Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More conversations about Extended Adolescence

I found out I am not the only one you know. I was at a meeting of MESA on Saturday. I was there to teach about Podcasting. I got there, did my first session, went to lunch, then went back to the room and got absorbed into a conversation on one of my pet topics.

I was trying to get a network connection to make showing podcasts in iTunes a little easier (read: possible. I've got to get a mifi) Well, as I sat there a couple of ladies, came in and sat down. After 5 or 10 minutes they asked "Why aren't you starting?" "Cause the keynote is going on right now and I start in about 30 minutes" "Oh, oops"

The ladies were obviously from the same district and I continued working while they launched in to a discussion regarding scheduling in a middle school. There had been an attempt made to create groups of kids with a "school within a school" model. I sat and listened for a while, then of course piped up and stuck my nose in where it didn't really belong. I asked, "So, to summarize, you are frustrated because a couple of electives that are only offered once a day are driving your entire schedule" "YES, you get it"

This led into a "why" and then a discussion about what really should drive scheduling at a middl school. One of the problems that was pointed out was an advanced mathematics and a unique approach to CTE I am not one to find fault or criticize, so I don't really find fault with attempts to create solutions that work locally. There unique situation was fine, but one part of the conversation was that it was found that students who had taken Algebra 2 in High School were more likely to be in College, this has prompted a change in requirements in some states to require Algebra 2 in High School. I think someone has cause and effect mixed up. I think a more effective interpretation of that data would be. Students who are going to go on to college are likely going to decide early and prepare by taking advanced mathematics. I mentioned to these ladies that I think we wait too long to let kids take a responsible role. They both mentioned that yeah, we keep kids in school longer and longer. More and more training before we allow them to step into responsible productive work environments. I don't think this is going to stay viable for ever. We can't continue an educating our kids as if everyone on of them will follow a route through a 4 year high school and a 4 year college or university with a General Education program. We are extending adolescence too long.

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