There's a lot of talk about apathy and disinterest in high school students polluting the classroom with negativity and inability. It's not that students can't, but more that they won't. Readings neglected, homework unfinished, papers poorly constructed. Discussion and otherwise stimulating conversation seems to be seriously lacking, and what can be done? What is to become of these students who are babied by their parents, waving notes signed by Mom or Dad to explain away their late research paper or history project? Well, apparently, they go to college.
In my experience, the college classroom differs only slightly from its high school counterpart. While there are always a few students who are engaged and involved, there is an astonishing disconnect between students and the material, the professor, the class. Before the instructor enters, mumblings crop up from all around the room of students who were just too busy to complete the assigned reading. The professor is simply unreasonable, they maintain, and unsympathetic to extracurricular commitments and social obligations. When said professor has made his or her entrance and class has begun, the discussion suffers immensely, as very few have completed the assignments. Sound familiar?
The biggest difference between the slackers in high school and those who go to college is that their excuses don't work. The only note to excuse a late term paper must be signed by a physician. A parent e-mailing a college professor to contest the work load? Please. And, surprise!, there goes the GPA's of many a coddled college freshman. It is not that the classes are too hard, it is that the students are too lazy - a character trait reinforced by the public school systems that poorly prepare many young people for the rigor of college level work. Students need to start being held accountable for the fulfillment of their responsibilities and actions earlier in their educational careers because really, now I'm paying a lot of money to sit in a silent classroom with these people.
Is it the fault of the parents? Administration? The students themselves? I don't know, but something needs to change.