Education, politics, and anything else that catches my attention.
All for this - for many, but not all students. Senior year is a waste of time and money for kids passing AP and dual-credit classes as juniors. And it's also a waste of time for kids who seek associate degrees and trade schools or work. From a piece I recently published in the Denver Post, there's this:Reform-minded politicians Newt Gingrich and Jeb Bush criticize a focus on "seat time," which is Duncan's solution. When Bush discusses education reform, he suggests ending a traditional K-12 model in exchange for a credit system. Bush and Gingrich believe the education system needs to adapt to a changing society and become more customized — some students need more time in schools; others need less.Read more: http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_14336580#ixzz0fk3EtpKYThe average senior in public schools only take two academic credits all year. Yet we have this strange obsession with "12 years" and not basic education and skill acquisition.The system has long wasted time and money by educating students beyond needs for some and short of needs for others.And saving $60 billion is just a plum.
Seat time equals money according to most state budgets which is why attendance is such a hot button issue with administrators. But I do see a great deal of waste. Students who take summer classes or dual credit classes can often graduate early. I still contend that the biggest mistake we are making in education is modeling the system just as a college prep program. We have kids who need vocational skills and who will never go to college. Is it kindness to deny these students viable skills in order to worship at the alter of college for all?
Admission to CSU/UC schools requires a list of courses called the "a through g requirements". Requirement a) is 4 years of English, etc. People talk about making sure everyone graduates having achieved the a-g requirements, and some teachers even tell me that that's doing good by kids because "college requirements *are* job requirements nowadays".Yeah, like every kid is going to get through Algebra 2!Not every person is college-capable at age 18, and if they were, then our college standards are too low. I'd *love* to see some real live vocational education come back.No, I have no idea where the money is going to come from. In this zero-sum game, what am I willing to cut from our current course offerings for voc. ed., and what would I have taught in its place? I haven't thought it out in much detail, but a look at the course offerings from 40 years ago, before everyone was expected to go to college, might be a start. Maybe look at what kind of "career colleges" are out there might be as well.
The district I teach in has zero traditional vocational courses. No shop class, no auto no nothin'. I say traditional because I suppose the computer classes COULD be considered vocational for some students. We here in Michigan believe that our economic woes will be solved if we prepare every student for college. Yes Darren that includes algebra 2 for everyone. One letter from the state even said, studies show that students that take algebra 2 make more money than those that do not, so students should take algebra 2 so they can make more money. Someone needs to teach them the difference between causation and correlation. I think we are doing those students a disservice.
All you have to do is ask the board how much they paid for a plumber, electrician or mechanic to do work for them. My cousin, a master plumber in a rural region of west Texas, literally lives on a million dollar ranch, has cars, horses and vacation houses and fifty people working for him. He didn't graduate from college-he didn't even go. Instead he went through training as an apprentice to become a plumbing contractor. One of my son's friends skipped college and is running his own AC repair service at 24-and is buying his own house. There are lots of jobs that require training, but not college, that are fulfilling and lucrative. We need to get elitism out of our schools and start allowing all students to succeed whether they go to college or not.
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