In today’s Herald, Chelsea Kellner wrote a nice story on Chatham Central High School and how students can go from being a sophomore to a junior, or a junior to a senior in mid-year if they work toward extra credits.
We’ve done stories in the past as well on Lee Early College, a school for students who want to focus on a particular field and earn college credits and a high school diploma all at once.
We’ve also done stories on home schooling, and we’ve done stories on GED programs.
I understand the purpose of it all — to keep students from dropping out, to keep their interest and to help them toward a life where they can succeed after school.
I get it, and I appreciate it.
That doesn’t mean I like it. Then again, I’m sort of old-fashioned in that way.
I think all of these new programs and schools are tearing at one of the greatest parts of being a teenager in the United States — the high school experience. I know it’s not for everybody, and by no means do I think those four years should be “High School Musical” over and over again.
I wasn’t what you’d consider “popular” in high school. I went to a small school surrounded by cow pastures and farms in northeast Texas, but even there, I had a great time. I experienced the ups and downs of dating girls, developing friendships, getting a sense of humor, learning lessons through sports and extra-curricular activities like mock trial and the Science Fair.
And, oh yeah, I learned a thing or two in class as well.
I hear news reports that we’re falling behind other countries when it comes to schooling. Schools in the far east go year-round, and there’s a lot of pressure on these students to succeed. I understand in the world market, it’s important that we’re churning out bright young students to compete globally.
But I’m not a “big picture” kind of guy. I like to look at life on an individual basis.
I’m not an MIT grad who’s developing the next great math formula. Instead, I’m doing a job I love after learning skills in a high school and college that I loved being a part of.
1990 (my freshman year of high school) through 1998 (my fourth year of college … uhm, I went longer) were my “growing up” years.
To me, they wouldn’t have been the same had I skipped out on the social part of high school and went straight into developing my “trade” in college. I had to grow, and I had to develop my own sense of responsibility, rather than have a school system impose it on me.
I’m not everybody, though, and obviously, this doens’t work for everybody.
I’m just worried that we’re de-emphasizing the social skills we learn along the way. Who wants a country full of robot drones?