Sunday, October 21, 2012

Getting rid of 12th grade is Idiocy.

Joanne Jacobs has
Children should start school at 3 but skip 12th grade, writes Linus D. Wright, ...
Why is this picture of
a cracked pot here?
Do I imply something?
“A fully financed mandatory early-childhood-education program would do more to change the culture and academic outcomes of students than any other area of reform,” Wright argues.
Step two of the formula for improving education at every level in the United States is to eliminate the 12th grade. It is the least productive and most expensive of all grades, and the money saved by getting rid of it would pay for early-childhood programs, which are the most productive and least expensive. Most students are taking electives in 12th grade, he writes. They’re focused on their part-time jobs. Move ‘em out and use the savings for the little kids.
Which is silly.  This "problem" of seniors taking only electives, of seniors leaving school early or doing work-study, of students focusing more on out-of-school than on academics is a logical extension of the trend in recent years of holding kids back, of "red-shirting" them so as to raise early test scores. When you have parents keeping kids out of school until age 6 so that they will have a developmental edge on their "peers", you will have 18- and 19- year-old seniors. When you have schools encouraging the practice so they get marginally better scores, you will have this problem.

BUT ...

Seniors can do research, too.
It's not just for Education experts.
Instead of eliminating the senior year and sending barely-ready students to college remediation and full-time minimum wage jobs, make the seniors take electives in math and science and English and history.  Give them a Senior English Seminar (vocab, grammar, and a 30 page research paper) in addition to the regular English 12 BritLit class, an AP US History or US Military History, a math class in Discrete Math or Game Theory or Chess, a foreign language such as Latin or Japanese. How about freakin' Art or Architectural drafting? You have a theater program, don't you? Your music teacher isn't the modern day El-KaBong, right?

Of course the senior year costs a lot - you have to do more than throw a marginally intelligent elementary teacher (who majored in elementary ed because she was incapable of anything more intellectual) in the room to babysit. You actually need to push those know-it-all 18yos into a place where they'll step it up a bit ... and that takes resources.

Seniors are about to make major life choices. It is the responsibility of the school to give them some experience and education in as many strands as they can con the seniors into.

On the other end of the scale ... why in anyone's delusional world would you want to require ALL children go to pre-school from age 3?  I'm sure that everyone can name a few children who should have this intervention but it's absolutely NOT better for the vast majority.  Children should learn from and be with parents.  Daycare should be just that unless the parents specifically ask for pre-school.

Having Pre-school available from age 3 is alright, but the key word is "available" as opposed to "required".

Linus Wright writes, "In the most recent report of the Program for International Student Assessment, released in 2009, American students ranked well below those in a significant number of other industrialized nations in such critical areas as reading, science, and math."

Yeah, and many of those countries start education later than we do.  In fact, Finland starts them at 7 years old:
Ever since Finland, a nation of about 5.5 million that does not start formal education until age 7 and scorns homework and testing until well into the teenage years, scored at the top of a well-respected international test in 2001 in math, science and reading, it has been an object of fascination among American educators and policy makers.-NYTimes.
Why can't these Education Research "Experts" get their facts straight and their conclusions consistent?


  1. I've got it! Let's get rid of Friday afternoon classes and the last 2 weeks of the school year because there is less progress made at those times.