Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Five Year High School

Most of us attended a four year high school that started in September and ended in June. There are various high school formats. For example, two of my cousins attended a year-around high school that included six weeks of summer, two weeks of winter, and two weeks of spring vacations. In Japan, I believe the start of the new year is in April. Students get one month vacation in July, November, and March.

Times have changed. Life has changed. There is more to learn and know. Expectations and requirements are more challenging. Life today is more complex 20 years ago.

It’s time to change the high school format. I suggest we have a five year high school. Let’s spread out the graduation requirements. The five year high school format allows students the option to work part time and take fewer classes per semester. Working part time is great experience. College bound students have experienced more stress than their parents’ generation because of higher college expectations. There is no ironclad rule a students must attend college immediately after high school. Students need an extra year to prepare themselves to live on their own. School districts can revise the curriculum adding more updated classes and removing outdated classes.

Part of high school life is just being a young teen exploring and making mistakes. There are important life lessons outside the classroom that can’t be taught from a textbook. Sports are important, too. Give students extra time outside classes for sports. Give students time outside classes to have a social life. Give students time outside classes to pursue new hobbies and interests. There is no need to rush success. It’s ironic a common life lesson is be patient . . . haste makes waste. Yet, high school students still have only four years to graduate.

And colleges, you should allow five year high school students to apply. I’m confident they’re more prepared to handle college than four year students.

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