Do you think high school should be optional or mandatory?
Do you think high school should be optional or mandatory?
Mandatory. Otherwise we can go back to the days of 10 year olds running the equivalent of spinning machines.
There is so much to learn today that school does not teach, I can understand the reason for this question.
A good school will teach you how to think, not what to think.
A good school will give you something to think about.
My personal opinion is that school doesn't teach enough life skills these days. I don't remember the last time I saw anyone forced to take a home ec or a shop class. But we have so many things that kids need to learn and evidently not everyone's parents teach them:
How to dress for a job interview
A little respect
How to cross the street (Hint: It is not striding in front of me, weaving and bopping and daring me to hit you.)
Some internet usage experience
Some basic spelling and punctuation and not IM speak.
Okay, I now realize I am being curmudgeonly. So I'll let others chime in.
Heck, how about making change?
School cannot teach everything. Parents have to take a part of the responsibility on their children's education. Life skills, such as sewing, baby caring, cooking, etc. should be learned from other sources so school could focus on the basic, intellectual development and studies.
I think the question is how to make the school more competitive in order to meet the ever growing international challenges. I think the elementary, middle, and high schools in Norh America, Canada and US, in general, are putting too much energy on the decoratiing the process of learning instead of focusing on the actual learning. The school curriculums are not high enough to be competitive to, let's say, Asian's. Take math as an example.
Change is definitely needed.
Last edited by jennylovskt; 04-19-2009 at 11:17 PM.
Without a high school education - let alone a college degree - it's very difficult to get a good job. I don't see how high school could be optional in today's world - it's not even 'enough'.
Also, most people lack the maturity to be out in the real world.
When high school was not required, the world was very different - much more agricultural and less industrial. Kids were needed to help out on the family farm, etc.
I believe the that the argument against mandatory high school stems from the atmosphere that disruptive students create. Using my experiences from school and the stories my mother tells me from teaching, there are students who are so disruptive, that introduces near chaos within the classroom thereby making it nearly impossible for the teacher to teach and the students to learn. These kids are then thrown out of the classroom, evenutally suspended, and on repeat offenses, expelled from the school. I do believe that school should be mandatory even if the student doesn't want to go and act in such a manner. Kids who want to learn should not have to put up with the mess that is created by kids who dont want to learn. So, there should be options within a school system to deal with students with such behavioral problems. .
I think High School should definitely be mandatory. There are things you learn and take away from high school other then just the "book learning". One learns important social skills which can be difficult to learn in other circumstances.
I was extremely lucky and attended one of the best public high schools in my province. When you started in grade 8, you were required to take Lifeskills (Cooking, Sewing, Woodwork, etc), and your only choice of elective was either Fine Arts (Art, Drama, Dance, etc.) or Music (Band or Orchestra). To graduate, you then had to complete a Lifeskills elective and a Fine Arts electives or 2 lifeskills electives. Every student would end up leaving the school with at least some basic cooking knowledge, some basic sewing knowledge, and some basic shop knowledge. I think taking programs like this out of schools is a travesty. Perhaps things like this should be learned in the home, but that fact is that not all students have parents who are willing to teach them, or even have the skills themselves! We also had 3 CAPP courses (Career and Personal Planning) that we had to complete to graduate. We learned Sex Ed, Resume Building, Cover Letter Building, Interview skills, etc. These courses we were required to take could, unfortunately, be the first courses on the chopping block if TPTB decided that more time is needed for more academic courses. This would greatly upset me because I think they are just as, if not more, valuable to the average student.
Perhaps Canada does need to put a more rigorous Math curriculum in place, but if that comes at the expense of courses like I outlined above, I'll pass.
Many fast food and other restaurants won't hire unless you are in high school or have graduated from there. They don't want the dropouts anymore.
I believe education should be mandatory until the age of 17, but I do not believe that high school should be mandatory. Many kids who do not do well in high school do very well in community colleges - I believe strongly in increasing such opportunities. Also, let's no kid ourselves - kids who only stay in high school because it's the law will not go to college. In fact, they will end up with a rather useless high school diploma. I believe, therefore, that we should go back to having strong vocational schools that provide basic academics (enough to pass the MCAS test or whatever other states have with confidence) but that also provide the teenager with a trade. I know that some school districts (in particular in upstate New York) have those, but unfortunately the more liberal states such as our Massachusetts believes that vocational schools deprive kids of academic opportunities and create more inequality; in reality, of course, this lack just means that high school diploma becomes ever more meaningless and does not guarantee much beyond a McDonalds job to the graduates. Most European countries have some kind of a division between a college prep school and more of a vocational training; I believe some of those can be used as models, with more flexibility inherent to the American system built in (what I mean is that in Germany, for example, once you are on the vocational track it's next to impossible to switch to the college track; this wouldn't work in the US, so more flexibility would have to be build int).
Vocational considerations aside, I think it is better to be a well educated person than to be an ignorant dummy.
It is better to know something about history than not to know anything about history.
It is better to know something about biology and literature and economics than not to know anything about any of these subjects.
As for mathematics...
Mathematics is the jewel in the crown of human intellectual achievement. It provides a model and template for all rational thought. Its clarity, precission, and standard of proof are the envy of all other acedemic disciplines.
That's what I think.
Shy, aren't you? I do have to admit I always preferred Math to science - in physics, there just seem to be so many elements you can't control, whereas Mathematics are indeed about pure logic. (Of course, my husband the physicist by education would respond that mathematics can be understood by any intelligent person, whereas you brain has to be special to understand physics beyond a certain level.)
In a perfect world, I'd fully agree with you. Unfortunately, that's not where we live. You can lead a child to class, but you can't make them learn. Also, I think the current HS system insists on treating students as children - well, humans react to this! When treated as immature babies, teenagers tend to behave just that way! At 16, many are very mature individuals, dealing with very adult issues outside school. You can't expect them to take this condescension seriously, now can you? (Oh, can you tell I had issues with my HS? )
Last edited by Ptichka; 04-23-2009 at 10:41 AM.
There was one high school in my school district that offered more vocational type programs than just a traditional high school. On average, the students at this school were from less affluent homes and were less likely to move on to university or college education. The school offered both a hair-dressing and a culinary program in conjunction with fulfilling high school graduation requirements for the province. If I remember correctly, the kids who finished these programs would have their high school diploma and another diploma related to the field they studied (hair-dressing or culinary). I definitely think that high school should be mandatory, but I agree that it just doesn't work for some kids. Maybe schools with programs like this should be more common!
The jewel in the crown belongs to everyone. You do not have to have a special brain to own it.
I look at it this way. In the olden days, only rich people had a chance to go to school. People who were so poor that they had to work for a living -- which is 99.9% of the population at any place or time -- could not.
Now schooling is both essential and free. Sounds good to me.
Last edited by Mathman; 04-23-2009 at 01:11 PM.
http://www.russianschool.com/ - you may find their "about" statement interesting, as well as their "problem of the week") - I sometimes help them out with some of their extra-extra-curricular activities. They are essentially an after school/ weekend program that gives math instruction to kids; classes are in English, and there has been an increasing number of non-Russian students there - first the Chinese, then the Indians, and now Americans as well (I think it's about 50/50 now). Kids from RSM breeze through SATs (well, that's not hard to do!) and generally do well with APs and other classes. What I find interesting (which they won't advertise, of course) is that their program really isn't all that necessary for the really talented kids who grasp the concepts quickly and whose problem in math classes is one of boredom. However, they do absolute miracles for kids who've always been labeled "bad in math" - my masseuse's son, for example, a very mediocre student who was failing even the Curriculum 2 math ended up breezing through his SATs (he didn't get to calculus, but he quite well with pre-calc, I believe). In talking to the teachers, you discover quickly that their "trick" is in really explaining things step by step by step. They believe that the grade school math in this country tends to go too slowly; then, once curriculum jumps to algebra, it becomes a "sink or swim", and many kids sink because they were never really taught to think (OK, so I couldn't resist the pun - sorry). They, however, do things more gradually, so the student doesn't really meet those insurmountable obstacles. Really makes you wonder what could be done for the general student popualtion with a different approach!