Saturday, March 14, 2009

"Short" senior year and loss of electives

On the "50%" post Anonymous and Parent'o3 wrote:

Anonymous said...
Do you realize that many seniors actually have enough credits to graduate (except senior English and PE) after their junior year? Some already take an extra year of PE in their junior year (against policy of course) to eliminate that their senior year. And many of them take "fluff" courses senior year, not higher academic courses,to fill their schedule. Many get a "work" release to get out of school early and this is not fully supervised. So for many, senior year is a "blow-off." And since a large number of electives have been eliminated, choices are slim to none. For many, senior year is a holding tank before having to move into the real world.Students could actually graduate in 3 years if scheduling were done correctly. But, in reality, school is a "babysitting" place, not an academic institution.

March 14, 2009 3:39 PM

parent'o'3 said...
You have to have four years of math, too, though that's still a short schedule. Rather than shorten to three years I'd rather see kids offered useful and/or interesting and/or enriching classes that will either make them more successful adults or make sure they have skills in the job they're aiming toward.

March 14, 2009 3:58 PM

11 comments:

Questioner said...

What electives have been eliminated from which high schools, and when did this happen?

Private schools and top public school districts seem to be taking the opposite approach, adding a range of interesting electives.

Grammy Cookie said...

Electives eliminated from almost all middle and high schools are those that need disposible income every year. Home Economics, almost all Vocational classes, some Industrial Arts. This is due to smaller amounts of money that each school, especially high schools, have been getting for the last 5 years. When Schenley moved to Reizenstein, NO Applied Technology and Career Developement (ATCD) classes were moved.

Anonymous said...

The motivated students work ahead. Actually the 4 year schedule enables the students who do not do well throughout high school, to repeat subjects and graduate on time. Between summer school, the student achievement center, and their (sac) "5th year senior" program, students who need to, can complete high school in 5 years. Motivated ones can do it in 3 years.

Anonymous said...

When did education stop being about learning? When did it become about limiting horizons and not expanding them? When did education become something that stops before death? When did the adults decide we were going to allow our children to learn bad habits and not learn the value a life long learning? And why aren't board members being voted out or sent to jail for stealing our children's opportunities????

fixit said...

This is the last year for short schedules for seniors. A full day is expected to make transitioning to college easier, perhaps? Rather than eliminating electives we should be looking at new ones. Many electives provide the "real world application" of what we learn in core subjects, right? Math is probably the class most aided by what kids learn in electives.

Questioner said...

Fixit, do you mean that adjustments have been made so that after this year seniors will not have short schedules?

PSCCer said...

I attended my PSCC meeting at Carrick High School and asked about electives for the 2009-2010 school year. Carrick was light on electives this year due to scheduling, but will actually be adding one elective more than they had this year. I really believe based on listening to a teacher in attendance that this school understands how some electives can support what happens in core classes and provides an opportunity for learning that might be out of reach after high school.

On the topic of a full day of classes for seniors next year, there were no complaints from parents at all. All seemed to be in favor of the change.

Questioner said...

So it sounds like there is some discretion at the school level in terms of electives. This gives parents more of a chance for input on the issue than if there was an order from central administration to eliminate electives.

Anonymous said...

When staff is being cut, the electives are the first to go. There is talk that there will be more staff cuts next year.

She said...

Yeah, I don't think you'll ever find a written directive stating that we need to eliminate electives as quickly as possible.

However, if you look between the lines there's all sorts of evidence.

-- staff cuts do affect electives first
--new programs are designed to have fewer electives, it seems, just keeping 9th graders at Frick for a year eliminated the last remnants of shop and home ec there. Once positions are gone, they don't come back.
--moving programs also always things to get "lost" in the shuffle.
-- the emphasis on the state plan for all those graduation tests? Anything that's not going to be tested? It's not going to be there for long. Not to mention that most electives not only require a teacher but often supplies and materials. That makes them extra prone to cutting.

Questioner said...

Is there any state or district standard for the number and type of electives that must be offered to high school students?