Let’s make it easy for kids to escape high school early

People are talking about shortening the number of years it takes students to complete high school.

Utah Senator Chris Buttars wants to make it easier for kids to skip 12th grade.

The New York Times reports a new plan that would give 10th graders a chance to take tests which, if passed, enable them to receive their diploma two years early and immediately enroll in community college. The initiative will be tried in dozens of public schools throughout 8 states and is based on successful initiatives in Europe.

Some in the education establishment don’t like plans that would let some students skip grades because not all students are academically prepared to skip grades.

The Educated Reporter writes:

I missed the part where we educated students so well that they couldn’t possibly benefit from a fourth year of high school. If senior year is a waste of time, wouldn’t the right answer be making it better, rather than trying to save money by canning it?

If a kid can get into community college or a trade, they’re educated enough to be done with high school. Isn’t the point of high school to prepare you for the next step? If you’ve gotten what you’re supposed to get out of high school, why continue to go? I don’t lollygag around Wal-Mart after I’m done shopping. I get in, get what I need, and go home to make dinner. High school students should have the option of going to high school, getting what they need to take the next step, and leaving to begin their productive lives when they have what they need.

And no, for the kids for whom senior year is a waste of time the answer is not to make it better. If the job is done, and the kid is ready for the next step, why try to make senior year “better?” If you accept the premise that the point of high school is to prepare kids for the next step — which I do — senior year for a kid ready for college after 11th grade is by definition a waste of time.

Of course we need to make all years of high school better for the kids who aren’t prepared to skip on to college after sophomore year. But that’s not what’s being debated. These proposals will help the kids who are ready to leave.

You don’t get better performance by punishing winners. You get the winners where they need to be to keep winning. And that’s college, trade school and careers. Making them rot in high school along with the dregs doesn’t help anyone.

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