Should Kids Be Able to Graduate After 10th Grade?
Seems New Hampshire is going to implement a testing program in 10th grade. The tests are modelled after current Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) tests, and are supposed to determine if the student is educationally prepared to move on to community college or trade schools. They can take the tests as many times as they would like, though may choose to stay and complete their junior and senior years of high school in order to be eligible to attend a 4-year university.
There are arguments on both sides of the issue. The big question is whether or not a test given at 16 years old is really legitimate for determining a person's path in life. Well, is it?
Working with 14-19 year olds all day long, I'm hard pressed to name one that I think is ready for college or trade school. Maybe my demographic is different than in New Hampshire. But, somehow, I think a Texas 16 is a New Hampshire 16.
There's a comment made in the article
One key concern is whether test results, at age 16, are really valid enough to indicate if a child should go to university or instead head to a technical school - with the latter almost certainly guaranteeing lower future earning potential.Okay, as the child of a man who started out as a machinist and now makes 4 or 5 times the money I do, that's not fair. Technical schools can set you up for some amazing jobs. Most, if not all, start out making what I did with B.S. in education--if not more.
"You know that the kids sent in that direction are going to be from low-income, less-educated families while wealthy parents won't permit it," says Iris Rotberg, a George Washington University education policy professor, who notes similar results in Europe and Asia. She predicts, in turn, that disparity will mean "an even more polarized higher education structure - and ultimately society - than we already have."
This statement really bothers me. It's not that I don't see how that can happen, or even how it has happened in other countries. It's more that we're classing ourselves when we think that something is above or beneath us simply because of what it is. And we set our children up when we allow them to think the same way.
So..where am I going with this?
We need to accept kids differences. Both in ability and interest. Some just aren't cut out for universities while others are chomping at the bit for one--regardless of their socioeconomic background. We educate ALL of them. Period.
However, I do think New Hampshire's taking a step in the right direction, I just think it's maybe a bit too big a step just yet. We have to start offering more options--more stringent academic routes as well as more vocational/technical routes. We can't keep shoving 'college degrees' down our students' throats...we'll lose them.