available through the through the 12th grade and we were talking about past generations where this program was available through the eighth grade but. It definitely appears now that. The educational program for all children will be increased to 14 years. I think you're making an important point to stress in the idea that this would be at state expense because of financial reasons of course have kept many capable individuals from attending college and the junior college at least will give the individual the opportunity of attending. For a two year period to determine whether he actually has the drive to go on and continue at the senior college
and also gives him the opportunity to take a technical or vocational program at comparatively low cost. I think the present arrangement in the state of Illinois still. It has a tuition fee. For the youngster. In fact the individual pays one third the cost of attending. The state pays one third and the Junior College District pays one third. Is this true of all or part of our junior County. The ones that have gone under the master plan as class a class one junior colleges generally follow that plan. The local district me assume a greater share of the cost and I think my own opinion is that they should that the cost youngster should be as low as possible. California for example. I had
no charge to the individual through the baccalaureate. Well University of Guelph actual state of California prior to some recent changes that were made under the present governor. Unable an individual to attend from kindergarten through the doctorate without pain tuition there were fees but these were relatively small fairly typical tuition charges fairly minor and I think almost any needy child in golf or knew was able to get a grant that would pay the cost of the fees. But I taught in connection with a community college in California for a few years and at that time we charge students one dollar and I was one dollar simply for registration. Well it's free for all practical purposes. This nation has always taken the position that the education of young people was
everybody's responsibility. Whether the individual taxpayer had children or had educated children or not this was settled in court cases earlier. Which indicated that it was legal and desirable. Well I think that the idea of some tuition is partly to demonstrate the seriousness of purpose of the student and his parents. And in a way we may have forgotten to mention that many a good student who wants to go to college and can finish it doesn't do so because of a relaxed careless attitude on the part of his birth's apparent sometimes even today. And this seems unbelievable to some of us. Discourage their children from going on to college when they might be capable. It's been said that anybody can go to college now if he has enough ambition. The financial problem can be solved. I think that's true although it costs much more money today for boarding room and for another living cost than it did let's say when I was in college. There
are other sources of income available to national defense and national defense loans are available to students who have the need. And then you take the student who goes to a junior college and is highly successful in his grades. That student has access to different types of scholarships if he would investigate through his counselor. He would find different scholarships available to him. It's probably easier for a needy child. To attend college today and needy financially than it is for a child of middle class parents. Because so many of the grants and scholarships have need to attach to them financial need. While the child who cannot prove that his parents lack the finance finances to support his education may have much more difficulty. I don't think we should mislead people though when we consider scholarships that are available
because I think that poor families benefit little from these scholarships because most awards are too small to be practical without the family having some additional money to supplement the award that the child is getting. And many many times this has to come from the young person himself because he has to work. He has to have the desire to go to college. And I think we'd be surprised to discover how many parents really are not encouraging their young people to go. Why. I know several young people who have borrowed money from the National Defense loan. And I don't know whether everyone is acquainted with those loans or not but the student borrowers I think they can borrow up to about a thousand dollars a year. And then what loans do not they do not cumulate any interest on these loans until after this good student finishes college and then after he finishes if he goes into teaching he's forgiven
five percent of the loan every 10 percent of the loan to beat every year for the first five years. He teaches in other words if he goes out and teaches for five years he's forgiven 50 percent of the money that he borrowed to go to college. You know in addition to these loans and scholarships that are available the student always has the opportunity to earn additional money on any campus because of the university businesses and the town are always looking for student help. Students can can work and dormitories and work in the preparation of food in the library and. Throughout the university there are many such jobs available. In fact I think it's a very good thing if individual does work cover at least part of his expenses to attend college I think he may become a more serious student and certainly has the advantages of learning. From whatever particular job he has.
I. Think it's also interesting we're talking about the expansion on one end at one time if you finished eighth grade. It was except a bald and high school and college that were also expanding our educational program at the other. In other words kindergarden is becoming mandatory at least school districts are going to be required to set up kindergarden throughout the state of Illinois. We have many preschool programs nursery programs and so forth so that the period of time that an individual can expect to spend in formal education certainly has been. Increased rapidly within the last few years our nation has always respected education and felt that it was one of the greatest gifts that a person could be. There are quire and there are benefits from going to college and I am maintain that everybody should continue his formal education
as long as he can as long as he's capable of doing this. This may mean that some people will do only one year of college study in a technical school. This may mean two years it may mean four but there are benefits that don't come through the classes. In fact I sometimes wonder if an individual doesn't learn. More. Outside the classroom than he does within the class. And I'm not talking about courses just academic matters but other things that would help him in life and would be very important to him. Life the. Child for example who grows up in a community in a small town or every size town has very little contact or at least certainly close relationship with individuals from other areas large cities other parts of the US and attending a college gives him an opportunity to
be on somewhat of a cosmopolitan Veyron meant I think he can learn a great deal from that and also from the social activities college sponsors Well a social development that takes place in college is very evident. We can see this as we contrast the freshman with the seniors tremendous changes take place during those four years of college and they can't be attributed only to the instruction going on in the classroom and by the way Ray I do think that outside of the classroom the student probably gains more academically also through his study in the library. Yeah because gosh and Gertrude's what a one hour lecture is hardly comparable to one hour reading even because you read so much more and can acquire so many facts and insights this way. Maybe we're touching on another motivation. Earlier we were talking about motivation for going to college. I. Think that many girls are quite frank to admit that one of the major reasons they attend college is to
find a boy who eventually they'll marry and what could be better objective I think for either the boy or the girl thing most of them are quite successful too dontcha think so they get a in the last minute selection process. I haven't done a survey at Leo but I'm glad you speaking as this is an interesting change takes place when young people get married in college and I think this guy is supported by formalized study as well as my experience with these young people and that is that when a boy gets married you know while he's attending college he gets more serious. He applies himself harder and he settles down and he starts to worry about supporting wife Now contrariwise and perhaps I'm judging in too few cases the girls I've known who've gotten married in colleges sometimes thought well I better make a good home for my husband and I'm not going to worry too much.
Well this is a serious mistake because as you pointed out Leo earlier 60 percent and you say 60 percent of the families have the wife doing some work and some kind of a continuing basis. And this seems to be a way of life. Nowadays not only do earn the money but do enrich the experiences of the wife or the mother. I certainly want to reinforce what you said about college being a desirable experience for those who are capable of attending. I think most individuals who attend college eventually look back on college years as being perhaps the most enjoyable years in their lives. The atmosphere of courses is different and you can find in the world of work different than the high school level. And I think can be a very enjoyable experience for most youngsters only just getting away from
home. It is important I think I really believe that. Children should go away from home to go to college so they are living at home but are associating in dormitories and in rooms with other people. I think some parents should realize too that when their child goes off to college that they may have some difficulty in adjusting that first year because it is quite an adjustment for a student from maybe a small high school going into a big university. But at least he is with other people who perhaps have the same adjustment problem. If he left his hometown to go somewhere to work he may have the same sort of adjustment problem to a new environment a new city. And yet he doesn't have a peer group to share that with. Well I think the response we are giving to the question is should all children go to college is essentially yes. And if they're at all normal in intellectual and physical abilities they should go to
college. That doesn't mean they all should go to college or a four year program they should go as long as their abilities and their interests enable them to go to college. Because our society is really demanding this more and more and furthermore we have to make certain that those who have financial problems or perhaps somehow or other fallen behind academically prior to college have a chance to try it. And I suspect this is on the horizon. Behind the classroom door produced by WFIU in cooperation with the College of Education at Northern Illinois University each week focuses its attention on one of the many challenging aspects of public school education. The program is moderated by Dr. Robert F. top dean of the College of Education at Northern Illinois University. Today's guest were Dr. Raymond B Fox associate dean of the College of Education. Dr. Leo Laughlin head of the Department of Administration and services and Dr. Lloyd
Leonard head of the department of elementary education. Next week's topic will be permissiveness versus authoritarianism in the classroom. This program is distributed by the national educational radio network.
Behind the Classroom Door
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Behind the Classroom Door is a radio series from WNIU-FM about education in the United States. In each episode, faculty from the Northern Illinois University College of Education address specific issues related to public school education and operation. The program is produced in cooperation with Northern Illinois University and distributed by the National Educational Radio Network.
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 69-5-21 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Duration: 00:29:29
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Chicago: “Behind the Classroom Door; 21,” 1969-05-02, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 3, 2024,
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APA: Behind the Classroom Door; 21. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from