“College readiness”: right intentions, but wrong policies

by Zach Fechter ‘15

Last year, I wrote an article for this publication stating that the Wellness Initiative was noble in spirit, but misguided in practice, despite its legality. Frankly, my judgment of the initiative is aptly fitting for the “College Readiness” ploy and subsequent programs that make it up. Acclimating students to a college environment should be a pillar of secondary education, but the manner that Saint Ignatius has chosen to construct this pillar, as well as guide this school year, are feeble, inept, and retroactive, in some cases. In one fell swoop, the school largely stripped from students the opportunity to chose, and from parents the opportunity to parent.

The adopted mantra of the school year includes instituting programs that the administration deems necessary, seemingly without regard for the implementation and consequences of them. BYOT, for example, has been a source of such issues. It’s likely that most, if not all, college students have a personal laptop, same as the new policy requires of us here. However, how often do college students face entire school days without any access to internet connection, thereby impeding on the ability to do school work? Understandably, just as with Haiku last year, when nearly 1,400 students are trying at the same time to access the internet, things can get slow, but that’s what maximizing our connectivity can help with. However, instead of actively strengthening our ability to use our mandated devices, the school has opted to purchase many new large, flat-screen TVs which display small-lettered news stories and the weather to a bustling population of students struggling to get to their next class since there is no longer a second bell; not much time to read that story, huh?

It doesn’t stop there. So the internet is down and a student needs to find out when a club meeting is, what should he do? He can’t check his email on his laptop, he can’t listen to the announcement since, oh yeah, they aren’t read anymore, and he can’t check his phone, as the school has been relatively adamant in enforcing such a rule. Well, sorry kid, looks like you can’t go to the club meeting you want; not very college-like to leave students without a choice.

I will avoid dwelling on the clear dangers of using legality as a point to extract parents from the equation to solve the problem of drug addiction in students. I will steer clear of mentioning that, at the Wellness Program assembly we had last year, it was said that the reasoning behind this program was two tragic events involving alcohol and heroin, yet alcohol will not be tested for, and I can anecdotally assume that heroin is not used at this school, but my formal opinion on the matter can be found in my essay last year.