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Ready for university by Grade 10 or age 16 yrs?

  1. Nov 8, 2008 #1

    Astronuc

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    Should Kids Be Able to Graduate After 10th Grade?
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20081107/us_time/shouldkidsbeabletograduateafter10thgrade
    By KATHLEEN KINGSBURY Kathleen Kingsbury – Fri Nov 7, 4:50 am ET
    Can most children be ready for junior college by Grade 10?!

    This does seem to shift the burden of education from the public to the individual.
     
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  3. Nov 8, 2008 #2

    mgb_phys

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    Given the standard of first year uni course compared to A levels (ie 16-18) of 20 years ago yes.
    Are they ready to live away from home and study on their own - no?
    A few universities have had policies to accept very young child geniuses eg. in maths - but they generally have a parent along

    Bingo -although I normally do the cynism around here.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2008
  4. Nov 8, 2008 #3

    Moonbear

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    I view it as something being done to cut costs and artificially inflate graduation rates rather than actually doing what most benefits the students. Push them out the door with a diploma before they get a chance to drop out, and make them pay for their education rather than continuing to offer a free public education for those last two years.

    I also don't think that a 16-year old has the maturity to necessarily make a good decision about whether to take the "easy way out" of getting a diploma after 10th grade or staying in school two more years.
     
  5. Nov 8, 2008 #4

    turbo

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    I agree. It's also a problem for universities if this happens wholesale. Decades ago, schools operated with fairly stringent (in some cases) "in loco parentis" policies. Many of these policies were eased during the Vietnam war because it was reasoned that if you are old enough at age 18 to be drafted and risk your life, you should be considered an adult in other ways. During the early '70's dorms on many campuses became co-ed, restrictions on drinking were eased (the drinking age in Maine was lowered to 18 during the war), etc. Flooding colleges with 16 year olds would put them right into the baby-sitting business, perhaps requiring them to establish separate housing for underage students, with rules more appropriate to their age.
     
  6. Nov 8, 2008 #5

    mgb_phys

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    It has become a problem for UK universities. There was an outbreak of 'won't somebody think of the children' in the last few years - so anyone who has any contact with kids, even just after school soccer practice, suddenly has to have a range of expensive and intrusive police background checks.

    Because of the ways school/uni term dates fall you can have students that reach 18 during the first semester.,this left colleges with the task of getting background checks on ALL their staff, TAs, postdocs etc. So the solution was just to send these kids away for a year.

    It also gave the goverment a problem that they weren't legally of age to sign their own student loans - but the goverment just changed the rules for itself.
     
  7. Nov 8, 2008 #6

    mgb_phys

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    In the UK they always have had this option. School is only compulsary until 16. The next two years were optional for people who eventually wanted to go to university.
    But because you had to pay solicial security benefits to unemployed 16year olds but nothing for 16 year old students there is/was a lot of encouragement to 'increase skills' and 'allow wider participation in higher education'
     
  8. Nov 8, 2008 #7
    This seems like somewhat of an incoherent question to me. If this is done on a broad scale, university will change and adapt to the maturity level of the students.

    It seems well worth trying to me. In general I would advocate educational innovation, which I think in some respects is the greatest strength of the educational system in the United States, and I don't regard education for an individual as some do-or-die, must-get-it-right-the-first-time-or-your-life-is-ruined thing. If it doesn't work out well we'll just go back to doing it the same way as before.
     
  9. Nov 8, 2008 #8

    mgb_phys

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    Not sure exactly what they are proposing?

    >Allowing kids to opt out of school at 16?
    Always been done like this in the UK.

    >College level course at 16?
    The UK system is to specialise (eg only maths/physics/chemistry) from 16. So these courses are equivalent to US college level intro courses.

    >Go off to college at 16?
    Please no, it's bad enough with new 18years olds.

    I'm not saying the UK system is correct, it's just what I have experience as a student/teacher in. It's also changed over the last 10years to be more like the US system.
     
  10. Nov 8, 2008 #9
    School is only compulsory until about age 16 in most places in the U.S. too, I think that's the exact age here in NH. I believe this is a program designed to specifically prepare students in large numbers to proceed to more advanced studies, though.

    In NH for at least the last two decades or so we've also had an optional program in many places that is very focused on transitioning to a vocational environment for students that want it, conceptually modeled on the apprenticeship / vocational tracks available in some European countries as I understand.

    At age 16 the students begin leaving school regularly (getting bussed back and forth for part of the day) to a regional vocational school where they might specialize in something like auto mechanics and repair, construction and contracting work, office skills like small business accounting, retail management and marketing, nursing assistant work, etc. My understanding is that among the students who decide to participate in the program it has reduced dropout rates and been really good for people who plan to or have to directly go into the work force after high school. (This one involves them staying in school until age 18, though.)

    Experimenting with stuff like that may be easier for New Hampshire because we have a relatively smaller population than states, only about 2 million. For another example, we have one particular, large high school that is the largest school in the state where a lot of our English as a Second Language resources are focused. In that one school 80 different languages were spoken as of 2000 when I was a student teacher there.

    (New Hampshire has a relatively diverse population, at least in terms of there being many ethnic communities. About a third of the state population is of French Canadian descent, when I was a kid you'd infrequently run into old people who still only spoke French. And there are lots of refugee populations who have been resettled here - Bosnian, Somali, Sudanese, Hatian, etc.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2008
  11. Nov 8, 2008 #10
    That's similar to what we would call "Advanced Placement" high school courses, I think.

    Like I said, if it doesn't work out we'll just go back to the way it used to work. We're pretty flexible.

    I think, though, that in the 1800's in both the U.S. and Europe children might go to college at this age, so it's not without precedent.
     
  12. Nov 8, 2008 #11
    P.S. on the regional vocational schools - there is of course a good deal of vocational programming available right at the high schools themselves, the special schools are simply more intensive and focused.
     
  13. Nov 8, 2008 #12

    mgb_phys

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    There are attempts at that in the UK. There is a general feeling that the all or nothing at 16 is bad.
    But most of the schemes have been seen in the past as ways of rigging the youth unemployment statisitics or providing cheap labour.

    The switch from an apprenticeship where you got paid and it led to a skilled job - to a vocational degree where you pay fees and there is no job seems to make more sense to the politicians than the potential students.
     
  14. Nov 8, 2008 #13
    One thing that I thought was nifty when I was considering the local vocational school program as an option at that age was that there actually were a few very part-time jobs available at the vocational school. Only for a handful of hours a week, but you could actually essentially make a bit of money while you were at school! Though those jobs were won by just a few individuals, the ones who performed best in the program.

    For this specific program the students do not have to pay, which is something that's emphasized when they're advertising it to the students. There are paid tuition vocational schools for students who drop out of high school or who graduate on the standard path and want vocational training, although those are subsidized by the government to some degree as I'm sure the ones in the UK are.
     
  15. Nov 8, 2008 #14
    Back in the 17-1800s people went to college around that age, no?

    I think a 16 year old is prefectly able to go to college and not waste their time in high school if they so wish. I would have been one of them. I literally wasted the last two years of high school doing and learning nothing. Part of the problem is that 16 year olds are treated as kids and should be expected to act like a young adult.
     
  16. Nov 8, 2008 #15

    mgb_phys

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    You can simply put higher academic level courses in high school.
    I was lucky, my local education authority had a policy of building separate colleges for the 16-18year rather than having it in the same school. This allowed them to have better trained teachers (most science teachers had PhDs) and better labs while still saving money by concentrating it all in one site.
    These were still in the same town so you lived at home.

    It's not a perfect system - you had to decide at 16 if you wanted to eventually go to university and be an engineer or go to the technical school and be a bricklayer. But it worked well for many people.
     
  17. Nov 8, 2008 #16
    Good luck finding teachers the US to teach a bunch of immature high school student's for less than what a garbage man makes yearly.
     
  18. Nov 8, 2008 #17
    Yeah, it's really unfortunate. The one exception is actually Alaska where Sarah Palin's from; they have to offer starting pay at a good twice what the national average is to persuade people to move out into the bush to teach. But I assume that they fund it with the state oil revenues.
     
  19. Nov 8, 2008 #18

    mgb_phys

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    In some ways it's the best teaching option. While perhaps being elitest you are teaching only those students who have chosen to take those subjects and want to go to university so they are generally smart, well behaved and well motivated.

    The main problem is that promotion is more limited - because of a shortage of science teachers anyone in a regular high school is going to advance up the ladder quickly while being in a specialised college with other skilled staff it's more limited.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2008
  20. Nov 8, 2008 #19

    Astronuc

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    My high school had a physics teacher who was a PhD Physicist from Caltech. I took a short summer course in physics from him at a local university - he was brilliant. His courses were a blend of experiment and theory.

    He spent two years at my high school and then went on to a research position at Shell Oil Co.

    The chemistry teacher at my high school had an MS Chemistry and we took a college level course in chemistry (AP BC).

    The one disconnect in the Calculus, Physics and Chem was a lack of coordination between the classes. We did little calculus in Physics, and some application of differential equations toward the end of chemistry.
     
  21. Nov 8, 2008 #20
    Speaking of coordination between classes, you know what I think would be absolutely awesome?

    I went to a liberal arts college and there was this block of courses freshman and sophomore years, required for all majors, just generically titled Humanities I, II, III, IV. The courses would intensively cover one period of history or a social movement at a time and it would be a full-court press of various coordinated lectures, seminars, readings from original sources, and other elements on the history, literature, anthropology, music, art, and every other aspect of, say, Ancient Greece, the Hebraic Age of Prophets, Medieval Europe, Renaissance Realism, etc. - for two years solid.

    It was so great, just such a rich academic experience of really studying something thoroughly. I've attended several other schools part-time undergrad or for graduate work and I've never seen anything like it.

    Anyways, I've always thought that it would be really fabulous to do the same sort of thing but cover calc, physics, and computer science at the same time, so you could get really in-depth on the historical development of everything and at the same time you're studying the math see the physics it sprang from an vice-versa, and also be fiddling around with programming physics simulations, applications of linear algebra, numerical methods, etc. in the computing field.
     
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