Monday, November 02, 2015

High School Graduation Requirements

Sometimes my school district is so screwed up, we implement even the bad ideas long after everyone else has.  The most recent idiocy being considered is changing our graduation requirements to meet our state university system entrance requirements.  Yes, fellow Californians, that means the "A thru G" requirements will be required to graduate from my school district if the idea gets adopted.

I understand the sentiment behind it--everyone should have a chance at higher education, blah blah blah.  To that I say, they already do.  Well over 50 years ago, when California's Master Plan for Higher Education was passed, our 3-level higher education system was enshrined.  The University of California system was designed to take the top eighth of high school graduates, while the California State University system was designed to take the top third.  Anyone else could go to community college and, if they showed themselves capable, transfer to a CSU/UC school.  I grant that the transfer portion of that great idea still isn't perfected all these decades later, but the general idea is sound.  What's changed?  Back in "the day", when people learned something in high school, we planned for only a third of our students to attend a university.  Why do we think that now, by fiat, all students will be capable of attending a university?

It's stupidity, plain and simple.

This has been tried in districts around the country and the endgame is as predictable as you might imagine: watered-down coursework, thereby making even fewer students truly ready for college-level work.  Why a district that can't even get textbook adoption done correctly thinks it can get all of its students college-ready--a goal that isn't met anywhere, if you want to be honest--is far beyond me.  I hope our school board doesn't give into this feel-good crap and instead shoots this idea down--but I'm not holding my breath.


David said...

Would they need a C or higher in each class if this proposal is passed because I know colleges don't like Ds in classes?

Darren said...

I don't know the answer to that and hadn't considered it. Interesting point!

Ellen K said...

Until just recently my district only counted core classes and foreign language in the GPA. That meant we would get brilliant kids who would do just enough in class to make a barely passing grade because they thought they could get away with it. It was especially bad during the Spring term when you have some arrogant AP kid who disdains all things artistic but still needs the credit. They come into Art One, act disruptive and rude and basically ruin the class. Even my kids who took AP Art History are getting their butts whooped because they aren't doing the reading due to their idea that it's "just art." Just today when the counselors came in to talk to seniors about applying to college, FAFSA, etc did I learn our district now counts ALL grades in the GPA. For the kids heading to careers in music or art, this is a Godsend. Many of them were in AP classes anyway, but now their excellence in creative and performing arts are also acknowledged.