GOOD

Fifth-Year Senior: Why Making High School Longer Is a Brilliant Idea

Maine wants to accelerate the traditional secondary curriculum and bring introductory college courses down to high school.


After four years of high school, you were probably pretty ready to graduate. But what if you could have earned college credit if you stayed for a fifth year? Students in Maine might soon get the option to do just that. In order to ensure that the state is truly preparing the workforce of the future, governor Paul LePage followed up on a campaign promise this week and issued an executive order that creates a task force to study whether a five-year high school option can be implemented state-wide.

The five-year initiative would accelerate the traditional high school curriculum so that credits are finished more quickly, and bring introductory college courses—college English 101, for example—down to the high school level. Students who opt in to the five-year program would graduate with both a high school diploma and either an associate's degree or two years of credits that they can then transfer to the college of their choice.

Keep Reading
Articles

Why Are Great Teachers Leaving the Classroom?

With so much focus about getting bad teachers out of the classroom, we're letting the really effective ones slip out the door.

\n\n\n\n\n Making it simpler to remove bad teachers from the classroom has been a hot topic in education reform, but policy-makers might want to shift gears and spend more time ensuring effective teachers stick around. According to a McKinsey study, 14 percent of teachers leave after one year, and 46 percent leave the profession before their fifth year. However, in nations with the highest results on international tests, the teacher turnover rate is only 3 percent. So what's happening with American teachers that makes them leave the classroom in droves?

In the above CNN interview, Florida high school math teacher Linda DeRegnaucourt shares why she made the difficult decision to end her 13-year career after the next school year is over. Money is definitely a factor—after all that time on the job, she only earns $38,000—but her decision to leave isn't just about the size of her paycheck. As we've heard teachers say before, she's finally had enough of the poor working conditions and unprofessional way she's treated. Now she's training to become a nurse, which will give her a $24,000 salary bump.

Keep Reading
Articles

That AP Class You Took Might Have Been a Fraud

Schools are slapping AP labels on dumbed-down classes that don't deserve it, and cheating kids into thinking they're learning AP when they're not.


Are AP classes a fraud? According to "High School Classes May Be Advanced in Name Only" in Monday's New York Times, it's a real possibility. It turns out that just as colleges engage in grade inflation to boost their reputations, our nation's high schools might be caving to pressure to enroll more kids in AP courses. Schools dumbing down the curriculum and slapping an AP label on a class just to look good is problem enough. But the real losers in this scenario are the students who think they're learning AP material when they're actually not.

Back in 1990 (when being an honors student was still prestigious enough), only 5 percent of students enrolled in AP classes. By 2010 the number of students taking supposedly more challenging AP classes rose to 13 percent. The percentage of kids taking AP exams has also almost tripled over the past decade, from 1.2 million in 2000 to 3.1 million in 2010.

Keep Reading
Articles