Getting Rid of 12th Grade

rivkadr(SoCal)February 16, 2010

There's a proposal in Utah to cut 12th grade from the schools, in an effort to save $60 million dollars.

The mind boggles.

Here is a link that might be useful: LA Times Article

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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

I read that. Football will never be the same.

On a more serious note, other countries have shorter preparatory educational systems. Seems to me that our system seems to have been designed to postpone the transition of the young to adulthood and career employment.

There used to be talk of skipping the 8th or 9th grade, keeping 4 years of high school but starting the children in HS a year early.

My continuing concern is our educational system's inability to keep up with educational standards of other nations having similar socio-economic characteristics.

Our universities and colleges are already burdened with remedial programs to prepare students for university-level performance. Dropping the senior year will leave students even more unprepared for higher education.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 2:51PM
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david52 Zone 6

Here, a significant number of kids who are going to go to state schools take AP classes, and several of my sons classmates, in their last semester, are actually enrolled in and are attending college their last semester.

There is a significant money savings for the student, they get a free year of college. For the school districts, not so much.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 4:01PM
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My son is in the 12th grade. With the exception of a required English course (you have to take English/Literature every year) and a science one, he has no other requirements to stay in school - that is, all his other classes are electives. You wonder if it is worth it to have him spend the whole year for those two classes, if there was not a better way to handle it (such as start those required courses in 8th grade instead of 9th).

Not that I mind him being in high school one more year - he could use the extra time to mature.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 4:11PM
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olyagrove(z9 Tampa, FL)

Dropping the senior year will leave students even more unprepared for higher education.

Not everyone needs the higher education to succeed. Not everyone is suited for it, and in fact, a large percentage will do just wonderful without it.

Make the last two years optional.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 4:21PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Esh, your mention of maturity is one thing I think we should be considering more seriously. It isn't so much that the last year is needed to allow students to catch up to those in other countries, it is more that we are keeping our young people children longer. When they graduate, they seem far less mature than they should be. I have no real idea how to solve this problem. We do seem to push them into sexuality earlier but the ability to take personal responsibility and initiative seems to be less every time I turn around.

Do you have any recommendations?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 4:26PM
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The 12th grade is optional in many countries. In Costa Rica, where I spent some time as a teacher's assistant, all classes through the sixth grade are for reading, writing, and arithmetic. Above that you get into a college-like system where people choose their classes. Students can get a certificate in Arts or Science based on their chosen study and they use that to either get a job or go to further study at a University or private school, similar to "cram schools" in Japan.

The only students attending are the ones that want to be there. The atmosphere is very different of course, with uniforms and daily verbal "class pledges" to recite before and after classes. Nothing like the high schools in my Kentucky town, which are unruly to the point of being meaningless.
Of course, the fact that Costa Rica has no standing army must be considered. So a lot more money goes toward education. I think like 20% of the GDP. There's a statistic that shows that the country has more teachers than police officers! I don't know if that's true or not though.

However, without a budget for the existing system, changing the system would also probably be out of the budget. It would also cut too many jobs. So the chances that any change will happen in LA are pretty slim.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 4:26PM
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I went to college in my senior year of high school, second semester, forced when Reagan decided to take away soc sec. benefits, if you weren't enrolled with 12 credits by that year.

My senior year in HS I think I had gym and one other class, and then went to the local college before entering the college of my choice.
I had taken all the courses necessary to graduate HS already.
Wasn't fun, but the other college did take some of those credits.
Kids may complain about the social life. Senior year's a big deal but if they've already taken the required courses by Junior year and it's enough to get into college why not?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 5:13PM
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kingturtle(Zone 7 GA)

I dropped out of school after junior year and went to college because I was tired of taking college preparatory courses and wanted to take college courses. However, not everyone is prepared for life after high school so soon.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 5:29PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Pity the poor college instructors. Most 17-18 yr olds need that senior year in high school so that they can grow up (almost) enough to attend college the next year. It is usually obvious which students jumped the gun on college--they still act so high-schoolish.

Not that the typical college freshman isn't rather juvenile also, but at least they have one year more of "maturity."

I had a professor years ago who claimed that no one should be allowed to go to college until they were at least 21 yrs old. Then colleges could get down to some real teaching and learning instead of part-time babysitting the freshman through their first year of college.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 5:30PM
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Just what our country needs... less education and preparation for the adult world... all to save a buck and cover the asses of government.

...and the dumbing down is almost complete.

Skipping a grade would be fine if the education contained therein were distributed between other grades... but I doubt that will happen. We are already seriously behind many other nations in education... seriously behind.

And while college isn't for everyone, a decent enough education should be required, and really is needed!

How is it the fault of students that the politicians can't balance their budgets? Why should students suffer for their lack of knowledge and ability? And why is education always the first item on the list when it comes to cuts?

Isn't the youth of America worth more than this??

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 5:38PM
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olyagrove(z9 Tampa, FL)

We are already seriously behind many other nations in education

And unfortunately, adding or removing one year is not going to make that much of a difference one way or the other.
Most nations do have the last two years optional - hence, the problem is somewhere else?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 5:58PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

hence, the problem is somewhere else?

Some years ago I remember hearing a discussion of how the U.S. allocates funds for education. While overall we spend as much as, or more than other industrial nations, the amount for K-12 was less in comparison, and the amount for universities was higher. (At the time I wondered how much of the funding had to do military research.)

I don't know if any of this has changed in the last 5-10 years.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 6:30PM
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I think it's a great idea.

Eleventh and 12th grade should be done at the local Community College, so kids come out with some skills and knowledge. Community colleges do a much better job of educating than high schools. It would serve two purposes - kids could finish their last two years of education in a more meaningful way and all the kids will have at least two years of college.

We make too much of a big deal about high school and the last year is becoming just a placeholding year, of little use or consequence to most seniors.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 6:37PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

I cannot believe that the last two years of high school are useless. Why then are we graduating people unprepared to write and speak and follow math and science in intelligent manner? What is useless is a failing education system. Sending such people on to "college" is just transferring jurisdiction for the last years of education for most. I have taken and I have taught both university and city college courses. City college courses, other than those for the trades/health professions, are not much better than glorified high school classes.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 7:04PM
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Most nations do have the last two years optional

Can we have a citation for that?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 7:24PM
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How do so many kids slip through the cracks and actually graduate without the basic skills of reading, writing, and math?

The average Newspaper is written at a 6th grade level, and there are plenty of people with high school diplomas that cannot get through a single article without pausing at a word they don't know... our educational system is ridiculous, at best.

Instead of taking away grades, we should be adding them! Take money appropriated for the military and throw it into education! We need to do something... we're graduating generations of illiterate young adults!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 7:41PM
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I think it's a great idea to eliminate a grade but why would it have to be 12th grade? There was an experimental program in NY public schools in the 60s and they determined that 8th grade could be eliminated for some Jr. High students. They basically combined 8th and 9th grade into one year. So I actually did skip a grade but it was 8th grade. I can assure you that it was not missed.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 7:46PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Rhodes Island superintendent solves the problem by firing all teachers at an under performing high school.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bye bye teachers

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 8:07PM
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I don't know if mine needs more maturity because of his personal mental health or because kids today don't get the hard knocks to make them more mature by then. I'm not a soft parent (I think) - he doesn't have lots of extras, was a scout for many years, doesn't even have his driver's license yet because he's not interested. Personally, I think it is just his personality. His sister is 3 years younger and is ready to tear up the world. They were raised by the same standards. She will be ready when the time comes.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 8:18PM
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david52 Zone 6

Article in the local newspaper today about how the graduation rate for my sons high school suddenly plummeted by 15%, down to 55%. The Open High school, for kids who, for what ever reason, don't make it in the regular schools around the county, saw its graduation rate drop all the way to 15%.

We are, of course, cutting way back on school funding and teacher salaries so 30% left last year, dropped down to a 4 day school week, and increased fees for all activities. We don't raise taxes out here in the land of the no tax wackos who refuse pay an extra dime in tax on principal alone, and nobody, absolutely nobody, can draw a correlation between lousy funding for the schools and crappy student graduation rates. Nobody. Totally disconnected.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 8:54PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Personal responsibility failures of parents not forcing their children to achieve grades, credits, and HS degrees.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 9:27PM
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bill_vincent(Central Maine)

Lets go ahead and cut the other 11, too. Who needs an education when we could put those kids to work, being productive members of the family and making an income? Just think of the jump the tax base would take? The country would save money on schools, and make more money on the bigger tax base. It's a win/win situation!!

What morons.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 9:45PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Now you are talking. Get rid of minimum wage and drop legal working age to 12 (10 for family businesses and farming).

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 10:51PM
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bill_vincent(Central Maine)

Why 12? Kids can wrap and bag as early as 6 or 7.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 12:00AM
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olyagrove(z9 Tampa, FL)

Can we have a citation for that?
Do not have one right off hand. From this thread alone:
Costa Rica
All former USSR Republics (there were a lot of them)
A number of European countries follow the same pattern - the work day is about to start, but I could and might search for more statistics for you

I guess my country has failed me. We only had 11 grades. And those who did not want to go to college, went to trade schools after 9th grade. If one wanted to go on to a college after a trade school, nothing stopped them. Oh horror

Improve the education and fix the flaws up to the 11th grade, and 12th might be of use. If the previous years were not successful at adequately preparing the student, 12th grade is not going to fix it.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 8:18AM
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punamytsike(9b FL)

actual education, knowledge, not just rubbing shoulders and keeping a seat warm, is good at personal level for the person who received and actually got that education and knowledge. At the society level, it currently would be waist of money. WE have way too many unemployed and under employed people with excellent education. Lets get those people contributing first, then we can worry about wasting more money educating more. There is a reason Italy lowered their retirement age to get young people working.
This above is sad, very sad but reality.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 8:46AM
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david52 Zone 6

Lets get those people contributing first, then we can worry about wasting more money educating more.

They can panhandle, in the mean time.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 8:59AM
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We owe our youth so much, and a good education is one of those things we owe them. We brought them into this world, and it's our responsibility to make certain they're taking advantage of the educations they receive.

An unearned diploma is worthless. It doesn't prepare a person for the real world. There are many reasons we send our children to school... socialization is only a small part. Our youth needs to learn to read, write, to do math, to learn our history, to delve into science and the arts, etc... these are all things that help in navigating the real world as adults.

Cutting education further is not going to net positive results. We should be beefing up our educational system, not cutting funding because our government can't learn to balance a budget!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 10:49AM
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When did this country get away from four years of English, history, science and math? Two years of another language?

That was standard in my high school (catholic, granted) and you didn't graduate with any grade less than a C-. No diploma. Period. A C- was 78, an F was 70. An A required 96. Not a single person in any class I knew of ahead of me nor mine failed to graduate. Several were taking college courses as electives, especially in math as I recall.

Now, teachers don't have the time spent to teach them history. History doesn't even take them through the two World wars I've been told or skims them so quickly that no knowledge is really gained. I find that SHOCKING. There are no Civics classes required in a lot of high schools. No world history. No government classes - all required subjects to take for graduation when I was in high school. We have dumbed down enough.

I think that if we can't manage to teach a through knowledge of our own American history, then we need another year of high school instead of chopping a year off.

Are we really content to continue this slide into a second rate, uneducated and lower class society simply because it's become hard and requires more self decipline and work to be a first class, highly educated one?

That will be our destiny, you know. We are living that slide.

I'm not saying that there should be no room for less than college graduates in this society. But there should be really no real room for high school drop outs. The world is no longer equipped to deal with the results of a life lived as a high school drop out and society needs to turn around and shame these kids out of dropping out of school and life and hold the parents accountable if they don't do everything in their power to prevent a drop out from happening.

This reply sounds awfully conservative in nature doesn't it. It's how I feel. Enough is enough. What we have been doing educationally is not working. It's time to change what it is we do and change it radically if we are to save the next generation.

How has this generation managed to so completely screw everything up, I wonder.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 11:20AM
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olyagrove(z9 Tampa, FL)

The foundations for critical thinking, for logical reasoning...for mathematics, for chemistry, for physics - they have to be there by grade 8 and 9.

If you do not have the foundations - you can add grade 12, and 13, and 14, and M-teen, and the net result will be...well, the same.

If Y is bad, MxY is just as bad. Sorry.

I am all for better education. I am all for more funding for schools. I am all about sciences and math in the curriculum. Teaching is and will be part of my career.
I just do not see, in the grand scheme things, adding or removing the 12th grade to have enough weight to affect the system as it is.

That is why making the last years optional makes sense. Why force those not interested in college stay and study alongside with those who are?
Why not let them, instead, go to technical or a trade school?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 11:35AM
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david52 Zone 6

Schools now teach to the NCLB tests. Pick up a text book and wince.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 11:39AM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Children are already leaving high school before class graduation...called dropping out and starting life out without that high school degree demanded by most employers. Yes, there are GED's. One of my children went that route, dropped out and took a test to prove sufficient proficiency to qualify for the degree.

The NCLB tests blow my mind because the principle promoted is that all children in all regions are the same. What a draconian system reflecting the values of Big Brother, not of education.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 11:48AM
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To stay teaches them to think. Even when it's hard. Even when it's boring. Even when it seems to be a 'waste of time.'

I once asked my algebra teacher why in the world I had to learn alebra when it was so likely I would never employ it. She told me to think of it as mental exercises. I was going to have to think about difficult tasks and how best to accomplish them with deadlines and within parameters I had to adhere to - and I was going to have to have a brain that was used to trying to figure out complex issues - so that is how I managed to survive algebra.

I did even though it was a very difficult subject for me and I hated every second of it. It was a necessary evil I had to stick out and pass. So I did.

That is part of life all through our lives, to do something we hate/bored/really hard to do. Because that is how we grow and gain what we want for our lives.

Otherwise, China will eventually become the first rate power and we will be here with bustling factories who employ those who didn't learn and educate themselves and all they know how to do is to make the cheapest wares for those educated Chinese people to buy from us. We will do the work that they don't have to do anymore.

That is all we will be worth, all we will be capable of doing if we aren't at least competitive educationally as a whole with the rest of the educated world. And we will live the lives of people who are dependent upon work like that.

We won't continue to strive for the American Dream because that will only be a dream we once lived - we will struggle to keep decent food in our bellies and hope that the Chinese will still buy what it is our little cheap-o factories make. Or else we are in real trouble because that is all we know how to do.

They are on the way up. We are on the way down.

Somebody will have to do the grunt work for the peoples of the world who have the wealth and power. We will fill that bill to a T if we aren't awfully careful.

When we don't think that at LEAST high school is an absolute in life, then we have really lost the focus of what is important in making our society work in it's own best interest.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 11:54AM
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But just think, then you could have 17 year olds enlisting instead of 18 year olds!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 12:48PM
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olyagrove(z9 Tampa, FL)

Otherwise, China will eventually become the first rate power....

Speaking of China:

Education in the People's Republic of China is a state-run system of public education run by the Ministry of Education. All citizens must attend school for at least nine years

Since 1950 China has provided nine-year compulsory education for a fifth of the world's population. Nine-year compulsory education operates in 90 percent of China's populated areas, and illiteracy in the young and mid-aged population has fallen from over 80 percent down to five percent.

For non-compulsory education, China adopts a shared-cost mechanism, charging tuition at a certain percentage of the cost. Meanwhile, to ensure that students from low-income families have access to higher education, the government has initiated effective ways of assistance, with policies and measures as scholarships, work-study programs, subsidies for students with special economic difficulties, tuition reduction or exemption and state stipends.

Hmm, how come Chinese students lead away in math, programming and science competitions?!

@rivkadr :Another country to add to your list. Source: wiki

When we don't think that at LEAST high school is an absolute in life

No one is saying high school is not important! Education is and will be the foundation for the societal success

What I (for example) am saying ..You took algebra,right. Here is an example. You have a function that defines the success of the operation

Y = education_success(var1, var2, var3....)

A function that accepts a string of variables of variable proportions. The function returns the ratio of successfully educated high school students and high school drop outs.
You want to optimize the function (maximize the return, that is). Alright.

What I am saying, one of these variables is "Year 12". The weight of this variable is so minute in comparison with others (variable 1 = funding, variable 2 = lack of qualified and motivated teachers, and etc), that for the optimization of the entire function and it's return, that variable can be considered a constant C of a rather negligible weight and, therefore, can be dropped or added, without a noticeable effect on the return. (Hint: you can simplify your equation and drop the variable)

The success of your function is NOT in year 12. It is not in year 13.
There is a problem(s) someplace else. But, heck, what do I know - lets slap a few more years and see if we get a proportional increase in successful students and a decrease in high school drop outs.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 1:27PM
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I concur, mylab... as I've said many times here at HT, the dumbing down is almost complete. With the watered down educational system we have, among other things, why is it any wonder so many rely on government aid to survive? Why do we gasp at the number of welfare recipients?

It's really shameful... we're completely letting down the next generation. Parents should be held fully responsible for a lot of things gone wrong with today's youth.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 6:22PM
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bill_vincent(Central Maine)

But just think, then you could have 17 year olds enlisting instead of 18 year olds!

They can do that now, so long as parents sign for them.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 12:47AM
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Bill, I think you get my point.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 3:40PM
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Me thinks this is an attempt to make it more difficult to achieve the desired education. The curriculum stay the same? That would mean one's got an entire year less time for the same load. Quite a few kids would need assistance, I think. Those that can't afford tuition will be left behind.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 3:46PM
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Universal education came into being within the lifetime of some people who post here, it didn't take long for that philanthropic motivation to turn into job training. All the best jobs go to those with the most education (qualifications) we were told. In the wink of an eye we have certification training for jobs my daughter could learn in half a day, graduates who have trouble reading and writing millions unemployed and unskilled jobs vacant.

I saw a clip of a Ford factory the other night on TV. There was one of those robots putting a dash console into a truck, the animator said that this was an improvement upon days when people would risk hurting their back doing the same job. My thought was that there were probably millions out there prepared to take that risk for a good job. My point being that if we were so intent at one time that education was to make students ready for jobs we should revise our thinking so that education makes students ready to occupy themselves all day without a job.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 5:53PM
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"Hmm, how come Chinese students lead away in math, programming and science competitions?!"

I don't know, BECAUSE THEY HAVE 1/5 OF THE WORLD'S POPULATION. They do force some to go beyond those 9 years that you stated. I would not have guessed that you would believe that China was the model that we should follow.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 9:34PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Thank God we don't force our children past 9 years of schooling.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 10:21PM
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You are right Marshall. If we make them go beyond the 9th grade, our property taxes might rise. Oh, the h-o-r-r-r-o-r..

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 10:44PM
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Leaving the education piece of this aside for now, this means there would have to be a wholesale change in the way Americans view the age of majority, i.e., the end of childhood. Because it wouldn't make sense for a 16- or 17-year-old to be finished with mandatory education and put into the working world but still be saddled with the restrictions of minority. The age would need to be decreased for the capacity to: contract, work without restriction, marry without parental permission, drive, vote, enlist in the military, and be considered an adult for law enforcement purposes (the latter both as a defendant and for purposes of consent for sexual activity). You might need to throw the drinking age on that list, too. I'm not sure America is ready for those changes . . . or should be.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 3:52AM
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olyagrove(z9 Tampa, FL)

I don't know, BECAUSE THEY HAVE 1/5 OF THE WORLD'S POPULATION. They do force some to go beyond those 9 years that you stated. I would not have guessed that you would believe that China was the model that we should follow.

I understand the premises of your statement. You believe that since the number of Chinese is so high, the probability of the gifted/well educated children is just as high, as a direct correlation to the overall number
It is an assumption. One needs to look at the ratio of the well prepared students to an overall population to make such a statement a correct one.

When, about 8 years ago, I went to college in the US, my main concern was not the difficulty of concepts. It was the language. I was worried about not catching up with the professor's explanations, I was worried about not understanding the terms (while most mathematical terms, such as sine, cosine, tangent, etc - can be guessed from the context, others - e.g. denominator, derivative, array, variable - cant) It was a surprise to me how many native speakers were struggling with trigonometry. With precalc. With algebra.
These topics were covered in grades 9-10 (algebra, physics), 10-11 (trig, precalc) in high school (in a communist at the time USSR, an example you surely would not want to follow). Foreign language started at grade 5 and went on till the graduation (9th grade, or optional 11th)

In the US college, I saw people were struggling, people were failing (in math and science courses). Oh, definitely, if they just had grade 13, they would all do so much better.

Teaching a freshman programming course, I can tell you honestly, my best students were [1] older students [2] foreign students [3] transfers from community colleges.

If we make them go beyond the 9th grade, our property taxes might rise. Oh, the h-o-r-r-r-o-r.

You see, Frank (may I?), this is yet another assumption. My household has consistently (however, unsuccessfully) voted for property tax increase, in favor of it going towards education. I work and intend to stay in academia, and I, as many here or possibly more than any of you, believe in "education is power".
Budget cuts affect me, personally.

A number of posters seem to jump to these assumptions - if one says, heck with the 12th grade, they must be (a) against education (b)against raising taxes for schools, and so on and so forth.

Read what I am trying to stay - if you care
If the additional grades do truly add to the quality of the education - by all means, slap another three I am more than happy to see taxes go towards that. Alright.

But, it appears to me (read: my assumption), the quality of the schooling years prior to grade 12 is not great - and insisting that grade 12 is of *uttermost value* is dumb

This statement does not mean, education is not important (as some insist)
This statement does not mean, we are giving up on a new generation - as some insist
It means: grades X-11 are not working well enough to provide the foundations your youth needs - and insisting on having the 12th one to top it off is not going to improve the situation. Oh horror is right.

According to source, 7,000 students drop out every day. You really think insisting that all students stay through grade 12 is going to fix that? You want to gripe about education, future and not failing the generation - divert from throwing cliches around and talk about improving the first 11 grades.

p.s. Making last two years optional makes sense from my point of view - can you swallow *an* opinion without accusing me of giving up on youth and trying to save on my property taxes?!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 9:23AM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Olya, a question:

Will those that have opted out of school after 9th grade be faced with long-term discrimination in the workplace and perhaps society at large?

When I attended high school in the 1950's, about a third of my class took college prep courses stressing English and Sciences rather than such things of shop and home ec and typing. Attitudes in the community towards the prep group were significantly more positive than for the larger group of other students.

I realize as I write this that there has been a general dumbing down of expectations and perhaps a certain glorification of ill-educated personalities. I'll pass on naming some of these kinds of celebrities.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 9:34AM
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olyagrove(z9 Tampa, FL)

Will those that have opted out of school after 9th grade be faced with long-term discrimination in the workplace and perhaps society at large

In any society, not having enough education will keep you "at a lower" level. Sure
So instead, the approach should be to *force* to finish the same number of years? What is achieved as a result? The overall level of education is lowered, and all, relatively to that marker (12 grades) are now equally (and ill) equipped

My major prof was griping about the uselessness of a college degree nowadays- how many people do you know that have degrees in social studies, psychology, etc - and work in fields completely unrelated, fields that really do not require you to attend 4 years of college? I know plenty

Regardless, and back to your question.
Although you graduate officially after 9 grades, and hence not termed a "drop out", you are expected to get into either trade school or a technical school. Unlike in the US, one needs a trade school diploma to work as a sales person in a grocery store! So, yes, overall, the person does end up with 11 years of schooling. BUT - and here is the big 'but'- the person intending on going to college is not studying alongside with the person who wants to be a great carpenter.

Once you are done with trade school, you are free to apply for college. Regardless of whether you went to a trade school or stayed for 11 grades, you need to pass admission exams.

All skills are needed. I am all for laying a strong mathematical and scientific foundation for ALL people - so that percentages, and basic physics and chemistry notions are not some sort of "rocket science". That foundation needs to be there early. Critical thinking skills, logical reasoning needs to be developed before the student reaches grade 12.

And if one wants to be a fashion designer, for example -they do not need to know all the details of the laws of Thermodynamics, and all the rules of integration and differentiation - they can attend a trade school and, given talent and motivation, learn everything there is to being a fashion/pattern designer. One *can* be very successful upon graduating from a trade school - and they will do just fine without ever solving trigonometric inequalities (taught in the last two years of high school)

There is no need to insist that every student needs a degree -- we have way too many people with wishy-washy degrees - the degrees this person does not need to succeed in life. But a degree they went after only because they were told they needed *a* degree.

I find that students (in the US) who have attended a community college, or who worked after highschool and figured out they wanted to go back and get a specific college degree, are usually extremely well equipped and, most importantly, are very motivated.

But, we can take the route you all seem to insist on: make students stay through grade 12, and insist that ALL try to to go to college. Hey, more job security for me.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 10:01AM
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Well... if nothing is done to increase the value of education within grades 1 through 11, then grade 12 remains fairly necessary.

If the value of education is brought higher within the earlier grades, then a year could be dropped without losing anything.

However... I simply can't see this happening. Too many youths slip through the educational cracks, as it is... too many are allowed to graduate from 8th grade without the necessary fundamentals, and they go on to high school and struggle, drop out, or graduate ill-prepared for college, and sometimes even the world of working.

I would be all for the beefing up of the lower grades, and I've never complained about my property taxes going toward education. I'm all for that, too.

I think the bottom line is... we have serious issues going on within our educational system that need addressing... and cutting funding even further is not a good thing. Why can't a different budget area be cut?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 10:05AM
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I helped tutor a student who was behind in 9th grade math.

She was behind because 4th and 5th grade, she confessed, covered the exact same material, none of which she understood.

She didn't know how to read decimals. She couldn't define whole numbers. She didn't even know the order of operations!

Finally, I took out the 4th grade textbook and began where she, academically, had left off. After that, she did a lot better, making Bs and Cs, instead of Ds and Fs.

If her case is representative of many cases, and I believe that it is, there will be no academic effect in removing the 12th grade. By then, many students are already lost. More money should be spent on the elementary grades, because that is where the failings are having the biggest effect on the most students.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 10:11AM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

In some ways, I kinda wish we would go back to the model Marshall describes. Far too many students begin college for all the wrong reasons--which is why there is always a high drop-out rate at the college freshman, even sophomore level. A college prep track in high school would better prepare those who genuinely want a college education. The other students could be directed towards some practical job skills that will be useful on the job market--though some of those skills would have to be updated for the current times.

On the other hand, I have little faith in high school administrators aiding students in making choices of the options. I remember being discouraged from taking college prep courses--even though I always rated near the top of the class. I guess they thought I'd get married by age 18 or something--those were sexist times back then, to say the least! And the high school counselor advised my daughter to aspire no higher than dental assistant. I'm not sure why. The good news is that both my daughter and myself went on to get several college/post-college degrees each, and I have spent my entire career, from which I will retire in 2 more years, in academia, and my daughter has been a successful businesswoman for a number of years. It was fortunate for both of us that we did not listen to the counselors/administrators--but I have often wondered how effective they were in directing other students in an appropriate career path.

I wish I had the answer to this. I can also think of unimpressive college students who "woke up," as it were, about half way through their college education and became truly motivated and achieving students. I'd hate to think someone had side-tracked them into a job-skills high school education that left them inadequately prepared to attend college--where they might eventually excel.

I guess the problem is that there is no one model of education that "fits" all students--and many students will keep on changing and maturing for some years after their high school education is completed. That said, I do wish there were more job skills training somewhere along the line since any number of students definitely are not interested in going to college. They need some marketable skills/training.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 10:12AM
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david52 Zone 6

My son graduates in a few months, and I've been a bit surprised at what some of his classmates are getting into - going on to specialized welding school, one going for training in building racing engines. So the technical schools are there, available after HS graduation.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 10:23AM
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"And the high school counselor advised my daughter to aspire no higher than dental assistant. I'm not sure why."

I'm not quite sure how or why some educators/counselors want to place students into little boxes, telling them they cannot aspire to more than society's idea of what they should be. I'm very glad you and your daughter didn't listen to that horse pucky! Anyone can achieve anything they set their minds to!

We always encouraged our children to "reach for the stars"! To do and be whatever it was that made them happy. Our middle son graduates Drake University this year, as an already contracted and working pharmacist! We're so proud of him! And he pulled a double major throughout his years there, mainly for help in funding. He's very ambitious.

The point is, he reached for those stars, and he caught the ones he wanted! :-)

My brother, on the other hand, went to trade school after high school graduation, and he became an automotive engineer. Another way to phrase it would be a mechanic or a grease monkey... but the point is, he's happy, too. He loves cars and engines, loves the hands on work, and it's a lucrative, and needed, field.

I, on the other hand, am not college material. I struggled through many high school courses, and I couldn't see going on to struggle further. I aspired to be a good wife and mother... and I've achieved my goals, too. While not as monetarily lucrative, you can't beat the satisfaction and joy quotient!

Classroom size, dedication level of the educator, curriculum... school funding... all these things contribute to how well a student does in school. But I think a more important factor, that of the parents' role in their child's education and upbringing, and their involvement in the local school system, is paramount to success, or failure.

If we're involved, not only do our kids stand a better chance of succeeding, but it's tougher for our schools to just be mediocre, turning out mediocre students. We need to voice our concerns at meetings, volunteer if we can, get the message across that we will not accept failure and mediocrity.

I think we should also be writing our Representatives to let them know how we feel about more funding cuts that affect our schools.

The unfortunate part is that it's the students who suffer in all this. If 12th grade is dropped, but nothing is added to the earlier grades to compensate, we're losing more... and that will translate into more young adults that aren't ready for the job market.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 1:54PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Want to know how to really save?

Get rid of 12th graders.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 10:11PM
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