Feb. 27, 2020

A Case for College?

By Ms. Annie Canosa

CalPac unequivocally prepares all students for college level classes.  We are WASC (Western Association for Schools and Colleges) accredited – not all charter schools are – and this means that we are held to a very high standard for every aspect of our education; if we don’t meet those standards, we lose our accreditation.  Would you go to a doctor or dentist that isn’t license to practice their trade?  Of course not.  The same applies to educational institutions.  Accreditation ensures that students receive a rigorous, comprehensive education from credentialed teachers, and they will be college-ready by the time they graduate.

However, should all students go to college?  Can you get a good paying job without a college degree?  Is incurring a substantial amount of student aid debt a reasonable trade-off to acquiring a higher education?  These are all valid, timely, and unrelenting questions.  Here are some of the compelling findings from a national study by social impact startup “Summer”, and nonprofit organization, “Student Debt Crisis”.

Nearly nine of 10 student loan borrowers are struggling to make payments.

Most borrowers reported they have less than $1,000 in their bank account, with high student loan payments partly to blame.

Nearly 40% of borrowers report they have been unable to achieve their career goals. 

However, not all the data support foregoing a four-year education.  Many studies find that college is worth the cost.  According to a Georgetown University study, college graduates earn one million more over a lifetime than high school graduates and almost half of all current jobs across a multitude of industries still require a college degree for entry level positions.  Other embedded benefits of college include opportunities to be placed for internships through college services that often lead to jobs. 

My “Case for College” should really be called “A Case for Career”, as career is really where we need to place the larger, more important, conversation, especially while students are in high school.  All students aspire to excel in a career - not all students want to or should go to college.  CalPacs address the needs of ALL students, not just the college-bound portion of our students. 

While at CalPac, students will have one-on-one interaction with their Homeroom teachers every week to get to know them and assess their academic and personal goals.  Academic and support teams (including counselors, special services, administrators, remedial providers) will offer interviews, virtual job shadowing (NEPRIS), clubs, field trips, tutoring, all to help students successfully develop and project who they are, what skills and passions they hold, and ultimately, where they want to go and what they want to accomplish in the world. 

By keeping our focus on our very own, amazing, students and their families, the nebula around college, student debt, technical training, career placement, dissipates, becomes clearer, more accessible, and even exciting!  Students have the direction for their future inside of them.  CalPac works tirelessly to not only fill them with academic excellence, knowledge and social maturation, but also pull out of them their identity, their enthusiasm, their gifts, and their own customized future.  Case closed.