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Do you think high schools are broken?

Red Memories

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There's been a few debates discussing how backwards the US school system is, especially on a lower level, so I thought this may be a good discussion.

1. What are some key problems you see with the public and/or private education system in the US?

2. Do you have any fix ideas?

3. Did you feel prepared for college coming out of high school?

4. What do you think would better prepare people for college and ultimately a career?

My state is one of the worst states for education and many people here skip college. One of my research papers in college was actually on the issue of how the way the current high school system works does not well prepare many of the students for college. I found some outside of Idaho students as well who faced similar examples. I noticed a few things within my studies as well.

1. People who were more well to-do got better opportunities for AP courses and concurrent enrollment. The majority of these people were white females.

2. Minorities faced more difficulties than the average person. The majority of these were African American and Hispanic males. I also noticed Indian and Middle Eastern females as correlated.

This was from my campus sample, of course. Other places may be different. You are totally welcome to discuss your own experiences as examples as well.
 

RadicalDoubt

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1. What are some key problems you see with the public and/or private education system in the US?
There's a lot of issues that need to be addressed, but frankly I think the lack of education uniformity is one of the most pressing. Depending on where you live, especially as it relates to the income of your area, education quality can vary drastically. This makes it difficult for anyone who needs to move during the progress of their schooling and also limits the potential of those stuck in poor schooling (and often low income or minority filled) areas. On average, it is statistically noted that American students tend to have poorer education statistics than other modernized/similar countries. I am unsure if this is related to the variance in education or is just a general thing. Similarly to what you mentioned, certain opportunities are missing from low income areas such as APs or college prep.

I also think there is a lack of practical skills training like how to do your taxes or how to understand like... "Adult things" like interest rates and whatnot, which makes it especially difficult for children who's parents are either unpresent, unknowledgeable, or poor at teaching to acquire these skills and more likely to fail when allowed to go out into the world.

Something probably needs to be done about bullying and harassment rates as well, but I'm not sure that can be solved on an institutional level.

2. Do you have any fix ideas?
I don't think schooling will ever be fully uniform and some variance in program types is probably desirable to some degree, but I think there does have to be some standard baseline for education that is followed throughout the country rather than education platforms being decided on a state to state basis. I am somewhat unsure how to ensure a more equalized or "by necessity" funding to schools though? If integrated in the wrong fashion, I imagine it would be highly limiting, I'm no economist so I'm not going to pretend I have even close to a reasonable idea for a solution.

Practical skills could be added as small/half hour classes. A lot of my "practical skills classes" I received during middle school, so very little relevant information was retained. A lot of students have spacing in their schedules during their senior year (at least in my old high school) because a lot of the "mandatory extra classes" (ie. outside of the four core subjects) have already been taken, so it may be more useful to remove them from, for example, middle school education and then push them as a senior year requirement. It would probably be useful if it was like a semester thing or an every other day class.

Also I'm just referencing my school; I know other schools have a better practical component then my own, despite me coming from a pretty well ranked (public) high school in my state

3. Did you feel prepared for college coming out of high school?
Yes but again, I come from a somewhat privileged, very white area and I got to my senior year before funding became drastically cut due to social and constructional scandals for my school. My brother is within the school district and I would no longer consider the area greatly privileged...

4. What do you think would better prepare people for college and ultimately a career?
I don't think you necessarily need college for a good and well paying career (or rather... That you should. I think a lot of subjects that now require full on degree programs really don't need that and further push wage based opportunity divide, but that's another rant not for here haha). I don't think college should be pushed more than careers that don't necessarily require that, I have noted a lacking opportunity to be exposed to careers not requiring college especially in my area. It might be good for there to exist more opportunity and advertisement for internship programs for the summers and such, especially if the school cannot supplement with things like APs or college prep courses. Mentioned again, "Life preparation classes."
 

theablekingedgar

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school curriculums have been BS for decades. They should get actual kids and parents to help formulate curricula, and upgrade it every five years to a decade as society's needs change.
 

Tellenbach

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1. What are some key problems you see with the public and/or private education system in the US?

Schools teach kids what is acceptable to think instead of how to think. It's indoctrination vs critical thinking. That's a huge problem because all the sucky nations on the planet got that way by putting restraints on their citizens. People can't reach their full potential if they're limited in what they're allowed to think.

2. Do you have any fix ideas?

You need to get rid of the rigid ideologues that run the schools, especially the public schools. School unions are dominated by ideologues who don't give a shit about education or children. The only way out is to homeschool, save up for a private school, or move to where there is a good charter school.

3. Did you feel prepared for college coming out of high school?

Yes, but there needs to be alternatives to college like trade schools and financial education at the K-12 level.

4. What do you think would better prepare people for college and ultimately a career?

We need schools that help kids find their niche - an education that caters to an individual's strengths and interests. Ideally, schools should ask kids what they'd like to do and what makes them happy and then put them on a track that'll help them make their dreams a reality.
 

Siúil a Rúin

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Most high schools start too early in the morning. There is research that shows teenagers need more sleep and starting classes before 9:00am can actually cause physiologically based clinical depression in both the short and long term for life. I would also recommend more project oriented curriculums in place of memorization especially nowadays when it is easy to look up facts. I also think that sports and arts are especially important for teenagers to learn to regulate their bodies and emotions.
 

ceecee

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Most high schools start too early in the morning. There is research that shows teenagers need more sleep and starting classes before 9:00am can actually cause physiologically based clinical depression in both the short and long term for life. I would also recommend more project oriented curriculums in place of memorization especially nowadays when it is easy to look up facts. I also think that sports and arts are especially important for teenagers to learn to regulate their bodies and emotions.

In the only functioning state with an outstanding education system that I've actually observed, they start school at 9. They also don't start school until age 7 but that's a whole other conversation.
 

Siúil a Rúin

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In the only functioning state with an outstanding education system that I've actually observed, they start school at 9. They also don't start school until age 7 but that's a whole other conversation.
I should try to find the research on this, but we had a long discussion about it in an Intro to Psychology class where the professor was talking about this issue.
 

Jaq

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Yes. A lot of it is pointless and there's concerns about social bullying, etc. Plus, AP classes are not accepted at every university, so all that studying you might have done would have been for naught. One of the few classes in high school I think would make sense are foreign language courses (No, Not Latin.) French, Spanish, and German would be benefical for someone to start learning earlier than later. We live in the 21st century, knowing another language even if just at a basic level should be required to be a citizen.
 

The Cat

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No, it's working exactly as designed. More grist for the mill.
We're all just another brick in the wall.
 

Mole

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High schools are special institutions with specially trained staff to teach an unnatural skill: literacy

High schools are free, secular, and compulsory.

Meanwhile we are all learning to use the telephone, the television, the radio, our computers and the net, naturally at home, without going to a special institution with specially trained staff.

So we have the compulsory learning of literacy, and the free learning of the net.
 

GoggleGirl17

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My opinion is that many teachers are more concerned about instilling discipline and pretending to be psychiatrists than they are about helping students grow (the latter is especially true in primary education, which I have my own set of qualms about). They lack passion, and many of them just want to be glorified babysitters, or they treat teaching as a gig. I do not believe having a degree makes somebody a teacher at heart. A teacher who only knows how to relay information by applying some "expert" teaching methods that their program taught them to follow might as well have Siri do their job. What's needed are teachers who are perceptive and will adapt to the students, and who know how to engage them in a way that isn't forced, which ultimately stems from a sense of discernment and empathy.

It's not just the teachers' faults. Teachers require an education system which enables them to be more effective by giving them the freedom to teach how they want to teach. This is the biggest complaint I hear from teachers who really are passionate about teaching. Nobody's education experience ends up being the same anyway--you can't standardize it, so stop trying so hard to. Middle and high schools should also have a class registration process like college. Curriculums need to be more customizable. Students would be more motivated to learn, they will retain concepts better long-term, and they won't feel like a failure for not being what the education system and society is pressuring them to be, and so they develop a more solid sense of self-efficacy and self-worth.

If certain minority groups are not performing as well, to me this indicates that these individuals hold certain beliefs about themselves which create a self-fulfilling prophecy; thinking they are less capable, undeserving, and/or out of place in their environment. Making changes in the direction I discussed would even help address this. Having teachers who show genuine interest in what the students think, rather than just tell them what to think, is equally important.
 

Tellenbach

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Schools should arrange meetings with successful CEOs like Elon Musk and have students follow him around for a day.
 

Pikaqiu

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I agree, a lot of the time because there aren't many new innovations for the education system, the system would always be, "If that works, then let's not change it" The problem is that they can actually have proof that their system works by showing their best students achieving great heights, but not showing how many students that suffered because of this perpetuating system to create robots.

I do agree that the subjects are important, but the style of teaching is becoming more and more rigid and not evolving to the current needs.
 
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