Monday, April 7, 2014

Testing, Reading, and Scores

Today was the first day of state testing around here. I was one of the hall monitors....which basically means I ran errands for the teachers, watched their class as they took a quick bathroom break, but mainly sat in a desk in the hallway and read a book.  Not a bad day at all.  We started late due to a broken down bus (can't start until all students were there). One classroom in my hall way didn't finish until about 1:15!! What a long day for those kids!! Hopefully, tomorrow we'll start closer to on-time and finish sooner. Today was math, tomorrow, I think, is English.

Over the last two weeks I have read tons of fiction - probably way too much!  One of my goals this years has been to read more non-fiction than fiction, but I have not done so well on the non-fiction side in the last two weeks.  Today I read Walden On Wheels by Ken Ilgunas. Its about this guy that finished college with over $38,000 in debt. Not nearly as bad as some - his best friend had $66,000. But bad enough that he felt he was drowning in it.  He set a course to pay  it all off in the quickest time possible. And he did! He took jobs that included room and board - many were in far away places like Alaska and involved lots of manual labor.(With a liberal arts degree he couldn't find a job that would cover all living expenses and his monthly debt payments.) He paid all of the $38,000 in two and half years, then he decided to go  back to school for a masters.  The catch was he wanted to complete this degree totally debt free.  He achieved this by living in his van.  Not exactly homeless, but pretty close. It was all very interesting.

When I got home, this choice of reading material was even more interesting by two things in the mail: William's ACT scores and a pamphlet for the school of his choice  - with a list cost....over $14,000 a year. Luckily we live in a state that has a nice tuition program. It's called TOPPS. Any student with passing grades in high school and over a 20 ACT score will get a waiver on tuition (which is really half of the cost).

William first took the ACT as  9th grader...yes, early, but we wanted to know where we stood.  He made a 26.  He took it again as a 10th grader and got a 28. This year as an 11th grader he took it with the class during school instead of on a Saturday and made a 30. We were very proud of the 26 and 28, but very, very proud of that 30!!!  Hoping it'll bring in more scholarship money!!!

There's been a lot of reports in the news over the last year or so about student out of control it so many students have degrees, but can't get a job...  A lot to think about as a parent.  I have friends who feel like they are responsible to pay for every cent college cost...and others who won't pay anything. Drew and I are somewhere in the middle.  But I do wonder how much is too much debt.

For now, William seems to be taken care of - smart boy!!  Now, on to the next two....Melissa actually takes the ACT as a 9th grader this Saturday....scores in about three weeks.

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