Making the phrase “5th year senior” the norm

In one of the stranger stories I read today, I saw that Mayor Daley has proposed that high school be extended for a fifth year. Okay, why? Because kids aren’t learning enough by the last year of high school? Because students need to be more prepared for college? Er, no, “to defray college education costs now squeezing working poor and middle-class families.”

Well Chief, I don’t know that making high school last for 5 years is going to help the problem of college education costs, even if, as you suggest, college is changed to last 3 years instead of the standard 4 for a bachelor’s degree. Colleges are likely to just hike the tuition up a bit more to cover the loss of that year. How about some real solutions for student aid? How about more grant money as opposed to loan money? How about loans that are easier to get for all students? How about a government that cares about educating it’s citizens more than it cares about interest rate profits on student loans? What do you guys think?

5 Comments so far

  1. beth (unregistered) on August 25th, 2006 @ 8:29 pm

    Well, I don’t know whether it is a good idea or not, but it is true that many high school students take college-level courses for college credit in high school (Advanced Placement). Not so many students in Chicago do this, but there are some. I highly doubt, however, that most colleges would notice much of a difference in lost tuition if the Mayor’s plan were to be put in place, since, unfortunately, many Chicago Public School students do not go to college anyway. Ironically, the colleges that would most be affected would probably be the City Colleges.

    Many of Chicago’s graduating seniors are not prepared for the rigor of college courses. A benefit of the Mayor’s plan would be that students would get a taste of college rigor, yet be taught by high shool teachers who, hopefully, would be able to help bridge the gap between high school and college that many of these kids don’t successfully cross.

    I would be interested to see where the money would come from to fund the education of these fifth year seniors!

  2. TheBizofKnowledge (unregistered) on August 26th, 2006 @ 8:14 am

    I guess I’m not quite clear on what Daley has in mind. Is his plan to have these 5th-year high schoole seniors get associate degrees after they graduate? That seems like it would be a worthwhile program. But if that extra year is just for building up discipline or “preparing students for the rigor of college,” it would probably be a waste of time. If kids can’t learn to do homework and manage their time in four years, I doubt that a fifth year would suddenly turn that around.

  3. beth (unregistered) on August 27th, 2006 @ 9:59 am

    I agree that if students haven’t learned how to do their homework or manage their time in 4 years that a fifth year would probably not make a difference. What I meant by the rigor of college courses is that if students are allowed to take AP courses while in high school that they would begin to understand the level of work, understanding, and comprehension that is required in a college course. College courses are not taught the same way that high school courses are, for the most part. Once students enter college, there are so many other demands on them that the rigor of the courses might be too much for them to handle. Look at how many students do not make it past their first year in college!

    Having this ‘bridge’ in high school could help to alleviate this break. That’s not to say that students can’t take AP courses during their regular four years of high school, but a fifth year might allow even more students to do so.

    I should state that I am a high school teacher in Chicago Public Schools and that I have worked with students from extremely diverse backgrounds. I don’t believe that the fifth year would be a cure-all, nor that every students would benefit from it, but I do believe that it would be interesting to investigate further!

  4. Erik (unregistered) on August 28th, 2006 @ 12:43 pm

    “There’s a lot of different avenues to look at.” – Da Mayre

    Seems to me from the article that adding another year (and that may be more of an optional year to help defray college costs for those that chose to take it) is one of many possibilities Richie thinks should be looked into. I think that the overall point he was trying to make is that the system needs to change if we’re going to compete in an intellect-based economy, because the way things are set up now, it’s no easy task to raise kids and send them through enough levels of education for them to succeed.

    I think we can all agree on that.

  5. JoJo (unregistered) on August 28th, 2006 @ 1:43 pm

    To me, this just seems like more of the same when it comes to American education: Lowering the bar.

    Instead of giving students another year to prepare for college (which in essence is just giving them one more year to slack off), why not improve the educational process of the four years they are there?

    Increase standards, stop all the PC bulls*%t (such as not grading with red pens because it hurts students self esteem), and get rid of the teacher’s unions monopoly on education.

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