6-Year High Schools….

December 12, 2013

Having only a high school degree means a future of $15 bucks an hour or below. But only a quarter of students who enter community colleges actually graduate (the rates are only slightly better at 4 year schools). Meanwhile, many of them that do graduate have skills that aren’t suited to the jobs they’ll actually need. We’re graduating too many sports marketing experts, and not enough web programmers, and so on.

SOURCE:  Foroohar: To Compete, America Needs 6-Year High Schools | TIME.com.

Let’s face it having a high school diploma just doesn’t mean much anymore. I don’t know if that is because of the schools or simply because our society has gotten more technical. Maybe it is a combination of both?

So, maybe it is time to upgrade what a high school diploma means. I realize that the dropout rate of even our four year high schools is uncomfortably high but we have to do something to prepare so many of us for future employment. There will just not be any unskilled jobs that pay anything near basic living levels in the future.

I my opinion something resembling a paradigm shift is needed in our educational system to even begin to ameliorate the rich/poor divide. But until that comes extending high school into a 6 year technology curriculum will have to do.

Here is some more details about how it is being accomplished by NYC.

Training the middle-income workforce of the future is the core of the P-Tech model. Aside from exponentially beefing up the science and tech curriculum, P-Tech schools do something even more radical — they turn 4 year high school into 6 year high school, in which students not only graduate with an associates degree, but are guaranteed a job with IBM. The company doesn’t give the schools any money — they use what’s already in state and local budgets — but it sends full-time staff to make sure they have a curriculum that will teach kids the skills, hard and soft, that they’ll need to get a middle class job (in classes known as “workplace learning,” kids are taught how to present themselves in meetings, speak in public, argue their points constructively, all the things you need to thrive in the corporate world). Students also get a corporate mentor to guide them throughout their educational career.

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4 responses to 6-Year High Schools….

  1. 

    Nearly every upper-middle class (or better) job I encounter in my own life involves a high level of problem-solving, critical thinking and/or communication skills…far more than someone remembering a basic set of facts or repeating a simple process (assembly line, stocking shelves, data entry). Unfortunately, most K-12 education is geared to providing the bare minimum of knowledge required to function in society. Either we find a way to encourage and support more upper-level education in useful areas (sorry, philosophy and Medieval Studies) or I think we need to find a way to provide an “alternate” K-12 curriculum for those who are unlikely to go on to “higher education” so they can enjoy more than a meager existence in our society.

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    • 

      You are right on with your comments Steve. I used to be an active member of our State’s Historical society and I still remember an article published right at one hundred years ago saying we need to re-invent our educational system. So, these types of feelings are not new to us in the 21st century.

      I went to school in a very small rural area but even then we had two paths for high school curriculum, one for college one for general education. I guess that is no longer the case? We also had history classes, government classes, home ec, and such things. Given the extreme ignorance of some of our youth toward the past that needs to come back.

      I hope all of these experiments in charter schools and such propagate to a new way of educating our youth.

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  2. 

    I I agree and disagree. I think public schools need to take a long, good look at how private schools, in general, educate children to think.
    OTOH, I think extending high school would be painful for those who are getting little out of it and need to move on.
    Maybe offering two years of free vocational school before one is thirty? That way the teen can be free until they Know they need an education to move forward?
    Our current system doesn’t work, and I was a part of it. Now we want everyone to achieve at a D level- no matter their skill. Little is offered to the gifted in any part of intelligence in the normal public K-9 school.(63% gets you a passing grade in any state test!)

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    • 

      Janette, you bring up some interesting points. “I think extending high school would be painful for those who are getting little out of it and need to move on”. The point is to change things so that they DO get something out of it. I know that almost every teenager thinks they know it all. It is up to us adults to show them otherwise. I know there is something basically different between schooling in the U.S. and other places in the world where it is taken much more seriously. We need to discover what that is and try to imitate it. But then again our Not-Invented-Here (NIH) syndrome is totally obnoxious so that will not happen.

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