Move On Only When Ready — by John Reed

Move On Only When Ready
Last week I laid out some reasons why colleges don’t seem to value the time students spend in high school. Let’s now look at why kids should spend a full four years in high school and cherish every moment.
First, an uncomfortable truth: not every student is college material. Many who have no business going to a university are pushed by teachers, parents, guidance councilors, and college types into taking advanced placement or college bound classes. Then they get encouraged to “move on when ready” even when they’re not.
Many students we send on to college wind up flunking out, with no backup plan. These kids would have been better served to take four years of high school vocational classes, learning a trade to become successfull. Instead they’re branded a failure and don’t always succeed in finding their way to becoming useful citizens.
Beyond the academics of high school, there are the other activities that play their part in helping kids grow up. Leadership and teamwork aren’t taught in a classroom; they’re more likely learned on the football field, the band room, the club meeting. I’ve yet to see a “move on when ready” class that offers character-building skills.
Those skills are often the most important ones a kid needs when he or she leaves home for the first time to live in their own at college. Many who fail do so not because they couldn’t handle the classwork, but because they didn’t have the maturity and self-discipline to do what needed to be done.
I’d like to offer an alternative…take the best of high school and the best of “post-secondary” education and make them available to students who have the ambition to look ahead. Many careers require training and certification from a tech school; partnering with corporations could fine-tune that training. Others might benefit from a specific professor’s mentorship via distance learning.
The century-and-a-half-old model of the first 12 years education is being challenged like never before. One thing that hasn’t changed is the time kids need to mature before they’re ready to move on.

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