Three Year High School?

In U.S. News & World Report I propose an idea to finance pre-K education for four-year olds, give high school students more options in their final year, and help with equity. Sound too good to be true? It might be, but let’s debate it and other ideas:

What we think of as the core of high school could be accomplished in three years. (You don’t want to dwell too much on how much time young people waste in school.) Doing so offers one way to help address the equity concerns with forcing students to choose between vocational or academic paths early in their lives – a three-year approach can help delay that decision until students are at least a little older. The added benefit of getting kids off to a stronger start early on their educational path will obviously help, too.

The federal government shouldn’t mandate any of this, but it can be an investor to help with the substantial transition costs for states that choose to go big, as this approach is not cost-neutral. Providing real paths and supports for 17- and 18-year-olds will cost money, even if some of those paths are financed from nonpublic sources and parents. Given the problems we have today, there is a clear case that federal resources here are in the national interest. Opening up the senior year like this also doesn’t interfere with other ongoing reforming efforts – including policies to foster greater choice in education and make college more financially accessible for Americans. Rather, it compliments them.

You can read the entire idea here. Tweet me @arotherham about all the ways you wasted time your senior year of high school. And if you like the senior year just how it is, don’t hold back with your financing suggestions for better educational access for four-year-olds.

Posted on Jun 15, 2017 @ 8:22am

One thought on “Three Year High School?

  1. sandy kress

    To my Third Way friend, Andy Rotherham: there is a third choice to the wasted fourth year and the eliminated fourth year. It would be a well constructed fourth year that is designed both consistent with college and career readiness expectations and attention to the specific needs of each rising senior. A very small percentage of juniors today are ready for post-secondary. Why isn’t the better solution a reconstruction of secondary education with a key place for a useful fourth year rather than either tossing youngsters out early or creating some new, unanchored post-HS thing?

    The current problem cries out for a restructure of the whole secondary institution, not a new little add on year’s experience, in my view.

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