Local High School Grads Not Prepared for College

The Texas Higher Education Commissioner calls it troubling. And it's leaving others questioning the state's public education system. NewsChannel 10's Kristen Guilfoos investigated why many local teens are graduating high school, but are still unprepared for college.

They've walked across the stage, and now have their diplomas in hand, ready to take on the world. But, first things first... Many, are not even ready to take on college.

Jody Ferguson admits his first few months at WTA&MU were a rude awakening. "I never studied in high school. I never had to pick up a pen.... I was told a had a five page essay due every Friday, I couldn't believe it." And he had the grades to prove it. "I was a "c" student."

He joins the ranks of many high school grads in Potter and Randall counties. At some schools, at least half of the Class of 2007 earned a "C" average or less during their first year at a Texas Public University.

That's the case for River Road, Highland Park, Amarillo, Caprock, Tascosa, Palo Duro and Randall high schools. It's being blamed on the disconnect between public schools and higher education.

Anette Carlisle is the President for the AISD Board of Trustees. She says, it's "because they were designed by two different organizations and they're just now seeing that maybe these two groups need to talk to each other a bit."

That conversation recently began in the Panhandle. The P-16 Council was formed just under one year ago, in hopes of bridging the gap, and making it easier for students to make the transition to college.

Carlisle says, "It's an awakening on both sides, saying you mean you guys have to do this? And you guys have to do that? And maybe we can do this together."

The group of public school and college administrators will meet for the second time in September.

WT is changing the way they help students as well. For the first time this fall, they are making their college success class mandatory.