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.
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.