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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-07-2008, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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Highschool done at 10th grade

High school sophomores should be ready for college by age 16. That's the message from New Hampshire education officials, who announced plans Oct. 30 for a new rigorous state board of exams to be given to 10th graders. Students who pass will be prepared to move on to the state's community or technical colleges, skipping the last two years of high school. (See pictures of teens and how they would vote.)

Once implemented, the new battery of tests is expected to guarantee higher competency in core school subjects, lower dropout rates and free up millions of education dollars. Students may take the exams - which are modeled on existing AP or International Baccalaureate tests - as many times as they need to pass. Or those who want to go to a prestigious university may stay and finish the final two years, taking a second, more difficult set of exams senior year. "We want students who are ready to be able to move on to their higher education," says Lyonel Tracy, New Hampshire's Commissioner for Education. "And then we can focus even more attention on those kids who need more help to get there."

But can less schooling really lead to better-prepared students at an earlier age? Outside of the U.S., it's actually a far less radical notion than it sounds. Dozens of industrialized countries expect students to be college-ready by age 16, and those teenagers consistently outperform their American peers on international standardized tests. (See pictures of the college dorm room's evolution.)

With its new assessment system, New Hampshire is adopting a key recommendation of a blue-ribbon panel called the New Commission on Skills of the American Workforce. In 2006, the group issued a report called Tough Choices or Tough Times , a blueprint for how it believes the U.S. must dramatically overhaul education policies in order to maintain a globally competitive economy. "Forty years ago, the United States had the best educated workforce in the world," says William Brock, one of the commission's chairs and a former U.S. Secretary of Labor. "Now we're No. 10 and falling."

As more and more jobs head overseas, Brock and others on the commission can't stress enough how dire the need is for educational reform. "The nation is running out of time," he says.

New Hampshire's announcement comes as Utah and Massachusetts declared that they, too, plan to enact some of the commission's other proposals, such as universal Pre-K and better teacher pay and training. Still more states are expected to sign on in December. And the largest teacher union in the U.S., the National Education Association, is encouraging its affiliates to support such efforts.

Some reform advocates would like to see the report's testing proposals replace current No Child Left Behind legislation. "It makes accountability much more meaningful by stressing critical thinking and true mastery," says Tracy.

No date has been set for when New Hampshire will start administering the new set of exams, which have yet to be developed. But to achieve the goal of sending kids to college at 16, Tracy and his colleagues recognize preparation will have to start early. Nearly four years ago, New Hampshire began an initiative called Follow the Child. Starting practically from birth, educators are expected to chart children's educational progress year to year. In the future, this effort will be bolstered by formalized curricula that specify exactly what kids should know by the end of each grade level.

That should help minimize the need for review year to year. It will also bring New Hampshire's education framework much closer to what occurs in many high-performing European and Asian nations. "It's about defining what lessons students should master and then teaching to those points," says Marc Tucker, co-chair of the commission and president of the National Center for Education and the Economy in Washington. "Kids at every level will be taking tough courses and working hard."

Right now, Tucker argues, most American teenagers slide through high school, viewing it as a mandatory pit stop to hang out and socialize. Of those who do go to college, half attend community college. So Tucker's thinking is why not let them get started earlier? If that happened nationwide, he estimates the cost savings would add up to $60 billion a year. "All money that can be spent either on early childhood education or elsewhere," he says.

Critics of cutting high school short, however, worry that proposals such as New Hampshire's could exacerbate existing socioeconomic gaps. 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. "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."

It's a charge that Tracy denies. "We're simply telling students it's okay to go at their own pace," he says. Especially if that pace is a little quicker than the status quo.

Opinions? I personally think it is stupid because then u will have drunk 16 yo's in college who are not mentally prepared to choose a life long career at such a long age. At 16 who REALLY has a idea of what they want in life? Fuck it took me until I was 22 to get a idea of what i wanted to do. And drinking and fucking that goes on in college I think being that young they can get alittle stupid

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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-07-2008, 07:23 PM
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Re: Highschool done at 10th grade

it'd be a good for some but it probably won't work as well as they hope. I really had no fucking clue what I wanted to do at 16, so I can't imagine being that age and just picking random shit to take at college and spending all that money. But at the same time high school is worthless...

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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-08-2008, 06:40 AM
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Re: Highschool done at 10th grade

Only issue is that they would need to change a lot of laws. Until you are 18 you can't live solo in campus housing under a lot of current State laws...so going to college early is very tricky if you are going to a distant college.

As for the idea, I like it. Maybe not at 16 however, I would push it to the end of Junior year and require a certain course load in high school to be eligible for it. This is basically Maryland's system. To graduate in MD you are required to take at least 21 credits (each class counting as a credit) and take the minimum required in each area (which leaves only like 1 elective if you graduate a year early). Once you have the minimum credit load you basically just write an Essay to the board of education on why you would like to graduate early and they'll review it and determine if you should be allowed to graduate early (actually I think you have to declare the intention and write the essay before the end of your junior year, but whatever).

This would be a somewhat different system and a year earlier still, but I don't see what is wrong with it. As far as I know you can take the GED tests anytime you want and can drop out at 16 most places...so why not standarize it, build the ability to prep you for it in to the ciriculum if you want and throw in testing.

I do know a couple of people who opted to graduate early from high school, one was a friend of mine another I met a PSU who graduate early from a different county and took a year of community college classes before transfering up to Penn State. Never met someone graduate a whole year early from college...well unless we count myself though (not to be conceited *being conceited*)
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-08-2008, 09:16 AM
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Re: Highschool done at 10th grade

There is more to school (both college and high school) then just academics. It's great to be smart, educated and ready to take on a job, but people need soft skills too. As someone who manages a staff of about 40 technical people, I can tell you that I have a lot of smart people who don't know how to talk to humans. Proper socialization is just as important for human as it is for dogs!

My advice: do well in school, but take time for a LIFE as well.
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-08-2008, 02:43 PM
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Re: Highschool done at 10th grade

Those soft skills aren't learned simply by being in school longer. It is part personality type and part course work and experience to learn the skills. All to many university programs and high school programs for that matter don't require soft skills courses for their academic tracts. In my major we were at least required to have a public speaking class. I think all majors for a BA/BS and in high school have public speaking and business/social interaction classes required. Oh, plus a heavier emphasis on writting courses. I know to many highly skilled people who can't write for crap.
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-09-2008, 02:27 AM
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Re: Highschool done at 10th grade

meh, as a college freshman i dont think i would be enjoying college and living on my own back when i was 16. you just think differently over those difference of two years. hard to explain but im looking at it from more than a education standpoint. there are people that skip grades and go to college at 14, 15, 16, or whatever it may be (which is fine) but im not sure if it will go well making 16 be the new "transition point".

plus then all those "immature high school kids" will be giving colleges a bad name.. think of all the bad shit you guys did in highschool, and dont lie to yourself

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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-09-2008, 04:24 AM
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Re: Highschool done at 10th grade

HS is a joke and a waste of time. If 'kids' want to actually learn real skills and go to college early, more power to them. I say 'kids' because people mature at different rates. Intelligent teens can make proper choices in life by themselves. To allow faster access to junior and vocational colleges would definitely do wonders for the labor pool.

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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-09-2008, 09:26 AM
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Re: Highschool done at 10th grade

it would have worked for me, first two years of HS i had good grades, attended school. Last two years my grades dropped and i was skipping a whole lot of days.

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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-09-2008, 01:25 PM
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Re: Highschool done at 10th grade

im 21 and still dont know what the fuck i wanna do...

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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-09-2008, 02:38 PM
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Re: Highschool done at 10th grade

This is nothing more than a way to decrease NH's abysmal drop out rates and actualy find a legal to get certain students out of the public school system. These are the same people who lied about graduation rates to get more funding, and paid certain students to drop out so that they wouldnt drag down the statistics.

this will not solve the problem.

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