Handful of High School Curriculum Changes

·  Work Practicum. Read and follow instructions. Operate cash registers and/or use of tools. Based on retail and manual work that high school dropouts can expect. Substitute for academic English

·  Financial literacy. Relation of income to expenses. Use and misuse of credit. Substitute for advanced math

·  Functional history. Average person’s life style 100 and 200 years ago. Progress made economically and medically. Improvements, not perfection. Substitute for history course

·  Critical reasoning. Discussion of current issues. Difference between facts, opinions, and theory. Straight-forward logical argument.
·  Rights and Responsibilities of individuals, society, and government.

Public schooling has many diverse forces pushing on it. Without drastically altering the high school curriculum with successfully serves certain needs, it should be possible to customize the curriculum to focus more attention on improving personal skills and knowledge of a person’s role, right, and responsibility in the society as well as of those of the government.

Chart of School Tasks and Success

Figure 1. School performance for students by education goals.

With three major categories of students and three school goals, there are nine results which Figure 1 integrates into a table. See BT post for more on schooling and jobs, 8 years after high school targeted graduation.

Dropouts leave high school with their potentiality unfulfilled. Society, as evidenced by dropout higher crime rate, is not served well by them. With a higher unemployment rate, dropouts find it harder to find satisfactory jobs in the work force.

Overall, high school graduates get a chance to test their potential—intellectual, creative, athletic, and social. They understand the social contract and learn skills sufficient to gain employment leading to a satisfactory lifestyle. On the negative side, many students do not get a chance to develop their individual skills as much as they would like. Conflict resolution, essential in a competitive society, is not well covered. Also, many employers complain of the sketchy grasp a large percentage of high school graduates bring to the workplace.

Too many high school students who continue onto college degrees carry burdensome student debt. They had not the high school groundwork to guide them in assessing their expenses to their prospective salaries and lifestyle needs. Many highly successful individuals believe their success is wholly due to their effort overlooking the law and order of society which supports them as well as the essential efforts of employees who magnify the leader’s efforts.        

Education areas which need improvement with the general goals they support.

  • Individual and Society
    • Financial skills. Not optional, but mandatory.
    • Conflict resolution. 
    • History of changes in understanding of medical causes and control of our lives and environments.
  • Individual and Work Force
    • Study of work course, reading and following instructions. Serves work force and individuals.
  • Individual and Society
    • Citizenry course. Social contract. The roles, rights, and responsibilities of individuals, social groups, and governments.
    • Reasoning. Learning the differences between facts, opinions, and theories on current issues.

Have an introductory survey of science, replacing the requirement for a specific subject. The course would start with the technological progress that has been made and the scientific method. In the overviews of major branches of science, revealing the fact-based methodology of science.

High School Curriculum Changes

For those students who will not finish high school with their peers, replacement of academic course with courses that develop personal skills they can use immediately has a better chance of sticking.

For those high school students whose goal is a diploma to start in the work force, substituting these courses for courses designed as college preparation would benefit the student, society, and the work force.

With many high school seniors only needing one course (English) in their final year, for them these additional courses can be easily fit on.

Individual

Cell 1. anchor for table cell to point to

By age 16. Potential dropouts. Allowed to substitute Practical knowledge course, facts and issues of the year, snapshot of average person over the centuries, not celebrity gossip, in place of a history. The difference between fact and opinion as well as that between fact and theory.

A course on critical reasoning must be required based on current issues. Teaching Direct methods of simple reasoning that can be used on issues students bring forward.

A second science course tied to technology of fields that hire high school graduates should be offered to those students not going for a college degree, to serve as a science credit.

Society

All high school students should be required to take a financial literacy course by the time they are sixteen. For already engaged students this requirement will be no onus. For those that might drop out or those who do not see their future through a bachelor’s degree, this could substitute for pre-calculus without harm to their future prospects. Instruction in budgeting would tie incomes and expenses to prospective jobs and lifestyles.

Similarly, an opportunity to take an English course focused on reading instructions and documenting procedures used in retail and other occupations requiring a high school diploma. This substitution for an English literature unit should be allowed early, so that potential dropouts could take it.

Instead of a second course on American history, a course on the American social contract with the rights and responsibilities of citizens, society, and government.

Work Force

Have an introductory survey of science, replacing the requirement for a specific subject. The course would start with the technological progress that has been made and the scientific method. In the overviews of major branches of science, revealing the fact-based methodology of science.

A second science course tied to technology of fields that hire high school graduates should be offered to those students not going for a college degree, to serve as a science credit.

A course on critical reasoning must be required based on current issues. Teaching the difference between fact and opinion as well as that between fact and theory. Direct methods of simple reasoning that can be used on issues students bring forward.

Logical connections between ideas, evaluating the relevance of information and recognizing erroneous reasoning.

How to handle students and parents who disagree with the teacher/score’s assessment of their potential and opportunities.  

Perhaps you too know high school seniors who are only taking one course because that is all they need to graduate.


  • High School and Employment
  • Social Contract

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