Battlepanda: You can't pigeonhole 'em too early


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

You can't pigeonhole 'em too early

Great. Now those nincompoops in Floridas are asking kids to choose "majors" -- in high school. As freshmen.
Students...would get an education more tailored to their career plans under a proposal from Gov. Jeb Bush that education experts say would make Florida the first state to require incoming high school freshmen to declare a major, just like college students.

Bush said the plan would help prepare students better for the real world and reduce the dropout rate by making school more interesting. Last year, nearly 3 percent of Florida's 800,000 high school students dropped out.

“We don't want them to drop out of school or be unprepared to take on the challenges of the 21st century,” the governor said. “It's a really smart way to make high school more relevant and prepare young people for what college will hold.”[snip]
Under Florida's plan, high school students would be able to major in such subjects as humanities, English, communications, math, science, history, social studies, arts, foreign languages and vocational skills. They would also have to declare a minor.

Um, Jeb, didn't you get the memo about how the workforce of the 21st century is supposed to be nimble, flexible and quick to retrain? How does forcing kids to pick one academic area four years earlier accomplish that exactly?

I'm all for making classes in high school (and college, for that matter) more relevant to real-life careers and challenges. But at the high-school level, we should be encouraging our kids to branch rather than prune. Instead of making kids decide whether they're a science person or a humanities person or to go vocational, we should lets kids go from classes in basic personal finance to Shakespeare to auto repairs to chemistry as they please. They're not just learning concrete skills or facts, they're still expanding their minds and learning how to learn.