To the Editor:
Robert Fluker's letter of 3-17-91 reflects the concern of many people regarding the competency of our Kansas high school graduates and how to predict the future accomplishment of our youth whose high school diplomas reflect little other than the fact that they have warmed a seat for a prescribed number of years. I realize that the mere words "competency testing" are anathema to some, but how else to determine whether a marginal prospective "student" is ready for college?
It is ludicrous that the university should need to offer remedial math or remedial English for native speakers, and I believe that a high school diploma should reflect some level of competency at least in those areas. Regardless of whether the student's lack of competence is one of aptitude or one of attitude, if one cannot demonstrate by 12th grade that he or she is ready for college, then he should either do any necessary remedial work prior to college or else change his focus. Remedial classes for basic skills should not be the onus of the university.
To me, a high school diploma should reflect at least basic skills in math (simple algebra), the ability to present a thought in writing and to locate a few countries on a map, especially those recently in the news. How about Costa Rica, Colombia, China and Chad?
If the student's interests run more towards carburetor, crankshaft, clutch and coaxial cable, then the high school degree should specify trade school diploma, not the standard "college prep" high school diploma.