Basic keyboarding was mandatory to complete the 5th grade. Then it was required to be taken again in middle school. Then I had to take it yet again in college. Seriously people! Basic keyboarding skills do not change that much.

I started out at the local community college. It offered a wide variety of degree programs and boosted the lowest cost tuition in the state. At the time I was enrolled about 10 years ago, that meant I was paying about $120 per semester credit. Basic Keyboarding is a two credit class. This made the price $240 plus the $40 for the required text book with accompanying software. Why did I have to take out student loan money to pay for this? Why is this class charged the same tuition rates as actual college level classes?

Come to find out, the reason this class is required in college is because so many public schools no longer teach the class. Not even as an elective! I am shocked and appalled by this downgrading of our public educational system. With so much focus on technology and so many companies requiring computer skills, how can public school no longer teach basic keyboarding? How is this skill now considered to be a college level class?!

Just working at a gas station or the local fast food restaurant requires basic computer skills. I know because I have worked them for 15 years. The registers are all touch screen. Employees must log in to the store computer to submit an electronic request for time off-no more hand written notes. No more crew trainers to walk a new hire through the store policies and procedures. Now new hires must complete training modules on the store computer and often times must complete random quizzes about the material. At one gas station I worked for, all employees were required to watch an hour long video online learning the proper way to brew coffee in the gas station coffee machines.

No wonder the cost of college is astronomical. Skills that should be mastered before receiving a high school diploma are now pushed off until college. Someone please explain to me why high school graduates and adults should have to pay college tuition for a basic keyboarding class? Why is this class a degree requirement? Why is “Intro to Word Docs” a required college level class? When I graduated from high school, we had one desk top computer in the living room for the whole family and dial-up internet was the hottest thing around. My family was cool because we had a separate phone line just for the computer. I could talk to my friends on the cordless phone while talking to someone else in online chatrooms all at the same time. And “Intro to Word” is now a college level program? Who graduates from public high school nowadays without writing a paper for at least one class?

My oldest daughter is not tech savvy like her peers. We limit electronics time at home and have strict rules about the internet. Yet she can still type up a paper and submit it online. How are public schools helping the poor education of this country by cutting out these basic skill classes? How are colleges helping encourage higher learning by charging college level tuition for an elementary level class? Public schools and colleges are both guilty of padding the student loan bills that thousands of people are buried under. And it is pointless! Each of these “intro” classes lead to additional semesters in college. This leads to more student loan debt and higher drop out rates. These classes mean it will take longer to get a simple degree.

What do I mean by simple degree? While working on my 2 year Associates of Arts Degree, roughly 20 of my credits were all “intro” classes. Basic Keyboarding (intro), Intro to Word Docs, Intro to Xcel. These classes ranged from 2 to 4 credits per class-at roughly $120 per credit. Then half way through my program, Word came out with an upgraded version and that meant taking the new “Intro to Word”. This class was basically a mix of all the other intro classes I had already taken and successfully passed. Had I not been required to take all of these intro classes, then I would have been able to complete all of my other degree requirements two semesters sooner. That is a whole year worth of tuition I would not have had to pay. I would have been able to transfer to the local university a year sooner. This is what I mean by simple degree. A starter degree that helps get your foot in the door of a company and allows a student to move on to earn a 4-year degree.

These classes are considered to be “technical credits”. They are only good for five years. This means if I wish to return to school now to earn another degree, I have to take these classes all over again. I have to pay for them all over again. I have to pay for text books all over again. I have to sink further into debt all over again. I have to cause financial hardship and stress to my family in the hope of making myself more marketable to the workforce. Am I the only one who feels the system is designed to encourage failure?

I can understand requiring a refresher course if a person has been out of school or the workforce for a set number of years. I can understand a placement test for all incoming college students. This is already done for math, reading and English placement. But to require basic keyboarding to be a college level class at the same tuition rate as college algebra or college level Differential Equations is ridiculous and a sad testament to how lacking our public school systems really are.

Maybe we should put more focus on these basic skills earlier in life. Instead of providing touch screens in each elementary school, how about an actual keyboard? Instead of teaching middle school students how to use predictive text on a touchscreen tablet, make them sit down at a computer and learn to type. Maybe even encourage them to learn how to spell. What a novel idea. Maybe colleges should take into consideration the work experience non-traditional students have when returning to college or entering for the first time.