“Microsoft CEO Bill Gates has called high school obsolete” (Alliance, December 12, 2005, p.1).
In Christenbury’s Retracing the Journey, chapter twelve poses some ideas for reforming the high school experience, and one of them has stood out to me as a great topic for class discussion. Christenbury writes, “Some high school reformers have embraced a call to eliminate the last, possibly redundant year of high school, supposedly solving part of the ‘problem’ by reducing the number of years in the secondary school setting” (2007, p.110). While Christenbury examines the cons of shortening high school from four years to three years, I also find myself examining this option in great detail.
Whether we eliminate the senior year of high school or keep this year and fill it with dual enrollment college courses, Christenbury finds fault with this kind of answer. She tells us that shortening the number of years it would take to finish high school only puts younger kids into college and the workforce. Similarly, if we decide to keep the senior year of high school in tact and fill it with college level coursework, we still have not addressed the major issues of secondary school curriculum. In short, wiping out the senior year or filling it up with college level work only produces quick fixes. Underneath, problems still exist.
At the moment, I am entertaining the idea of shortening the high school experience into three years. This is my initial reaction, which is definitely an opinion in-progress. Reading about this initiative seemed to have some appeal to me, and I would love to hear more from all of you about this. What do we think? Is it ok to shorten high school and send our 17 year-old seniors off to a college campus? Or should we keep a senior year filled with dual enrollment college courses? -Sofia