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New Plan Lets Top HS Students Graduate 2 Years Early

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the chipping-at-the-prison-wall dept.

Education 425

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that education commissioners in Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont have pledged to sign up 10 to 20 schools each for a pilot project that would allow 10th graders who pass a battery of tests to get a diploma two years early and immediately enroll in community college. The new system of high school coursework with the accompanying board examinations is modeled largely on systems in high-performing nations including Denmark, England, Finland, France and Singapore. 'We've looked at schools all over the world, and if you walk into a high school in the countries that use these board exams, you'll see kids working hard, whether they want to be a carpenter or a brain surgeon.' says Marc S. Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy. Kentucky's commissioner of education, Terry Holliday, says high school graduation requirements have long been based on having students accumulate enough course credits to graduate. 'We've been tied to seat time for 100 years. This would allow an approach based on subject mastery — a system based around move-on-when-ready,' says Holliday. However some school officials are concerned about the social and emotional implications of 16-year-olds going off to college. 'That's far too young to be thrown into an environment with college students who are about 18 to 23 years old. ... Most of them are just not mature enough to handle that,' says Mary Anderson, headmaster of Pinkerton Academy."

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425 comments

Ill placed worries (5, Insightful)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189048)

That's far too young to be thrown into an environment with college students who are about 18 to 23 years old. ... Most of them are just not mature enough to handle that,

Exactly. That's why we're only sending the top students. There will always be outliers who will be able to fit in at a collegeriate level when they're 16. That's the whole point of this program.
Our worry shouldn't be whether or not they can fit in at that level (I know plenty of 16 year olds who have a better head on their shoulders than many college freshmen). Rather, our concern should be whether or not we have an accurate way of determining if a particular student is ready to move on. What we have to ensure is that this program doesn't fall prey to overzealous parents - especially in the "everyone is a winner" mentality that we currently possess in America. I guarantee that if this gets passed there will be an outcry of "my child shouldn't be discriminated against. (S)he should be able to head to college too at this grade!" They're going to have to be ready for that.

Re:Ill placed worries (1, Troll)

Doc, the Weasel (827155) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189236)

I think those that can fit in academically are the least likely to fit in socially.

Re:Ill placed worries (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189762)

some of that maturity aspects people are just going to learn with age and experience, whether they go to college at 12,16,20,24,26, or any other age. Really, trying to pull age discrimination on this is just trying to imply that there is actually something of value in high school that can't be achieved in college.

this just makes a formality something that was already possible. You can take college classes before even having a GED, but they wont' give you a degree without obtaining one. I don't remember the specifics, but that's the basic principle.

Re:Ill placed worries (5, Insightful)

Renraku (518261) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189280)

This will last until some parent decides that their kid is smarter than 'the system' and sues for 'discrimination' against '(social class)'. Where (social class) can be race, disorder, sex, location, criminal record, etc. It'll quickly be axed by the legal department of whatever schools are taking part in it. Even without this, there are still a LOT of parents who call up the teachers and demand better grades for their snowflakes.

Re:Ill placed worries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31189292)

Indeed, some high school students already end up taking community college (or university) classes already.

Re:Ill placed worries (3, Insightful)

Maniacal (12626) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189332)

Agreed. Plus, this is only going to be a problem for the "pioneers" of the program. Colleges only have an abundance of 18 to 23 year olds because of the way the system is structured. If they were to change to this new system colleges are going to be full of 16 to 23 year olds in no time.

Re:Ill placed worries (2, Informative)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189518)

the problem is, the test is not likely to test emotional maturity. They might have the book learnin' but they won't have the lived experience. The teenaged brain is literally missing important parts that aren't fully developed until 19 or 20, mostly having to do with risk assessment and sociality. There's a reason why a 16 yr old is many times more likely to wreck a car than a 19 year old.

Also, I teach some classes in media theory, I recently had a girl in the class who was "super bright" and graduated HS early. She was 17, and she pretty well flunked out.

I completely agree with your fear re: the "Everyone Is A Winner!!!" idiocy so prevalent in the USA. Given the power of money in the USA I am quite certain that rich assholes would buy their kids through the process by dumbing down the test. We can already see that in the stupendously stupid grade values given to students in University.Here, anything over an 80 is in the A range. Fuck. When I was a kid, you had to get better than a 92 to get in the A range. And today, less than a 50 is a fail, in my youth, less than 65 was a fail. Why the softening? Parents who give money to schools want their babies to come out with A's all around...

I think that if this "testing out" of high school is implemented, your worst fears will come true: rich little idiots will end up in university at a young age, and here in university, we'll be passing them along because of the grade inflation.

Argh.

RS

Re:Ill placed worries (4, Insightful)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189640)

the problem is, the test is not likely to test emotional maturity. They might have the book learnin' but they won't have the lived experience. The teenaged brain is literally missing important parts that aren't fully developed until 19 or 20, mostly having to do with risk assessment and sociality. There's a reason why a 16 yr old is many times more likely to wreck a car than a 19 year old.

Nature or nurture? We really have no way of knowing. I suspect that we find 19 year olds becoming adults precisely because we expect that to be the case. Not too long ago, 14 was a marrying age, and I don't recall anyone of that time period thinking that this was odd or 'too much for them to handle'.

Re:Ill placed worries (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189826)

beyond your concept of maturity I can't help but ask: what does this type of maturity have to do with scholastic ability?

I digress but I don't see a link between the two concepts.

Yes, the everyone is a winner thing is bullshit. It's not all over the US, it's specifically prevalent with helicopter parents and seriously religious ones.

Really, the system is good, and it's something that's already possible in the us - this is just kinda like bringing it as a potential to all schools - this is a good thing.

Re:Ill placed worries (5, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189542)

I dunno about that...

I had 33 college credits under my belt (from AP classes & night classes at the local community college) when I finished my sophomore year of high school. But there was no way I was emotionally ready for college. Yes, I could do all the work. Yes, I could force myself to study when I'd rather be playing. Because I'd been in classes with older kids for several years, because I had four older siblings, I think I was pretty mature for my age. But I still wasn't ready.

What there should be are more programs like Simon's Rock of Bard College. A transition program for kids academically ready for college, but not quite there emotionally, psychologically, etc.

One note on this proposal that I find abhorrent -- community college is not the place for these kids to take coursework if they leave high school early. Not that there's anything wrong with community college for a lot of people (I did my time there for money & scheduling reasons)... but the best and brightest should be surrounded by the best and brightest. Let them be challenged by their peers, not held back.

This was a fundamental problem with the trial acceleration program I took part in. Yes, I went to high school for math & science classes as a seventh-grader... but I took those classes with the regular college prep kids, not with the honors college prep kids. This held me back; I learned some bad habits, and I wasn't challenged by the pace of the coursework nor by my peers in the class. Nor did I get the benefit of the best teachers, who taught HCP classes only.

As for your final issue:

I guarantee that if this gets passed there will be an outcry of "my child shouldn't be discriminated against. (S)he should be able to head to college too at this grade!" They're going to have to be ready for that.

That's exactly what happened in my school system. When I was a senior in high school (I couldn't graduate early because of the required 16 quarters of gym class per state law in NJ), my AP classes were filled with sophomores who weren't ready for them. The success of those of us in the trial run led the system to offer early AP classes to all students... they actually made AP classes a requirement for graduation for college prep kids. This killed the quality of those classes... AP Bio, AP English, AP European History were killed by the fact that 90% of the kids in the class didn't have the foundation to learn collegiate level material.

Anyway, I'm rambling. But you're absolutely right that the no-child-allowed-to-excel-if-my-child-doesn't-qualify people are going to cause big problems for these states and districts.

Re:Ill placed worries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31189654)

This killed the quality of those classes... AP Bio, AP English, AP European History were killed by the fact that 90% of the kids in the class didn't have the foundation to learn collegiate level material.

The solution to this is easy, make the AP test 50% of the grade, so people who are unlikely to do well enough to pass the course for college credit (a standardized test in my state at least) are unwilling to take the class and ruin their GPA.

Re:Ill placed worries (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189556)

Nonsense.

The extra 2 years doesn't help anything.

HELL, an extra 6 years doesn't help anything quite often.

The people with talent are having their time wasted due to boredom and those without talent
are also having their talent wasted due to boredom. Artificially extending childhood just
feeds on itself.

Off to college at 16 is not entirely unprecedented.

The cultural failings that cause 16 year old to be children aren't fixed by subjecting them to 2 more years of high school.

Re:Ill placed worries (1)

alop (67204) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189582)

I fit into this category. I was taking summer school at the local community college so that I could take AP classes the follow school year.
In California, we have an exam called the High School equivalency exam. I took this test at 16, and by the time I was 17 I was a college freshman.

On top of that, the school I went to was on the trimester system, so I had a Bachelors of Science by the time I was 20.

My HS classmates at that time were probably in their second year in college by that time.

I would have greatly appreciated having the opportunity to "Walk" with graduating class that year (or what would have been my year), it sounds like this plan would allow over-achievers like myself to have the best of both worlds.

Re:Ill placed worries (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189620)

Exactly. That's why we're only sending the top students. There will always be outliers who will be able to fit in at a collegeriate level when they're 16. That's the whole point of this program.

I think you're confusing intellectual maturity with mental maturity.

Re:Ill placed worries (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189688)

I disagree, I think this is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing. These are kids who clearly are maximizing the investment of tax dollars their community is giving for them to have free education. For whatever reason, you give them a subject to learn, and they learn it. I'd say these kids should be given free education through their undergrad degree, if anything, not booted out to fend for themselves in community colleges (which vary wildly in quality) or sent off to full universities where they will face the usual distraction of sex, drugs, and booze (assuming their parents could afford this to begin with!). These are people we want to invest in, get them to learn as much as they can, as young as they can, because they will be our top academic performers. If that's more Advanced Placement programs, visiting professors, whatever, these people are making good use of what is given.

We should be taking that bottom rung, taking them out of academia at 10th grade, and putting them in trade schools. Raise some technicians, mechanics, carpenters, plumbers, etc. They're clearly not benefiting much from the academics, and they need to be converted to at least self-sufficient producers, rather than have more money thrown at them for something they're really not benefiting from.

Re:Ill placed worries (1)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189696)

However some school officials are concerned that fewer students in school will lead to redundancies in the school staff.

FTFT

A 16 year old who can't handle being in college is either retarded or was reared wrongly. The former wouldn't apply in this situation and the second is unlikely as they have already demonstrated an ability to take matters into their own hands to advance beyond the expectations.

Re:Ill placed worries (1)

kramulous (977841) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189822)

I've taught a second year level mathematics subject where there was this really young kid in it. Sure he may have been a child prodigy but he definitely had a lack of maturity of thought. It was quite apparent.

He was also alienated. Given his 'peers' that is quite an accomplishment. Still, he walked away with one of the top results. Credit where credit is due. But there was nothing spectacular.

Sorry, but I'll always subscribe to the thought that you learn more at school than just the academic stuff.

d'oh (0)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189078)

"yay, we're so damn inept, we can't even serve the students who want to learn.
let's shove them out to clown college so we don't have to pay to edumacte them and they can't make us look stupid."

Re:d'oh (1)

Bruiser80 (1179083) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189144)

think about what the senior year average grade point will look like when the students that could test out already have? Time to re-tool No Child Left Behind! ;-)

Re:d'oh (2, Funny)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189270)

Time to re-tool No Child Left Behind! ;-)

NCLB sure has produced a high quantity of tools, however the vast majority of which are not students.

Re:d'oh (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189710)

Good point, but with a caveat.

The brightest kids who are the most motivated are going to test out early and move on to careers or trade schools. The brightest kids who are motivated for 4-year college are going to stick around for AP classes.

What does that leave in the non-AP class?

An 11th and 12th grade made made up of students who are not the brightest, and/or not the most motivated.

But there will be fewer of them, so class sizes will go down. And they'll have taken the boards at 10th grade and failed, so the specific areas they are failing in will be known. So, for those kids, the school has more opportunity for one-on-one education and more information on where each of the kids in class is failing.

In 11th grade, the non-AP class takes the boards again, some of them pass and graduate. Now what you have left is the kids who really need help, but you also have even LOWER class sizes and trending information on their grades (did Jimmy's extra math class bring his math scores up last year? How can we serve him better as an individual student?).

You'll never graduate every student, but this at least gives kids more opportunity to succeed.

Re:d'oh (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189848)

So what do you suggest we do? Getting gifted students out of high school early and into a college of some sort makes a lot of sense.

"...far too young..." (4, Interesting)

Bruiser80 (1179083) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189094)

They'll only be far to young if they're the only ones. I have a feeling a lot of kids will be able to show the proper aptitude, and I have a feeling that college entrance exams will be re-tooled and remedial courses in college will go up a bit.

Re:"...far too young..." (2, Interesting)

Pete Venkman (1659965) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189390)

Wasn't there an article on here recently about US college freshman being less prepared than in years prior?

Re:"...far too young..." (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189426)

Even then it's generally not a problem. I attended university part time in my junior and senior year through what my state calls the post-secondary enrollment option. It's basically a talented and gifted program on steroids. I had a friend who graduated with their associates two weeks before they got their HS diploma =)

Why go to community college? (4, Insightful)

addikt10 (461932) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189096)

If you are achieving that much at that time in your life, why on earth would you be going to community college? Either make sure that their high schools can challenge them, or get them to a college with an academic environment that will.

A community college does not have that environment.

Re:Why go to community college? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31189192)

Preach on! My school offered a similar program (mid and late 90s), where you didn't "graduate" early, but were sent to the local community college for classes and credits were applied back to your High School - this gave a lot of the students that participated (that I spoke with at least) a pretty negative opinion of the whole advanced education thing.

Re:Why go to community college? (5, Insightful)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189218)

Depends on the community college. There are some that are academically rigorous and serve as the first 2 years of a 4 year college curriculum at a much lower cost. And there are 4 year colleges that are diploma mills.

Don't get caught up in the label.

Re:Why go to community college? (1)

zeldor (180716) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189230)

It actually can.
I did this very thing some 25+ years ago now.
though my highschool was paying for my community college
at the time. The was pre-AP classes and this was their version.

It was a very useful thing to do community college before
I went on to a real university. not for everyone but
it was like a halfway program for higher education.

What's with the e. e. cummings style post? (1, Redundant)

danaris (525051) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189784)

It actually can. I did this very thing some 25+ years ago now. though my highschool was paying for my community college at the time.

And yet you apparently didn't learn how to post online without
putting line
breaks in app
arently random places.

Seriously, dude, what's with that??

Dan Aris

Re:Why go to community college? (1)

subsonic (173806) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189356)

A community college is a strange beast... kind of like vaudeville, its either people moving up and out, or down and out... If you look at is as "college minor leagues" then maybe there is a good point to be made. They will be presented with college-level (or near college-level, depending on your aspirations) classes but still live at home. One of the most valuable aspects in any career is experience, and if you can get more experience than sitting on your butt in high school for two years, that's two years you could be apprenticing or taking core classes that will allow to jump head first into the next step of your studies.

I can see this having a positive effect, as there may just be those "driven underachievers" who would put in the effort just get out of HS early and on with the next thing in their life (hopefully skilled trades). It certainly beats letting kids just drop out.

A community college does not have that environment (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189378)

Depends on the college and the course of study. NVCC is well regarded as a prep school of sorts for GMU, GWU, and UMD. Do your first year or two at a much lower cost than a "real" university.

Re:Why go to community college? (5, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189392)

Community colleges are filled with people who choose to be there. This is an entirely different environment from American high schools, where attendance is compulsory, backed by the full force of truancy laws.

Trying to get everyone a good basic education has its merits, but in some other countries you choose at 16 whether you want to go to college or receive vocational training or leave school altogether. This seems to work out well for everyone.

And as someone who absolutely despised high school, I know I would have done much better mentally and academically, even at the worst community colleges. I doubt any university would have penalized me for attending college courses (even if poor by their standards) before I hit 18.

Re:Why go to community college? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31189424)

Lower-division undergraduate courses are pretty much the same wherever they're taught. There may be lower expectations for community college students, but there's nothing stopping a motivated student from doing work beyond the bare minimum.

Re:Why go to community college? (5, Informative)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189516)

I live in Maine, so this has received some extra coverage here. According to what I'm seeing, this is really targeting the kid who has no interest in going on to a 4-year college, but instead wants to jumpstart their career in a skilled or semi-skilled trade (auto mechanic, plumber, etc).

There's also an additional benefit - it identifies weaknesses in those kids that fail the boards, and part of the plan is to focus on subject areas that specific kids are weak on. So if you did well in English on the boards but flunked Math, they might give you more Math classes in 11th grade and back off on the English classes. The target being a student who is well-rounded enough to pass all segments of the board exam.

In some ways, it divides the kids between those who want to continue on with education, and those who want to get education over with as quickly as possible (for one of many reasons) and get on with a career. It almost turns high school into a 2-year or 4-year option, much like college is today.

Those who want a 4-year+ degree will stay in high school and go on the Advanced Placement track like they do today.

Those who do not can take the board exams in 10th grade and, if they pass, they can go to community college or start their careers, with a valid high school diploma. They can continue on to the 11th and 12th grades if they wish, or if they fail the board exam the areas they failed in can be focused on.

Yes, to a point, this is "teaching to the test", and there are some valid concerns surrounding that. But I'm not entirely convinced it's any worse than "teaching to a grade", and at least those kids that want out and are willing to work hard can get out with a diploma.

Re:Why go to community college? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189746)

Thanks for the insight -- I'm surprised it's targeted at kids who do not likely wish to go on to a traditional 4-year college.

This makes a lot more sense... it's kind of like siphoning off the trade-school kids so they can focus on what will really prepare them for the world of work. Better for them, and better for the students who remain in the AP track.

My only concern is, are kids at 15-16 really able to make that kind of decision that will affect them for the rest of their life? Sure, some are... but I hope they have adequate resources in place to help kids and their parents make that decision.

Re:Why go to community college? (5, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189546)

The only way I mastered calculus was through a CC, I flunked it a couple times at two different engineering schools before taking it with someone who could actually teach at the local CC. Engineers and math people generally can't teach worth a damn, even less so in subjects they don't care about. I really don't see where having smaller class sizes and teachers who actually give a damn is a negative.

Re:Why go to community college? (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189566)

Because they are still minors, and going "away" to college (or any other place really) isn't something easy to do - leases for an apartment, phone service, etc.

Community colleges will let them get the basic courses out of the way, like the English, Art, etc. requirements. They'll end up with an AA degree and can transfer to what you probably consider a "real" school. As a bonus, they won't be minors when that happens, so moving out of the area of their parents will be much easier at that point.

In truth, this is really no different than a dual enrollment program, loading up on AP classes, or the IB program. In fact, here at the CC I work at dual enrollment students graduate with an AA or AS 2 or 3 weeks before they "graduate high school" and get their high school diploma.

Re:Why go to community college? (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189608)

Because the local community college is run under the same governmental entity that runs the high schools, so they can be tooled so that they're A) able and B) willing to accept kids who've had only two years of high school.

Presumably if two-year graduation for those who pass the test becomes the norm, mainstream colleges will begin to accept the graduates as well.

I really wish this had been around when I was in high school. If I'm being charitable, maybe half of my high school classes were something better than a complete waste of my time. Community college is not much better but it is better and much of the coursework transfers to the bachelors' degree program that I'd eventually end up in elsewhere, getting the generic crap out of the way so I could dive straight in to the courses that actually interest me.

Re:Why go to community college? - Simon's Rock (1)

students (763488) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189660)

Some rigorous, 4-year colleges will take 16 year olds as freshmen. The best one is Simon's Rock College [simons-rock.edu] which exists solely for that purpose. One can get a good overview [earlyentrance.org] of other institutions that have related programs.

I went to Simon's Rock for two years and afterwards attended a top-10 ranked university for two years. I think most students who care strongly about academics could benefit from starting college early, and if they went to Simon's Rock they would get better teaching and better peers than at said highly ranked university. (The university is much better in the area of research.)

maturity? (4, Insightful)

AntEater (16627) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189100)

'... Most of them are just not mature enough to handle that,' ...and they never will be as long as we continue to treat them like little children instead of young adults.

Re:maturity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31189278)

Because 18 year olds are really mature enough. The only way to become mature is experience. It doesn't matter much when you start.

Re:maturity? (1)

subsonic (173806) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189436)

This. There is nothing that says kids can't handle bigger concepts or complex situations. I'm not saying we need to scar kids for life, but presenting them with a situation that is daunting but do-able. Even smart kids need to know that they can work hard and survive a little on their own.

Plus, its stupid to think that once one is out of high school that they are thrust out into the wild. This isn't a vision quest, its freaking community college!

Re:maturity? (4, Interesting)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189740)

I used to work at a college. You would be scared to meet the parents of the kids enrolling there. you'd think little johnny was 12, not 19. Hell, most 18 year olds aren't mature enough, but you know what, eventually, they become that way, or they drop out. Not everybody gets to be an astronaut when they grow up (I say as I look at my demotivational poster)

I started college at 16 part time, found things like WRI121 incredibly easy, compared to AP English, which would have gotten me the same credits.. In fact, by the time I graduated high school, I had enough credits to get to other schools Transfer requirements, which are often much different than admissions requirements.

But damn. At 17, my grandpa and his buddies lied about their ages so they could fight in a war. And now, we can't have kids in classes with people a few years older then them? Boy do I feel alot older than I am.. I'm starting to sound like my Grandpa.

Re:maturity? (2, Insightful)

wramsdel (463149) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189774)

I absolutely agree. It's probably going to sound curmudgeonly, but there's been a huge shift in the U.S. from guiding behavior to controlling environment. This is great...until the environment is no longer controlled. As soon as that happens, a child whose environment has been meticulously managed from birth suddenly finds her/himself completely unable to cope. Blech. My kid's only one, but my philosophy even now is to help him understand himself, characterize his environment, and act accordingly. It means letting him fail sometimes, because he chose wrongly, but it also means that he's much more in control when confronted with a new situation. I find it far less stressful for both of us.

13th grade (1)

UndyingShadow (867720) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189110)

"However some school officials are concerned about the social and emotional implications of 16-year-olds going off to college." Community college is like 13th grade. If they're mature enough to work to graduate 2 years early, they'll be fine.

Hard working != Mature (1)

coniferous (1058330) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189172)

It's really great seeing incentives for students to work hard. when I was in high school I knew the rewards were not nearly worth the effort to acheive them... So apathy took over. HOWEVER. Hard working does not alyways equate to maturity. Its the same as intelligence, smart guys can still be assholes at times. I'm interested to see how this turns out.

Another trial balloon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31189196)

This is more likely just a more sophisticated "trial balloon" which will allow goverments to cut thier education budgets.

http://newsroom.blogs.cnn.com/2010/02/16/should-we-get-rid-of-senior-year/

The idea DOES have some merit and it worth exploring, but remember to "follow the money..."

Re:Another trial balloon (1)

Bruiser80 (1179083) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189238)

You mean how my state's governor promised college educations to all of the public school students who maintained a B average? Yeah, and they just reneged.

"Hey Mr. Scott, what you gonna do? What you gonna do to make our dreams come true?"

lol

How about wait 2 years to go to College anyway? (1)

The Yuckinator (898499) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189208)

Why not set up some sort of apprentice system for the student who excels, yet is too socially inept or immature for College? Let them enter the workforce for a couple of years before they move on in school. I know it sounds crazy, but maybe offer a tax incentive for small businesses to take on these students, or maybe subsidize their wages. I'm sure there are many ways to encourage the idea.

IMO the real benefit would be from having the students experience the drudgery of the low level, "real" job and hopefully encourage them to take College that much more seriously once they get there.

What's the hurry? (1)

Radtastic (671622) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189220)

I'm not saying advancing more gifted students is a bad thing, but what's the rush? Will it really matter in 20 years if they graduated at 16 or 18 years old?

Part of life (and particularly school) is learning social skills and maturing.

Frankly, I want my children to grow into rounded, self confident individuals in addition to learning how to apply themselves and succeed.

Re:What's the hurry? (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189458)

The rush is the schools are looking desperately for any way at all to cut their budget.

Re:What's the hurry? (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189572)

No, 20 years down the road it won't likely make a huge difference in their lives, as far as what year they graduated, be it from high school or from college. However, what would the effect be now, and over the next 5 years.

I like to think of myself as smart. I took the advanced courses in high school, all the sciences, etc. I did very well in subjects that interested me, and above average in the rest. I'd like to think I would have been eligible for this type of program.

So high school went well, at least on paper. For me however, it was incredibly boring. Very few classes challenged me at all. The best classes were ones like physics where I spent most of my time helping the two girls behind me get through the work (the teacher was more than happy to let me help them out). All in all though, I did not enjoy school because I was bored. When I graduated, the last thing I wanted to do was to keep going, but I took my first year because I could do it in my home town.

After that year, I was done. I took a year off because I really hated "education". When I did go back, I didn't put in the effort I should have. I fell from all As to Bs and Cs. I didn't even care that much. After three years, I was offered some temporary work consulting, which turned into a year, then two, and as you could expect, I never went back. So I didn't get my degree. It hasn't really hurt my career at all. I'm in a senior tech position, making a very good salary.

However, had I been able to skip two years of high school, and jump right into more advanced work where I was being challenged, I likely would have finished my degree and had that paper now.

Re:What's the hurry? (1)

profplump (309017) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189760)

Replace "school" with "work-release imprisonment" and you'll understand why it's absurd to lock up high-achieving students for 2 more years. You sure wouldn't say "They've already been in prison for 10 years -- what difference does it make if we let them out now or tack on a couple more years to their sentence?".

It's not like they're doing something useful those last 2 years of school, they're just required by law to attend and to put up with whatever crap gets thrown at them, while forgoing opportunities to make money or continue their education.

And how would moving on to higher eduction, or into the work force, not also allow them to develop social skills and mature? Does socialization stop once you leave high school? Is high school some magical environment that allows "proper" maturation?

High School students act like High School students (1)

bigpat (158134) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189222)

However some school officials are concerned about the social and emotional implications of 16-year-olds going off to college. 'That's far too young to be thrown into an environment with college students who are about 18 to 23 years old. ... Most of them are just not mature enough to handle that,' says Mary Anderson, headmaster of Pinkerton Academy.

Are you saying Americans are immature? Kids in other countries seem to handle this okay.

Maybe if you didn't keep 16 year olds stuck in high school when they are ready for college level or trade study then they wouldn't act like such high school students.

Re:High School students act like High School stude (1)

patchmonster (1715046) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189548)

I can offer an anecdote here. Through some loopholes in homeschooling graduation requirements I got into my local community college at 16. Before long, I couldn't stand to be friends with most high schoolers. This whole high school mentality perpetuates itself (see: other countries).

Thrown? (4, Insightful)

McNally (105243) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189228)

Quoted in the write-up:

"That's far too young to be thrown into an environment with college students who are about 18 to 23 years old."

Nobody's talking about "throwing" anybody who isn't ready, just about making it an option for students who are. Options are good, no?

This isn't new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31189248)

You can opt for "dual-enrollment" at most high schools which allows students to earn credit at the local community college.

The real problem is with long summer breaks. School needs to be year round (not just space out the two months for summer) with small week long breaks. You can easily have everyone graduate 2 years earlier and the smart kids graduating 4 years earlier.

Not too bad (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189254)

I think the fears about the kids at college are a bit unfounded. Due to being at the tail end of the cutoff date for starting my grade (which at the time was Nov 1 - I was born October 11), I ended up graduating high school normally, as well as starting college at 17. I know several other students who opted to take summer school classes to skip the 11th grade and graduate a year early. Me nor any of them that went to college had any issues.

The reality is most 16 year olds who are mature enough to handle this, are mature enough to handle the social situations of college. Yes, like most college students they'll probably hit up some parties and such, but the reality is most high school students are already doing that anyways.

Good option to have, but... (1)

phormalitize (1748504) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189266)

I hope that people don't start pushing kids into this option too hard - there are a lot of benefits to waiting until you are a little older to start college. I hated high school and couldn't wait to get to college, but in retrospect I'm definitely glad I followed the standard path. College can be the turning point for a lot of kids who have trouble socially in high school, where they're able to make connections and feel comfortable in lots of settings. I don't know if that would be nearly as easy if you were set too far apart by your age.

What's new here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31189268)

What about students who make terrible grades, drop out in tenth grade and obtain their GEDs? Last time I checked the GED gets you into community college just as easily as a real diploma. What have they actually accomplished here?

This is an alternative to fixing high school (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31189274)

One of the main problems we have in our k-12 system compared to others is we try to put everyone into a "1 size fits all" school. What we should do is have schools that specialize. Allow the schools to put into place entrance exams -- like our college system. This is just a lame attempt to evade the problem by getting kids out of school sooner. Better to focus on the problem itself, as that will help far more people and won't require the colleges to lower their standards even further. (College today is comparable to high school 50 years ago.)

Let's See... (1)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189284)

In our small rural school the population of kids declined by 10% this year (but the school taxes went up 5%) and is projected to decline another 5% next year. And the taxes are going up another 3%.

So with *this* plan - kicking the kids out of high school two years early - I guess I can plan on my taxes going up another 20-30%?!?!?!

And then in another eight or so years there will be *no* students due to our aging population, and the fact that fucking school taxes are so high nobody younger that 50 could *afford* to live here.

I'm sure the School Board Bloodsuckers will increase our taxes 100% to pay for a school system with no students.

California had that 30 years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31189296)

It's called a GED.

I could have tested out and gone to community college. I knew a few people that did exactly that.

Thing was (and maybe still is) that a GED carried a certain stigma. My perception at the time was that it was better to stick it out in high school and get my diploma.

Society can't make up it's mind (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189302)

Do we want to extend childhood into a person's 30s and have them live at home as we're seeing a lot of people do? Do we want teenagers with little more maturity than 10 year olds? Let's increase the drinking, driving and voting age, because they can't handle it.

Or do we want to cut short a kid's childhood so that they start working at 15? Send them to the salt mines young so they can learn their trade early! Never mind the ones that can't handle it and end up depressed or suicidal. Never mind that you've robbed them of the chance to just be kids while they can be. From what I understand you've got enough trouble keeping your kids from coming to school armed.

Society is messed up, doesn't know what it expects from children, or even where childhood ends. Then people wonder why kids play up and go wild. They've got no clue what's expected of them.

What's wrong with the middle ground of letting a child have their childhood but not letting it extend into their 20s and 30s? If a child has special needs because they're particularly mature or particularly developed give them that option, but don't make it the norm.

So here's what happens (1)

TrippTDF (513419) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189314)

Basically, this means the public schools get out of having to pay for educating their top students two years early, while the stuents are then expected to rack on an additional two years of community college debt, before undergrad programs start to take them.

Or, the kids somehow jump straight to a four year school and then find themselves SOL when no employer wants to hire 20 year olds.

Re:So here's what happens (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189690)

> Basically, this means the public schools get out of having to pay for educating their top students two years early

That sounds about right because the public schools aren't teaching them anything at that point anyways.

The kids are just "doing time" until they can finally be released for college.

Chicken or Egg? (2, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189334)

That's far too young to be thrown into an environment with college students who are about 18 to 23 years old

(1) you require college students to have a HS diploma,
(2) you're requiring students (generally) to complete 12 years of education, and
(3) you don't let them start until they're between 5 and 6

It's not much of a stretch to realize that you're not going to find many 16 year olds in college.

That said, there is still a lot of maturing to do for most 16 year olds. Even a lot of 18 year olds are pretty slim on the maturity front. I'll be honest, I'm not sure how comfortable I'd be sending my 16 year old off to college somewhere. A local CC, though, wouldn't be a big deal.

It's all about individual cases (1, Interesting)

ghack (454608) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189348)

I went to the University of New Mexico at 14. Graduated at 19, Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in engineering. Masters from Purdue at 21. I'm now 23 and a semester away from my Ph.D.

Believe it or not, I am extremely social!

My girlfriend, who is a foreign national, started her University studies at 16.

It is all about individual cases. Great to see more flexibility in the educational system.

It's a cost-cutting measure. (0, Flamebait)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189350)

The real purpose of this is to cut education costs by only providing 10 years of free public education, instead of 12. Schools can dump all the expensive advanced placement courses. This also helps keep poor kids from moving up in society, by diverting them off to some low-end community college, instead of bringing them to the point where they can compete for entrance to a good school. Rich kids in private schools will have an even bigger edge than they have now.

The next step will be to divert the kids who don't make the cut into "work experience" programs, i.e. McDonalds.

Re:It's a cost-cutting measure. (1)

RealErmine (621439) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189552)

The real purpose of this is to cut education costs by only providing 10 years of free public education, instead of 12. Schools can dump all the expensive advanced placement courses. This also helps keep poor kids from moving up in society, by diverting them off to some low-end community college, instead of bringing them to the point where they can compete for entrance to a good school. Rich kids in private schools will have an even bigger edge than they have now.

The next step will be to divert the kids who don't make the cut into "work experience" programs, i.e. McDonalds.

What's stopping a kid who goes to community college 2 years early from transferring to a public university? I would think that would get them a lot of credit toward their acceptance.

Easier Solution (1)

Nautical Insanity (1190003) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189362)

I suppose this is an easier solution than improving high schools so that they are able to educate rather than detain our brightest students.

I have nothing against this. If it works, do it. But it highlights what I think is a fundamental problem with the American education system: we try to give everyone the same education in the same place. You can't give the brightest what they need if you're too busy trying to regroup the stragglers.

Poppycock! (2, Interesting)

Ian Alexander (997430) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189366)

'That's far too young to be thrown into an environment with college students who are about 18 to 23 years old. ... Most of them are just not mature enough to handle that,' says Mary Anderson, headmaster of Pinkerton Academy."

Speaking as a 19-year old who is attending a community college with a high enrolment of under-18's (via the Running Start [k12.wa.us] program) I can say with full confidence that a lot of them are quite capable of handling it. They tend to place into the same classes as most freshmen anyways, they do about as well, and most of them adjust quite easily to the community college culture.

CC is easy stuff, not much harder than high school in the first place. I think this is a great move - it's at least worth a try.

Re:Poppycock! (1)

nickersonm (1646933) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189482)

I second this. Running start was an excellent program, and enabled me to get an AA at the same time as my HS diploma. CC classes of my own choosing were also far more interesting than HS drudgery.

In Boston there was a couple of similar program (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189402)

There was two similar programs in Boston (in the late 70s, early 80s.)

I can't recall the name of the programs. The first would allow a high school senior
to spend their entire year as a freshman in college, and it would count both as their
freshman year in college and senior year in high school.

Another was the open campus program, it would allow a senior (I did it both senior and junior years) to take college courses as a regular student
and receive credit in both high school and college. The student still was required to attend classes in high school.

I did this in California (1)

Dice (109560) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189414)

In California we have the CHSPE [chspe.net], which is a High School proficiency exam you can take once you're 16. I took it and left HS two years early, went on to a community college then a 4 year and got my degree. For me it was a great option since I was essentially just twiddling my thumbs in HS.

Bad idea (0, Troll)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189450)

Are we really doing kids a favor by asking them to grow up that much sooner? Because 35+ years of having to work every day isn't enough lets add another 2 years on top of that. There's more to life than working, and for 99% of the people school is just preparing you to work.

We've been able to do that in Maryland for awhile (1)

alispguru (72689) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189502)

If you're a homeschooler, and you're 16 or older, and you can pass the placement exam (math and english) at the community college at the college level, you can become a "concurrent enrollment" student and take classes for transferrable college credit.

Has Already Been In Place in Washington (1)

michaelmanus (1529735) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189522)

In washington, there is a state wide 'running start' program which allows junior and senior high school students enroll and complete coursework in a community college and only at the community college and cast those credits back down to be accepted for high school. Running start students don't have to spend any time in the high school at all.

I went through this program both my junior and senior year and was able to get an Associate (2 year) degree as i graduated with a high school diploma in 2004.
It's a wonderful program... The last two years of high school is just ridiculous anyway. I didn't fit in, and i don't think a lot of kids do.

I was much happier at the community college where learning was the goal than at the high school where it really didn't seem that way.

the older the dumber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31189526)

really this needs to go all the way down to elementary and they need to suck down info as fast as they can absorb it. educated students are to held back by the current system where they may already know basic math and how to read and so spend the first 6 or 7 years of their school lives learning absolutely nothing. also our ability to learn deteriorates rapidly as we age so one relies more on acquired wisdom as opposed to reasoning skills, so the more wisdom acquired the earlier the better.

Been doing that in WA for a long time (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189528)

The entire state has a program called Running Start where you can take a test your junior year and if you pass the school district pays your tuition for the local community college. I went to the college full time, never took another class from the HS, and had my college graduation for my AA the day before the HS graduation. Only thing public schools ever did for me besides waste my time.

Re:Been doing that in WA for a long time (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189578)

The best part of it all was I got a job on campus as a math tutor. So here I was when i was 17ish teaching Calculus to a bunch of idiots 10 years my senior. It was funny when the girls asked me out only to find out I was way younger than they, that happened frequently.

16 year olds not mature enough? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31189536)

16-year-olds will become mature when they have more responsibilities. It's time we stop dumbing ourselves down.

For vocational schools (1)

blastum (772029) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189540)

I wrote to ask the author what this would do to, say, having four years of english, four years of science, four years of math, etc. The impression I get is that this is designed for people wanting to go on to vocational schools.

Similar program in Washington (1)

gontech (994373) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189584)

UW Academy [washington.edu]. They didn't give us high school diplomas, but once you have a bachelors, who cares if you graduated from high school? (Also, the continued success of the program is proof that at least some 16 year olds can handle themselves in a university setting)

Pennsylvania should know (2, Funny)

RemoWilliams84 (1348761) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189604)

Pennsylvania should know if they are ready to move on to college based on the live webcam feeds they have of the students.

This should be how all schools work (2, Informative)

aztektum (170569) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189680)

If a student is performing well, give them higher level content. This "everyone is the same because we say so" and keeping a linear structure to learning for all is asinine.

Yeah we know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31189730)

This exists already. I did it. It's called Dual Enrollment. You don't have to take a battery of tests. You just need a 3.0+ GPA, a willing parent, a car, and to pass a very minimalistic test to get into the college. Not everyone is cut out for it those, most kids just want to skip school. But the diehard nerds are in Calc III and Diff. Eq. by the time they're 17 and look at me now: Grad school for structural engineering at 20. Good program, just gotta get the lazy ones booted out so it doesn't look bad. I ha

I've got another plan that lets you graduate early (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189750)

It's called a GED. Unless you are trying to get into law school or medical school right out of high school, a GED is all that you need.

"Move on when ready"? (1)

yankpop (931224) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189794)

We used to have a move-on-when-ready system, only the other way around. If you weren't ready to move on, you would fail and repeat the course/year/whatever. Strange to see this same concept offered as a revolutionary new approach for top students. Maybe it wouldn't be necessary to do this if the less capable students were forced to master a topic before moving on. How many of these apparently super-bright tenth graders are really just good students surrounded by kids that haven't been forced to perform for fear of damaging their self-esteem?

yp.

agreed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31189816)

Agreed with the headmaster. I went to university at 16 and stuck out like a sore thumb. Social effects? the one guy in rez who cant go to the bar until 3rd year, so very few friends for 3 years, and none in the "popular" crowd. Not even fucking worth it.

Maturity (1)

Krittick (1740572) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189840)

I skipped my senior year of high school to attend The Clarkson School [clarkson.edu], a program that basically combines year 12 with freshman year in college, and the maturity issue was extremely apparent, in hindsight. Although, interacting with those of an older age was extremely beneficial in providing a "quick start" to collegiate learning and young adult development.

Drop out (5, Interesting)

BDZ (632292) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189850)

I like the idea of this program.

I hated HS and would have done anything to get out early.

In the end, as there was no early out, I simply dropped out of HS entirely. A bit thereafter I took the insanely easy GED exam, got my paper and started at my local community college in what would have been my senior year in HS.

I don't regret that decision. Never have. And once you have your BS/BA no one cares about your HS history.

Huzzah! (1)

Jawn98685 (687784) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189876)

"...we have been tied to seat time for 100 years..."
Amen.
My niece lives in Washington and was able to take advantage of this program. She graduated from Washington State University last year, at the age of 20. That she is a hard worker goes almost without saying, but I see nothing but good about rewarding that hard work with the huge head start she got in the pursuit of her baccalaureate.

Been there, done that (1)

medeii (472309) | more than 3 years ago | (#31189878)

Running Start [k12.wa.us]

Similar program in Washington state, has been around for 20 years now. Students can enroll full-time in college and fully skip the last two years of high school if they meet the admissions criteria (though you don't get your diploma until the end of your 12th year.) This gets them an Associates in Arts and Sciences, which is immediately transferable to any Washington 4-year public university, and is guaranteed by law to fulfill their basic education (e.g. non-major) classes at that university. Alternatively, they can go part-time and simply transfer the credits, though not all are guaranteed to correspond to basic ed requirements.

Incidentally, I did the former, starting at 14. The administrator in TFA who thinks maturity is a problem for anyone who wants to do this program, though, needs to get a clue. While I'm well aware that the plural of anecdote is not data, it was an amazing program that beat the pants off the "high school experience." People at community colleges generally want to be there, and the elevated age levels mean that you're surrounded by people with experience that you can learn from.

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