Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Jump Start on College

Eight states, Connecticut among them, are about to pass a law allowing students after the 10th grade to begin their college career. To read about the program and its goals and implications, check the link below to a New York Times article. According to this model, fewer students will need remedial courses upon entering college than is the case now. Students who are eligible to participate will earn their high school diploma at the end of 10th grade and begin their college career at a community college, eligible to later transfer the credits to a 4-year institution to earn a bachelor's. If they decide not to matriculate at a 4-year institution, they will have a jump start on a variety of careers upon completion of coursework at the community college. Here's the article: Plan Would Let Students Start College After the 10th Grade. What's your response?

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Amy R. said...

This is an interesting concept. I heard on the news the other day that some states, including Utah, are considering eliminating 12th grade. Some people argue that 12th grade has become a coast year, where kids are loading up on non-essential extra courses or several study halls. All of this comes with an extraordinary price tag. The argument is that by skipping 12th grade, those students who are serious about continuing their academic pursuits can certainly do that, on their own dime, at the college level. Those students who are "done" with school can go on to learn a trade.
I haven't done any research, but my initial reaction is favorable. I think more Americans should learn a trade, electronics, repair, carpentry, automotive, cooking,etc...
This is something that should be looked in to. Kids could take an extra class or classes their 10th and 11th year to make up for what they might miss in 12th grade. Eliminate any fluff classes.

lori said...

Maybe my daughter's friends are different but most seniors I know are not taking fluff classes. They are enrolled in honors and AP classes. I actually think our students are pushed too much and to push them into college at a younger age I do not encourage. Kids need to be kids and we should not be rushing their passage into adulthood.

Also, many students do not get to experiment with other types of classes until their senior year. My children their first two years had to take math, science, history, English, Spanish, and leadership. That only left one free period which they took band. This left no time to take a philosophy, art, or any other interesting course until their junior year. You never know when a course might spark interest in a child and shortening their high career does not allow for them to try interesting courses.

Allowing students who do not plan on going to college to complete high school early and replace the last two years with a trade school opportunity may not be a bad idea. If a student can demonstrate a basic understanding of academic skills but do not plan on higher education, you can replace some painful years of struggling through a junior and senior year of academics with a satisfying experience.

Meggan said...

I agree with Lori. I teach only seniors and juniors and those are the years where most AP courses are taken. Kids are pushed to the limit with trying to complete all their courswork and extra things like community service projects. If they are already this overloaded, it would be ten times worse if a grade was eliminated.

Plus, I think we can't leave out the developmental process of a teenager. I honestly don't think many of them are emotionally,or mentally ready to handle college at the age of 15 or 16. I barely was ready and I was 18 going on 19. There's just too much to consider, and childhood is such a precious time in one's life, why cut it short?

I do agree with the trade idea though. I think more programs like these need to be adopted in our high schools because not all kids will be going to a regular 4 year college or community college at that. If kids knew they could learn a trade in high school, some of them might actually enjoy waking up and coming every morning.

Jess said...

I have to agree with everyones comments above to an extent, but I most certainly dont think that high school students ages 15 and 16 are ready for college. I didnt even think I was ready for college at age 18! There are some students who dont finish their required courses until senior year because of all the extracurricular activities and other things they may be involved in. I dont understand why someone would want to rush young students through important learning stages in their life?

Kylie said...

I personally don't like the idea of students being able to end their high school years early and begin college. First, I have to think about what these young adolescents are going to be missing out on socially. Think about how many social gains you personally made your junior and senior year in high school. And, on well speaking on the “social card:” what things are these students going to be exposed to earlier? I already don’t like the idea of sophomores and juniors being able to end their high school day early because of block scheduling. I feel like we are slowly seeing these high school students maturing way to quickly and getting into situations they wouldn’t be in if they supervision or at least guidelines. I do think that some students are ready to begin their college career during their senior year in high school. In which case, they should be able to attend some kind of transition program. I just think that we need to think more about if these kids are developmentally ready for college.

Lori said...

Kylie makes a good point I had not thought about... sophomores are not socially ready for college. When I think about the changes a teenager goes through in the last two years of high school socially and how they mature in those two years, it is a strong argument for keeping them in high school.

Kate said...

I agree with Kylie. We are talking about children here. Developmentally, students ages 15-16 are not ready to attend college. College life requires extreme independence and responsibility, which sophomores in high school are not ready for. Not to mention that socially, they would not fit in. The mentality of a 15 or 16 year old is much different than that of an 18 year old. Socialization in is a very important component in the college experience. Learning about how to interact with others and live with others is a learning experience in itself. Placing a 16 year old who has skipped out on junior and senior year in high school with an 18 year old high school senior could pose problems. Developmentally, they are not on the same level. The social component is just as important as the academic component. I think students need four years of high school to grow in the academic and social arenas. While I do agree with students learning a trade, believe that they can go to a technical school for four years instead of a traditional high school.

I think Lori makes an excellent point in that freshman and sophomore years in high school typically do not allow much flexibility when it comes to taking courses. In my case, it wasn't until my senior year when I used one of my free periods to tutor students in life skills that I knew I wanted to be a teacher. Had I graduated my sophomore year, I never would have had this experience and may never have become a teacher. The brakes should be placed on this idea. After all, kids need to be kids. There is plenty of time for them to be adults.

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