Fundamental Change to Our Educational System
I am not a professional educator, however I have seen changes in our school system over the years. It seems to me that we are attempting to use a cookie cutter style to our educational system. We have gotten away from the basics and have become more concerned with teaching in order to pass mandated tests. As opposed to teaching for students to learn basics and then a set of skills. All kids are not the same, they learn differently, this is why teachers are needed. Teachers need to learn the kids and the way they learn best. Then use that information to assist them in the learning process. As I said not all kids are cut out for college prep. Programs have been cut to save money, such as auto repair classes, carpentry and other vocational shop programs. This may explain the high drop out rates.
I would like to see the basics taught from K thru 8th grades, with a variety of shop/vocational classes given in the 7th and 8th grades. At the end of the 8th grade give the kids a test to see if they are more inclined to college prep courses, of vocational courses. These test results are given to the child and parents to make a decision if their child would remain in a college prep high school or go to a specific vocational high school. A majority of the auto class kids I went to school with became mechanics and did well for themselves. With out this option many of our kids see vocational jobs as demeaning and end up dropping out of school to either hang with gangs or go to work.
To set up vocational schools would be expensive, but their are other options. A school district could either set up shops and programs in all the trades and allow the public to have the kids work on their vehicles, electrical work, masonry, or any other trade. This would allow the people to get work done at a reduced cost and give the kids experience. The schools could partner with private companies to teach and train the kids. No matter which system is used at the end of the 12th grade the vocational student would receive a journeyman card or what ever the appropriate certification would be required.
I have heard of various joint ventures between schools and business to give specific training to kids and they have done well. This system of vocational training could be used for clerical jobs, all the building trades and any other job that requires a certification and is basically a hands on job.