Three States Introduce Bold Changes to Public Education
November 14, 2008
For many high school students, graduation cannot come soon enough. While admittedly, I was something of a nerd, going off to college was the single most anticipated event of my young life. I couldn't wait for the academic challenges, the new people, and the more serious learning environment. If someone came up to me when I was 16 and offered me the chance to start community college then, I would have definitely taken it. So I am definitely a little jealous of students in New Hampshire who may soon get that chance.
New Hampshire is one of three states that have agreed to implement some of the policies outlined by the National Center on Education and the Economy's New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce. The commission released a report in 2006 calling for sweeping educational reforms to address America's slipping international standing in several measures of educational success and workforce preparation. Utah and Massachusetts will also implement measures recommended to boost the performance of public schools, including raising teacher pay, giving teachers greater (in some cases, complete) control over schools, implementing more dynamic proficiency tests that provide a more accurate picture of students' abilities, and better monitoring and assisting students at risk of dropping out. The policy New Hampshire is proposing will allow students the option of taking a test after 10th grade and either entering a community college or a college preparatory track if they pass, letting them prepare for college and gain college credits while still living at home, and keeping them from getting bored or coasting through the last two years of high school.
These are only a few of the suggestions found in the commission's report. While there is some skepticism over how much change will actually take place, many states and schools are showing an eagerness for change. It's hoped that innovations in education will help make more students better prepared for attending college and entering the workforce.