A high school diploma shouldn't be a lump of coal

  • Article by: CHARLIE WEAVER
  • Updated: December 27, 2012 - 9:37 PM

A high school diploma that doesn't prepare Minnesota kids for a postsecondary education? Now that's just cruel.

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erikj3Dec. 27, 12 8:25 PM

Our educational system needs a radical overhaul. We need to keep kids in school for 1-2 years after where they would normally graduate, give them a career path, and have them graduate with an associates degree. We need keep them in school until each student has proven they have the skills to succeed at a 4 year school. We're way behind other countries and it is going to take much more of a public investment in education to catch up.

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bluedevil101Dec. 27, 12 8:39 PM

Not every student is cut out for college, but every student should have skills needed to figure out how to apply for a job and be able to perform skills needed at at least an entry level. Too many high schools are non energized and students are not pushed hard enough sometimes with the excuse of "they won't do the work if we push them." Today's students are capable to so much more than we ask of them in most cases. Where is leadership that demands students be pushed to exceed their own expectations?

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sausageDec. 27, 12 8:51 PM

There are some older definitions and standards that should apply today. The definition between a pupil and a student. What a diploma is--and it is not supposed to be a gift. Definition of the grading system. C=average, D=below average, F=Failed to meet the minimum standards, B=above average, and A=Excellent (excels in a discipline. This system of STANDARDS was around for many years and it worked well. When a kindergarten graduation is equivalent to a high school graduation, and someday it will all be equal to a college education and still getting an inferior child then we are in trouble. Guess what? We are there already and we are in trouble. Time to look backward for help.

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farcicalDec. 27, 1210:18 PM

What about Conceal & Carry certification? On a more serious note, I wonder if all of these business pooh-bahs have really been in a school lately. Students today leave with a level of tech familiarity that many CEOs and so-called pundits would truly admire. Knowing "stuff" is proving useless. Knowing how to get that "stuff" is becoming more meaningful. The logic and sequential learning usually derived from math should be (and is) addressed in tech know-how. Foreign language should include computer coding in EVERY school. Leave college for its original intent - seeking knowledge and friendships. And regulate For-Profit "colleges" with strict loan agreements.

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palsarDec. 27, 1210:33 PM

But gee, didn't the Mpls school district's superintendent just get a $12,000 bonus for outstanding performance? That must mean the students are doing great and graduation numbers are high. They would never lower standards to boost their numbers would they? I know, let's throw more money at it.

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JudelingDec. 27, 1211:33 PM

Since the reality is that business has decided that work force development is no longer their job and it is cheap to hire a graduate trained on the latest release of Solidworks instead of retraining from AutoCad, we have to deal with this. Never mind that the average teenager could respond to your memo with an illustrated footnoted response in less then 141 characters while walking to their car. I mean after all jobs of the future.

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jchilman12Dec. 27, 1211:53 PM

The author fails to realize WHY we cannot prepare them. Because we recently read an article where 31% might fail the math test. What did we learn? That the math test needs to be changed so 31% don't fail. NO. We need to realize that 31% don't need a new test. Maybe 10% (I'm going REALLY high here) need to be exempted from the test for their diagnosed learning disability that will at best have them heading to community college (LOVE community college btw). The other 21%+? They need to be held back so they can study or realize that only working in a coffee shop is their future. If you really want them prepared then make it O.K. for the teacher to fail a child who does not want to learn.

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stevedelappDec. 27, 1211:56 PM

When I was in high school in the 60's, we had three learning tracks: technical, general, and college preparatory. Technical included training for entry into mechanical, electrical, and building trades, and General included training for secretarial work, bookkeeping, and home economics. No Minnesota educator would want to offer a technical or general diploma and graduation is based entirely on having an "acceptable," if inadequate attendance record. Taxpayers end up paying for 14 years of public education that is barely equivalent to 12 years of learning when expectations were higher and before SAT scores had to be recalibrated to avoid embarrassing the current generation. Employers, and competent parents and students know this. Students find out when they have to compete in the real world. Simply put, in 3rd world countries kids have to grow up by age 12 or earlier. Our kids often get a free pass until they are 26.

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furguson11Dec. 28, 12 4:11 AM

"The obvious answer is to figure out what colleges expect incoming students to know, set high school graduation requirements to match those expectations, then ensure that students can meet the requirements." I don't think that it's so obvious to meet the colleges needs when we don't know if colleges are providing the skills for the modern workforce or preparing students for fields where they can get a job and earn a living wage.

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asdfasdfDec. 28, 12 4:24 AM

Three points- 1.) The state standards today are significantly higher today than in Mr. Weavers generation. I'd be willing to bet money that Mr. Weaver couldn't pass our "minimum" math requirements test. 2.) mr. Weaver isn't up to date on current research regarding this topic. Over 1/3 of students placed in remedial courses would have earned a credit in a traditional for credit class. http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/02/29/too-many-community-college-students-are-placing-remedial-classes-studies-find 3.) he's a bit of a hypocrite in complaining about this. He says 70% of jobs in the future will require post secondary education. What he is really saying is he wants schools to give students the training they need to step directly into a job. Because businesses have significantly cutting their training programs to save money they want public education to focus on traing instead educating (there is a difference). Its incredibly short sighted of them. They should be calling for people who know how to learn so they can be trained to fit the specific needs of the company. It's always about the next quarter with these people. No long term vision. Don't believe me? Google shiela Bair and er writings on short termism.

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