We said think out of the box, but... Utah mulls "optional" 12th grade to aid budget

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by mkrishnan, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #1
    http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-na-utah-school15-2010feb15,0,906102.story

    I guess I'm not sure exactly how this is supposed to work... it sounds like they would give a high school diploma to a student after they finish 11 years and enough credits to graduate. It's confusing to me whether this is intended to accelerate students headed for college or university, or if it's intended to push 17-year-olds into the workforce (and for the latter, if the education-level x unemployment rate scenario is vastly different in Utah than it is elsewhere?).

    OTOH, I do remember that I had a friend in high school who was really tired of high school by his 11th year. He was quite smart, and they actually mulled having him drop out, enter college, and pick up a GED later. He ultimately did not go down this road, and later, he sort of burnt out of higher education. He ended up happy, AFAIK, but there was the question of whether an alternative approach could have kept him more intellectually stimulated.
     
  2. Rt&Dzine macrumors 6502a

    Rt&Dzine

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  3. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #3
    The problem with the US education model is there is really aren't any choices a kid can make before they graduate high school. I'd like to see some kind of split at age 16. With the college bound taking college prep classes (and not being held back by the kids who are bored to death by school) and the remainder entering some kind of vocational track.

    By the age of 16, most kids probably have some sort of idea as to what they want to do.

    On topic, this is a really stupid idea coming out of Utah.
     
  4. mkrishnan thread starter Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #4
    I have two feelings about this -- having gone through American graduate education, I think there is still a push in higher education to specialize too soon and too decisively. We already are at the point where, in the mentality, people are considered primarily only qualified to enter one sub-sub-sub-speciality when they get their PhD, at the time they start graduate school. That's silly. Locking people into something even earlier is concerning, to me.

    On the other hand, I think people should get early exposure to the areas they might like, both to stimulate learning, and to let them know if they'd really like it. Medicine is a good example -- four years of undergraduate molecular biology might tell you if you will be able to learn medicine, but it won't tell you if you are going to enjoy it or if you are going to be a "good doctor."
     
  5. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #5
    Not sure how it is at other high schools, but at my high school, by 11th grade or so, the students who planned on going to college would go on to chemistry, physics, literature, composition, trig and calculus, etc, classes while the ones that were only getting their diploma so they could be promoted to assistant night shift manager at McDonalds stayed behind in the slower paced "for dummies" classes. For the last couple years of high school, I rarely saw the...how should I put this nicely...complete f***ing morons, and I never felt like I was behind held back.
     
  6. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #6
    While Buttars's original idea was a bit off, the current proposal (making senior year more easily skippable is a good idea. I cna think of more than a few people that took just fun classes their senior year just to satisfy the obligation to attend school as they had completed all their credits by the end of junior year. They would have been better served by just going to college. They would have been a year younger than other freshmen - nothing different than the quick learner that skipped first grade.
     
  7. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #7
    This is always a difficult issue, there are several issues and they counteract each other really.

    The most important thing in education is the reading, writing, arithmetic and IT skills and most people should have learnt those by 17.

    Knowing about "social issues" like history, geography and religion is good for people as it integrates people better with society and that is important too but more subtly.

    Lots of people are very turned off by education by the time they are 17 and making them do more academic work doesn't really achieve anything.

    Having compulsory education for late teenagers means the persons parents can't persuade them to leave school as easily.

    But still education is increasingly required in todays society.

    I think one thing that needs to be done is making education available when you are over 18 if you want it later, we do that to some extent in the UK (you can get free training if you don't have A-levels - what you get after 13 years of education), but probably not enough.

    Not everyone who isn't academic is a moron, being a plumber for example is pretty difficult. But for that you only need the basics and probably some Science education.
     
  8. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #8
    I'm just not so sure that allowing kids to get out of school at 17 is a good idea. Sure, there may be a few who are ready for college life, but most aren't. It would make more sense to encourage those who aren't going to a four year college to enroll at 16 in a local junior college. Then, when they're 18, they have real, marketable skills. That might well increase the graduation and literacy rates that are so dismal now.

    Don't the Brits finish at 16? I think that's too young.

    Mohan, I agree that there are dangers in encouraging kids to specialize early, but, once they're lost to boredom, they're lost to the system. Better to keep them engaged and ensure that if they do change their minds, they can return to a college track education.
     
  9. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #9
    16 for compulsory education, 18 after A-levels which are optional.
     
  10. mkrishnan thread starter Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #10
    Does the UK have the same issue of disproportionate joblessness among lower educated individuals? People in the US with a high school or less education are quite vulnerable during any economic downturn here (and they don't fare to well during a good economy, either, TBH).
     
  11. Ttownbeast macrumors 65816

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    #11
    This is not news, I know of no state where a student is legally required to attend through the 12th grade some states it is mandatory to attend up to 10th, others 8th students can leave school voluntarily at 15 or 16 in some states--all with or without a GED or diploma. This "option" is nothing new in America's public educational system, it is structured as such for archaic reasons the same kinds of reasoning for which there is an extended break in the summer months, this is because the rules for the school system were outlined back when the nation was a pre-industrial agricultural society. Kids took the summer off to work in the family fields, and left school with a basic education at an early age to begin the process of taking over the family farm. The laws still in place are leftovers of this agriculturally based educational model.
     
  12. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #12
    The LAST thing that should be cut in the USA is education. It's scary enough here already.
     
  13. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #13
    Its already like this in some districts. The only high school course I took in my senior year was "American Government" because it was a mandatory senior level course.

    That being said this is a terrible idea to cut out the senior level.
     
  14. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #14
    Maybe they should start cutting govt and all the ridiculousness that govt does before cutting school . How about pulling all that $$$ from the prison system first before destroying whats left of our education system? Education should be the last cut made.
     
  15. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #15
    Agreed on that. However, how do you cut money from the feel good "hey we're making progress, just look at how many people we jail for petty crimes" prison system?
     
  16. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #16
    True, whats more important increasing the never ending we have a new law and made you guilty of something new prison system or educating our children so they grow up into productive tax payers with enough education to realize that this ever growing police state cant be afforded while we all work for multinational corporations who employee others that have no regulation taxes or unions and exploit tax loopholes to avoid paying those taxes for our police state. Its a tough question for the politicians....... prisons or education for those two young to vote?
     
  17. abijnk macrumors 68040

    abijnk

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    #17
    That's not the point. It isn't black and white like that. The choices aren't "go to college" and "flip burgers." What about kids who are in the middle? Perhaps interested in a trade or vocational school? I think that's the point Ugg was trying to make. How can we give the college bound students the optimal environment, get kids who aren't college bound but aren't failures into an appropriate environment, and keep the kids who aren't willing to help themselves out of the way. Heck, even that is an oversimplification. I guess my point is just that there isn't just one track to success (namely college). There are other perfectly acceptable tracks that kids need to a) know about and b) have access to.

    Regardless, having an optional senior year isn't the way to do it, Utah.
     
  18. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #18
    I think the same is true in the UK.
     
  19. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #19
    That's exactly the point I was trying to make. There are a whole range of jobs out there and while many need no experience or training, many do require some specialized training. Not everyone grows up wanting to become a Wall Street banker or an engineer. Lots want to work in construction or as police officers or as farmers. Why shouldn't they be able to pursue that early on? I don't believe that a strictly academic track during most kids' 17th and 18th year is the best choice.

    Too many kids are ill served by our educational system so what we're doing now, doesn't necessarily work.
     
  20. splitpea macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    IIRC, here kids are legally permitted to drop out at 16 regardless of what credits they've earned. Not something I'd encourage for most, but I think the rule is meant to allow kids to help support their families.

    Of course, in the long run, it just means more competition for low-skilled jobs.

    At the very least, I'd suggest requiring the kid to pass a GED test before skipping 12th grade.
     
  21. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3

    TuffLuffJimmy

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    #21
    This doesn't seem like too bad of an idea, if executed correctly. By the end of my junior year of high school, had I taken another PE class, I could have graduated. This made my senior year a fun happy sunshine breeze! Of course I could have spent my senior year doing more productive things. I only took the bare minimum amount of credits per term that I had to and I rarely showed up for class. In retrospect I was really just leeching away at the taxpayer's dollar even though I was probably ready to go to a university.
     
  22. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #22
    My first high school (I moved away during my junior year) was strictly a college-prep school, for the most part. Just about everyone was going to go to college.

    When I moved to a rural area, there were indeed programs in the high school where students could learn carpentry, welding, agriculture, etc. Those classes took up a 3-hour block of time of each school day, and those guys (and a handful of girls) would learn a trade.

    I opposed the idea then, and still do to a point, not in principle but in execution. I don't see high school as the venue to spend half of every single school day teaching a vocation. However, I would support a program where people who wish to pursue that track leave high school after 2-3 years then move on to a vocational school. Kids leave high school early to take college classes, the vocational track shouldn't need to be all that different.
     
  23. mkrishnan thread starter Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #23
    In some defense of what Ugg is saying... a lot of these kids are going to end up in the workforce at that point anyways. If you have to dump an 18 y/o into the workforce, at least dumping them in as a skilled tradesman is a lot better than putting them in as unskilled or semiskilled labor.

    In the longer term, if you want the kids to stay in high school and/or go to junior college, I think you have to not only create the stable jobs that allow for this but also create the kind of family affluence that gives kids the time to learn before they start working.
     
  24. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #24
    Take it from a native Utahn, Chris Buttars is a complete and total stain. I think the for vs against this proposal in Utahn public opinion is like 20% to 80% right now.

    Senator Buttars is the butt of a lot of jokes and disdain here in our state. We only keep wondering why those poor souls in West Jordan keep voting him in time and time again.

    SLC
     
  25. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #25
    Buttars' proposal may have been based on idiocy, but next year eight states are going to let students "graduate" in tenth grade. Academically inclined students will continue with college prep classes and others will be given a chance to enroll in a jr or vo-tech college.

    IMO, this is a very good thing, the US educational system has been stuck in a century old time warp.

    NYT article

     

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