Thursday, August 16, 2007

Doesn't sound like a good idea to me

Dwight Morrow High School in New Jersey is requiring high school freshman to pick a major. That's right...a high school....freshman....major. The school claims it is a way to keep troubled teens engaged in the education process.

Um...or it's a disaster, either way.

“I thought high school was about finding what you liked to do,” said Kendall Eatman, an Englewood mother of six who was president of the Dwight Morrow student body before graduating in 1978. “I think it’s too early to be so rigid.”
Amen Ms. Eatmen. Amen.

And another good point:
“Today’s economy requires people to be constantly learning and changing,” Ms. Humphreys said. “A lot of jobs that high school students are likely to have 10 years from now don’t yet exist, so preparing too narrowly will not serve them well.”
Personally, I think teaching kids vocational subjects in addition to traditional college-prep classes is really the best way to go about it, but the structure that is needed to pick and stick with a major isn't conducive to the best learning environment for 14-18 year olds. Hell, it took me a good two years in college to figure out what I wanted to major in. And if I were to do it again, it'd probably be different.

This just sounds like another way to put the not-so-academically-inclined into boxes where they will not survive and the academically-inclined in boxes where they will suffocate.

1 Comment:

MarilynJean said...

It rocks. My speciality in high school was teaching, but hell if I did that in college. The students at the school in question will benefit from a focused education and give them the added push to puruse post-secondary degrees in a variety of areas. By keeping their high school education broad and using vague concepts like "Going to college is good", doesn't help the persistent problem of student disengagement. Further, some of the most involved students are ones with a clear sense of what they want to do: i.e. athletes that want to continue their career in college, or the young woman in the article who is focusing on performing arts. No one is saying that if you focus on one thing in high school, you will suffer when you enter college or voc ed. The undergraduate system is also designed to be exploratory. That is why you have all those gen ed requirments. Not too mention, skills like critical thinking, analysis, writing and communication can all be learned in a myriad of fields.

Students in at-risk schools need as many hands-on, experiential learning opportunities to actualize their goals. This idea may actually help them do so.


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