Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Getting Rid Of The 12th Grade

As our son is about to turn 5, my wife and I are faced with making the difficult decision about the horrible six letter word - 'school'. We've got a little while to decide, but we're leaning towards home school....

A couple of weeks ago, my father and I were having a conversation about my first days in preschool. I don't remember much about it, other than sobbing and screaming for my father to come back and get me while he stood behind the white picket fence that separated the two of us.... He says that dropping me off was one of the hardest things he's ever done. I'm not that way.... I would have knocked down the picket fence and taken my son home.

Luckily, I have the benefit of my wife being able to stay at home to raise and teach our children. Granted, we're not sure whether our son would thrive in a home school, public school or private school environment. But we might as well try the home school thing first. If it doesn't work, we have other options. Although I do have to admit, it does scare the crap out of me to send my son to school for eight hours a day.

Wow, that was not what I wanted to talk about..... Let me get back to my topic.... In an attempt to shrink the state's massive budget deficit, Utah Senator Chris Buttars has proposed that the state cancel the entire 12th Grade. Well, that was his initial proposal, after backlash from the entire State of Utah, he proposed that the 12th Grade become optional to students who have already completed their high school requirements. Senator Buttars says that the proposal could save the state up to $60,000,000 (10% of their total budget deficit).

Why not? My wife always makes the point, we are in school for approximately fourteen years, and that's before we choose whether or not college is our life's path.... That's a long time! Is 12th Grade really necessary? I could have lived without it.... And I probably would have worked a lot harder to complete my required courses, knowing that I wouldn't have had to complete a fourth year of high school. Now, my brother, the high school teacher, will think otherwise (But that's another story entirely, he also thinks that he's Michelle Pfeiffer from 'Dangerous Minds'.... Seriously dude, you teach in Orange County, California - You don't live in a 'Gangster's Paradise'!)....

I do feel bad for the teachers who would be out of work, but seriously, if my son can finish his required high school courses and get his GED in two years while completing school at home, what's the incentive to send him to high school for a required four years? Let him get out and on with his life!


  1. The only thing I would say about the finish early get out early or go the entire four years is the child maybe smart enough to graduate high school but are they really mature enough, at that point at the age of 16-18, to go to college or start a career in something?

    Now I realize there will be a diamond in the rough so to speak and they could be ready for whatever is thrown at them after 1 or 2 years of high school but I think typically kids are not mature enough for the "future" until they have spent the full four years in high school.

    And some are not ready even after the four years. LOL.

    As far as your son and the home school/private school/public school. Whatever works for that child then you should go for it! My daughter, as you know, currently goes to public school. She didn't start until Kindergarten and yes I agree it is tough to send her into a place where she will be for 8 hours a day and what she sees and hears there will mold their mind, she now loves it and I believe she is smarter then hell. And I couldn't see taking that away from her. But my wife and I agreed that as she gets towards high school and if we could afford it we would like to place her in private school.

  2. I have always home schooled my daughter. Depending on the state you live in a GED may not be necessary. In my state as long as I keep up with her grades and give the required tests and keep samples of her work, she can enter a college without a GED. Several colleges here actively recruit home schoolers. Socializing your child is the easiest part of home schooling. There are home school groups or rec department activities, and many other things you can do to socialize you child and allow them to learn from other people.

    You know even in most public schools, the advanced kids have an opportunity to basically skip their last year. It is called dual enrollment, technically the are considered in high school, but they take the majority or all of their classes in college. The state even pays for it. They only have to show up at the high school like once a week.

  3. I'm not saying that school is bad. I've always said that different forms of education work for different people.

    @Jerry - Your daughter is incredibly smart, and she is thriving in school!

    Is a 17 year old teenager really less mature than an 18 year old teenager?

    And are we mature enough to face the world after four years of college?

    Am I mature enough to face the world now?

  4. @Melissa Mashburn - We've been researching the whole 'Homeschooling' thing here in California.... There are homeschool groups that go on special field trips, bands, physical education, etc....

    My wife and I have been talking about taking family field trips. For example, if we are learning about the states, we can take road trips and actually visit those states!

    I'm actually starting to get excited about sitting down with my son and learning with him!

  5. I friend of mine that has home schooled all of his kids, said even Disney Land as a home school activity/work thing so as you are visiting Disney Land you can school at the same time. I have always enjoyed home schooling. When I taught my son, and my daughter was very little she would often do the science experiments with him. One of their favorties was studying gravity and they got to drop eggs from their fort and then have to pad the egs and etc. to see the difference. Or they liked it when I used a jar and a match to suck an egg into a bottle, or when I would put and egg in vinegar and let the shell disolve, when we were studying bones and the importance of calcium. We raised chickens then so we had a ton of eggs to use.

    Cracker Barrel, I do not know if you have those there, has some great coloring books. One is about the 50 states, and you learn facts and do the activities in the book, the other one is learning about the state birds.

  6. One of the things that bothers me most about the entire school structure is how it separates learning from the rest of life, as if learning is some mysterious thing that can only happen if you're sitting at a desk with a textbook between the hours of 8 am and 3 pm. This teaches people that in order to learn anything well, they have to learn it in that formal manner for the rest of their lives... And that at some point they'll be "done" learning. Right.

    Classes, text books, busy work, studying, cramming, tests... it's all a bunch of bull shit. What we end up with is a huge portion of people who think they "hate learning." How sad is that?

    huh, I was planning on not commenting on homeschooling, and look where I ended up.. I actually came to comment on the 12th grade thing. In public schools, somewhere around 10% of the time the kids are in school is spent "on task", meaning learning what they're supposed to be there to learn. The other 90 is spent with them being told where to sit, how to sit, where to stand, to be still, when to talk, HOW to talk, when they can go to the bathroom, when they can eat.. If the school system gave up a bit of that crap, stopped training our kids for a life of, I mean socializing them..I bet we could cut AT LEAST half of the years of schooling out.

  7. If I had the ability and time to home school my kids I would definitely consider it.

  8. I was homeschooled most of the way. I both hated and loved it. It's not so bad if you do get involved with other homeschoolers.

    As far as the cutting out a 12th grade... I'm torn because other countries are so far ahead in terms of educating their kids. I think it might be better served to redistribute that time. Add an extra month a year of schooling and take away a year.

    Hilarious commentary on your brother. lol

    Evidently, I don't know about everyone else, but I feel extra paranoid about typos when discussing schooling.

  9. I just heard about that on the radio the other day...

    If they hadn't required electives, I probably could have finished high school in three years. I guess what really sucks about this though (other than how it affects teachers) is that it moves everything in a kid's timeline up by a year... It means one more year of toiling away at a job, one less year of growing up and transitioning from teenager to adult. Even if they go to college, they still graduate a year earlier because they eliminated a year of high school.

  10. I agree with only needing 3 years of high school. I was sooo lazy in my senior year. I only took like 3 classes and had a few free periods. I also didn't work as hard cuz I didn't care anymore.

    I would love to teach my future children instead of sending them off to somewhere else.
    I watched the LBJ video, ahhh nuts

  11. I think whatever school environment works best for your family you should do, I personally don't feel as though I would be an effective home school teacher. I mean we learn about things but I am way to OCD to try to be their teacher and their mom. lol

    On the topic of skipping 12th grade, I agree that it should be an option. My 12th grade year was basically spent in classes that were just there to keep me busy. The only class that I think I ever even had homework in was creative writting and I usually did that durning Government.


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