Like every new idea, ones defenses go up… “Whoa there, buddy…. ”
Except for sports careers, it kinda does make sense….
We ask children who’ve finished learning, emotionally, psychologically, (and for the most part) biologically, to stay on-board for two years of “extra” curricular activities which when we reflect back on our years, all of which we learned academically in those two years, rarely get used today…. (sex is a different story).
Before you jump the shark, recognize this: that if we keep the final two years optional… (by making them years to opt-in on), we also make them preferential which tends to allow discipline to be internally enforced by each student who chooses to continue onward ( ie, the reality of being kicked out is a real negative; it is no longer something to brag about)…
Here’s why. The issue I hear from High Schools today, and this involves input from students, faculty, parents and administrators, boils down to this: that a lot of young adults in the upper grades do NOT WANT TO LEARN…. Every negative aspect stems from that single ubiquitous elephant in the room: discipline problems, lack of personal respect, work ethic, mental alertness, focus, fights, productivity, lack of motivation, etc. …
And every time a round table discusses how to improve high school performance, someone (this is true) inevitably says: if only we could cull those who don’t want to be there, most of our problems would go away… Sigh: but that will never happen……………………………….”
So what I’m asking: is…. why can’t that happen?
Rule 1: Every child must be in school till age 18.
In society, this is a relative new rule. When there is no solid structure supporting society adulthood entry levels move downward, usually settling around somewhere in the low teens, correlating with puberty for the most part… Romans married off their children at 13. That was also the age of dissolving parent-child bonds in the Middle Ages on the continent of Europe. Native Americans, both North and South, also became adults then…
Obviously there must be precedent: our own Common Core Standards stop measuring before reaching the upper grades.
So, instead of forcing people who for multiple reasons do not want to continue schooling to go against their will through the motions of being schooled, what if we provided an alternative?
For example what if we allowed them to work at something on the scale of our military, which was the template for the CCC, Civilian Conservation Corps? Those men like the military, stayed in camps, had discipline structure, meals and lodging provided, and worked hard (physical labor) for a dollar a day… When they were ready to leave, they had a nest egg on which to begin. Today, we should do $20 a day.
Yes. It would take planning to iron out details.. We would need input from a variety of societal perspectives to discover just the right mix.
But, a 16 year old could be given the option, based on his past feeling over his 11 years (counting kindergarten) of public schooling, to decide whether or not they wanted to start work, or go to college… Their growing brain would continue learning, just not stuff that was irrelevant to them…
And if someone ever made the wrong choice by staying in classes inappropriate for them, and became consistently disruptive or violent, there would be a ready option available outside of public schooling into which we quickly place them.
After all for our first 200 years, most of America’s success was built on the backs of Americans who did not finish high school…
This solution would solve or at least dilute many of high school’s problems.
- Disruptive Classes
- Fewer Discipline events
- Poor Work Ethic
- Disrespect for Authority
- Low test scores (that are meaningless to those who care not.)
And there is a model. In a corporation when one has a division of ones company that is not adding to the bottom line but taking from it, one sells it off. As soon as the transaction occurs, ones results improve…
Why not use that same model in high school and make grades 11 and 12 elective? By simply having an alternative, most students will choose to continue to opt-in, willingly continuing their free public education because is serves in their best long-term interests to do so…
Once they’ve gained this realization, their whole attitude changes….
Because the entire problem with High Schools today is that we force them to deal with people who DON’T want to be there (like prisons)… And I don’t know about you, but my High School was not like that. That type of element was just not around.
I’m proposing we make this happen in our schools …