Thursday, March 08, 2007

From the Department of Feel-Good Legislation

Bill seeks to have all high school seniors apply to college

AUGUSTA, Maine --Taking a cue from a Maine high school, a Maine legislative leader is proposing a law requiring graduating high school seniors to complete at least one college application before getting their diplomas.

And, the real-life value of that would be what exactly?

To remind some kids (as if they needed reminding) that they're never going to go to college?

To reinforce in the minds of those kids planning on becoming mechanics, carpenters, plumbers, or farmers that they're not as "good" as the "smart" kids?

Maine is considering doing as a state what individual schools are already doing in several other states.

House Speaker Glenn Cummings' bill was a response to figures showing that Maine falls nearly 7 percent below the average rate of New England students who attain college degrees.

Cummings, D-Portland, said that even though Maine has boosted the rate of residents holding at least an associate's degree by more than 3 percent during the last six years, more needs to be done.

"By requiring students to complete a college application, we are really asking them to stop and take the time to think about college," the speaker said.

"Sure, for some of the kids involved, this will be purely an exercise in futility, serving no practical purpose whatsoever, but dammit! It sure makes us feeeeeeeeel good to think we're helping the children!"

His bill, which was not yet scheduled for a public hearing, says that in order to receive a diploma, a secondary school student would have to complete at least one application to a college, university or other post-secondary educational institution.

Maybe it's just me, but I'd have gone with something like this.

In order to receive a diploma, a secondary school student would have to complete at least one of the following tasks:

1. Change the oil and replace the spark plugs on a '78 Cougar.

2. Build a bookcase.

3. Replace a bathroom faucet.

4. Take a handful of seeds, and turn it into salad.

I'd wager the percentage of college-bound seniors in this country today, who couldn't complete that requirement, would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 95 to 97 percent.