Why, Oh WHY Can’t We Just Want High School Seniors

…who can READ, WRITE and MAKE THE CORRECT CHANGE at Mac Donalds? HUH? (I’d ask for “be pleasant”, too, but don’t want to push it.) What kind of frickin’ gobbledee GOOK is this pig poopie?

Lila and Andrew Zoghbi are bored five days a week in classes at Chiles High School.
It’s not that they are slackers. They are honor students: Lila, 15, plans to be an engineer, and her brother, 17, wants to design video games.
The problem, they say, is that school is not giving them the career preparation they want.
“It’s just stuff I don’t think I’m really going to need for the job I want,” Lila said. “I’d probably like it if I had more things to help me in the future.”
Students like the Zoghbis would get an education more tailored to their career plans under a proposal from Gov. Jeb Bush that education experts say would make Florida the first state to require incoming high school freshmen to declare a major, just like college students.

Oh God, oh God, oh God. The heartburn and brain freeze pain at this moment is overwhelming.

10 Responses to “Why, Oh WHY Can’t We Just Want High School Seniors”

  1. Ken Summers says:

    The idea of declaring a “major” in high school is nonsense.
    There may be some value in having “college track” and “vocational track” but even a VT requires fundamental skills. There really should be only one track – graduation with a specified curriculum. The rest should be elective, with those planning on college focusing on classes toward college and others focusing on classes geared toward their goals.

  2. Nightfly says:

    I think you’re seeing the biggest problem with teaching to the lowest common denominator – the talented kids don’t care because they’re not being challenged. Jeb’s idea isn’t unsound, but it’s misapplied. It should be available to suffiently-motivated achievers who want more than the minimum – pick a track (I’ve heard some schools call it a “focus” or a “concentration”) and gobble up every last scrap of knowledge on that track. It shouldn’t be mandatory to everyone because not everyone can take advantage.

  3. Ken Summers says:

    Fly, the idea is still unsound if, as it seems, the majors are science vs. humanities vs. whatever. High school, especially 9th grade, is far too early to be deciding that kind of track.
    The point about LCD is accurate and well taken, but that’s a separate issue. College bound students should be taking advanced classes but in all the subject areas, with some room, if possible, for emphasizing those areas of greatest interest on an elective basis.

  4. Nightfly says:

    I still see a connection, Ken, but I get your point. I missed the “freshman” part of the equation. Jeepers, I was 13! What if I got the whole way through high school and suddenly decided that I hated Shakespeare? Could I even attempt engineering with my remedial trig classes? It would defeat the whole purpose of a concentration.
    But a senior, 17 going on 18? If you’re running a school dedicated to strong teaching and not LCD, then you could put curricula in place to give everyone a solid foundation in basics in the first three years, and then let the fourth year be given over (at least in part) to a particular study. This would have two benefits right off –
    1. The students would stay motivated their final year because they’d be studying stuff they’ll need in college and in real life;
    2. The slackers who tail off after the college acceptance comes in still have a good education (albeit not as good as they could have had).
    Oh, and 3 – if you just wanted the basics and NO concentration, but didn’t want to merely fall asleep in class for eight months, you could attend half-day classes and then do a work-study program through the vo-tech department: either in a trade or in the traditional retail/food service genre. It’s an opportunity to earn a little scratch on the side and get a taste of the working world, where your butt will be kicked instead of smooched – and where it’s not to late to learn the lesson, “Gee, this is hard, I’m going to study in college and not play 25 hours a week of Everquest.”

  5. Dave J says:

    I like Jeb–considerably more than I like his brother in fact–but this idea is, to use a technical New England term, fucking retarded.

  6. Ken Summers says:

    Fly, I think we’re on the same page. I just have a big problem with “declaring” a major, even in senior year. After all the required material, one could take all science, all humanities, all whatever, or any mix.
    Dave, it would seem that we in California have been heavily influenced by New England 😉

  7. NJ Sue says:

    None of us can really say what will help these kids “in the future.” No one knows what the jobs of tomorrow will be, so the best thing to do in public education is to ensure that the graduates can a) read, write and calculate competently and b) know something of the scientific method and how the world got to be how it is. Another thing: Is the would-be video game designer getting A’s in calculus? If not, then he’s not “unchallenged,” he’s just bored. There’s a difference. I am very tired of the way that anyone who is bored in school blames the school instead of his or her own intellectual laziness. If you’re really smart, you can make anything interesting for yourself.

  8. One thing they DON’T appear to learn and what they need to be taught is how money works and what things cost.
    They need to know how to live when Daddy and Mommy don’t fund all their X-box shit. How many hours of work you’ll have to preform to pay for that apartment, groceries, and car insurance. What a First and Last-Month’s deposit is, and how much % of your income will cover it. How to balance a checkbook and what are the hidden or the true costs of a loan or credit-card financing.
    Jobs vs. income – what your pay-stub will look like after the State and Feds get through with it (ie: net vs. takehome pay). Basic reality-based stuff that is not taught.
    Stuff like what happens when you drop out of College to become a professional Skateboarder or how a Major in Creative-Dance will impact your future income potential, or how “edgy and alternative farming-methods” may produce a lot of cannibis but include jail-time – so, how does a Bail-Bondsman work.

  9. Dave J says:

    I do regret that I had the opportunity to take AP Economics and AP Government in high school and didn’t. I imagine most students don’t even have the chance to. I wish I had specialized more–instead of taking the advice of my idiot guidance counselor and trying to be “well-rounded”–but NOT to the absurd extent of “declaring a major” AS A FRESHMAN.

  10. Cindermutha says:

    I’ve got a better idea. Let the more motivated kids start taking classes at the local community college earlier. Then they’ll get a head start that will count with credits. Note that I said ‘motivated’ and not ‘bright’. No point in paying for slackers.

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