I know that when my sister got kicked out of her senior English class, she had to pay to take a course at the community college. They called it “early enrollment” and there were age restrictions on when you could actually enter college.
Our drop out rates are fairly good and students here are expected to write essay exams by 2nd grade. What has happened is that our special education numbers are higher than average. Personally, I do not think that the answer is asking students to do developmentally inappropriate tasks, but to focus more on quality at the middle and high levels. Instead of pushing students to graduate when they can barely read, the options would be to continue to educate them and as long as they attend classes and do their best, they can get a Hugh school certificate of completion. This is an option for special education students, but I think that it should be an option for all. There are some jobs where persistence and dependability are more important than school smarts. This would tell these employers that these applicants have that important character trait.
Or, the other option that we provide is to continue taking classes until age 21. My school district offers this. Or, we have some students that complete courses through home study or self-paced online learning. Just as long as standards are high then I would rather see it done this way. Offer options to help students meet the standards, but do not lower them.
I wasn’t sure what the response would be to the question of whether college was necessary, but I figured this topic would get some discussion. Never dreamt I’d be reading some of the situations like below. That’s just amazing to me.
Mom was a elementary school teacher of various types for 30 years, and I grew up with the notion (still have it actually) that a child’s education generally makes or breaks their chances later in life. Yes there are the amazing stories of those who overcame a lack of education early on, and those who squandered a solid preparation. But just from the point of view of sheer statistics, it was true then that those kids with a solid education, go on to have solid careers and responsible adult lives in whatever category they choose. But DANG, philosophies have changed a lot since then! We’re having something of a debate in Seattle schools right now about their math curriculum which college educators say is allowing kids to graduate without the faintest idea of how math “works”, and thus they can’t hack the college level science and math courses. But school district folks say it reduces the burden on the teachers for lesson planning, etc etc etc. I can’t help but think there must be a better way to fix the situation than to have a solution where the teachers present canned material and the kids can’t hack even intro math classes as college freshmen. I don’t have answers but that can’t be the best answer.
Anyway, thanks for the discussion on this point. Looks like we’ve got some work to do in the realm of how best to prepare our next generation.