Many years — perhaps 25 — ago, I was asked my advice on a school district’s new graduation requirements. I said, “Go to your local community college and to employers who hire high school graduates. Ask what skills and knowledge one of your graduates would need to have a chance of passing an entry-level course or qualifying for an entry-level job. That’s what your diploma should require.”
A high school diploma should signify the graduate is ready for the first year of college, writes Marc Tucker in Education Week. That “is a far higher standard than most high school diplomas are set to currently.”
He envisions states setting the syllabi for required core courses and writing the exams, which would be graded by outside teachers. That’s a radical power shift.
Well-prepared students could complete the core in two years, he believes. Some would have two years for Advanced Placement or other high-level courses. Others could learn high-level technical skills, like vocational students in Singapore and Switzerland, at a community college or their high school.
Everyone would be expected to pass by the end of 12th grade.
We would be doing high school in high school, not in college, and therefore saving enormous amounts of money for both states and families. We would have more brain surgeons and more specialty welders.
High schools could be held accountable for the proportion of students who earn the new diploma and the proportion who complete two-year and four-year degrees, Tucker writes.
What do you think? Is it doable? Should it be tried?