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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Educating for adulthood


In 2019, Americans ranked “preparing for college” tenth as "the purpose of education" on a Populace survey, she notes. In 2022, college prep fell to 47th out of 57 options. Being prepared for a career moved up from 27th place before the pandemic to 6th.

"The number one skill for the fourth year in a row was 'students develop practical tangible skills' such as managing one’s finances and preparing meals," writes Anderson. "Other highly-ranked measures included thinking critically to problem solve and make decisions and demonstrating character."

In 2009, 70 percent of recent high school graduates enrolled in college. That fell to 61.8 percent in 2021.

"The U.S.’s mistake was not in lionizing higher education, which is a noble pursuit, but in stigmatizing the alternatives," writes Anderson. "In Germany and Switzerland, half to nearly two thirds of students pursue vocational education. Classroom learning does not end, but changes."

Adding a fifth year to high school can enable students to earn college and vocational credentials at no cost, reports Jobs for the Future. Examples are Colorado’s Accelerating Students Through Concurrent Enrollment (ASCENT) program and the Louisiana Extension Academy.

1 Comment

Apr 13, 2023

Why would we add a 5th year of high school when kids aren't learning in 4 years?

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