Anyone who has seen a student suffering from senioritis could have predicted the findings of this latest survey of high school students. An Indiana University study shows that a majority of high school students (55 percent) spend no more than three hours a week studying yet are still managing to maintain good grades (65 percent). Further, only 11 percent of college-bound seniors report spending seven or more hours a week studying. This pattern - the outward marks of success while doing very little work - is terrible preparation for both college and the real world. It's also a further example of what Michael Barone has famously called the division between "soft America" - whose mushy center is our K-12 system - where self-esteem and easy achievement are the rage, and "hard America," the meritocratic world of higher education and work.
"Survey: High school fails to engage students," by Alvin P. Sanoff, USA Today, May 8, 2005