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Academic Communities in High School

  1. Dec 5, 2004 #1

    Math Is Hard

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    Next year at my little sister's high school a new program is being implemented called Academic Communities. This was funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. From what I understand, the students will be divided into five groups specializing in a different area of study (engineering group, arts group, health science group, and I forget what the other two were).
    Each group will have their own teachers and supposedly the curriculuum will be geared towards the group interest. For instance, the math classes for the arts group will involve references to dance, music, and art - I am clueless as to how this will work!!)
    Each group will be essentially segregated. They will only go to classes with their own group members and will eat lunch with their own group members. The rules state that a student may change groups after a year, but for the year they are locked in.
    I am not feeling too keen on this program. It seems a little unfair to make a student choose a "major" in high school. I also wonder about the quality of the math and science teachers that will be assigned to the arts group (which my sister is considering. She's an excellent science student but her friends are going to choose arts group). Won't the best math teachers go to engineering group and the best science teachers go to science group?
    Also, I wonder how this affects a student when they apply to college. It seems like they will be prematurely type cast and may have difficulty applying to a program outside of the high school academic group on their record.
    I would like to hear some thoughts from others on this.
    Thanks!
     
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  3. Dec 5, 2004 #2

    Chronos

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    Good grief. Isn't the high school caste system bad enough without institutionalizing it?
     
  4. Dec 5, 2004 #3

    Math Is Hard

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    I think caste system is a very appropriate term for this. It really bothers me that during school hours, socialization with other students is confined to one's own group.

    I am really trying not to let my opinion be tainted by my knowledge of the sponsors of this program (Bill and Mel) but there's just something disturbing about this whole classification system. High school should be a time to explore a wide variety of interests, not specialize.
     
  5. Dec 5, 2004 #4

    Chronos

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    I signed up for the football team in high school. Heaven knows what I was thinking. I was the 98 lb weakling poster boy. Other than that, I spent the rest of the time amongst my fellow geeks. I learned a lot more about people and life from football, not to mention the virtues of calling for a fair catch once in awhile.
     
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