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Old 02-15-2010, 11:40 PM   #1
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Arrow In Utah, a plan to cut 12th grade

In Utah, a plan to cut 12th grade


The proposal by state Sen. Chris Buttars would chip away at Utah's $700-million
shortfall. He's since offered a toned-down version: Just make senior year optional.



DeeDee Correll
The Los Angeles Times
February 15, 2010


Reporting from Denver -- At Utah's West Jordan High School, the halls have swirled lately with debate over the merits of 12th grade:

Is it a waste of time? Are students ready for the real world at 17?

For student body president J.D. Williams, 18, the answer to both questions is a resounding no. "I need this year," he said, adding that most of his classmates felt the same way.

The sudden buzz over the relative value of senior year stems from a recent proposal by state Sen. Chris Buttars that Utah make a dent in its budget gap by eliminating the 12th grade.

The notion quickly gained some traction among supporters who agreed with the Republican's assessment that many seniors frittered away their final year of high school, but faced vehement opposition from other quarters, including in his hometown of West Jordan.

"My parents are against it," Williams said. "All the teachers at the school are against it. I'm against it."

Buttars has since toned down the idea, suggesting instead that senior year become optional for students who complete their required credits early. He estimated the move could save up to $60 million, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The proposal comes as the state faces a $700-million shortfall and reflects the creativity -- or desperation -- of lawmakers.

"You're looking at these budget gaps where lawmakers have to use everything and anything to try to resolve them," said Todd Haggerty, a policy associate with the National Conference of State Legislatures. "It's left lawmakers with very unpopular decisions."

In Utah, the opt-out proposal could prove more politically feasible.

"The bottom line is saving taxpayer dollars while improving options for students," said state Sen. Howard A. Stephenson, a Republican and co-chairman of the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee. "The more options we give to students to accelerate, the more beneficial it is to students and taxpayers."

But some education officials say they don't think the plan represents a change.

"We've always had an option in place for early graduation," said Debra Roberts, chairwoman of the Utah Board of Education, adding that it was OK to give students the choice to graduate early, but that they shouldn't be pushed to leave.

About 200 students a year take advantage of early graduation, said Brenda Hales, state associate superintendent.

Buttars, who did not respond to calls for comment, has said he would offer incentives to encourage students to graduate early.

Last week, his proposal met with approval from some who praised his efforts to cut costs, if not the plan itself.

"In a really hard economic time, we have to think of new options," said Aleta Taylor, a South Jordan mother of seven, adding that she needed more specifics before supporting the plan.

Whether the plan proves viable, it does raise a valid point about "senioritis," said William Sederburg, the state commissioner of higher education. "The thing that Sen. Buttars tapped into is that too many seniors take the senior year off," he said.

As far as high school senior Williams is concerned, 12th grade is as rewarding as a student wants to make it.

"Senior year hasn't been a waste for me," said Williams, who writes for his school paper, plays lacrosse, sings in two choirs and takes college-level courses. "If you're the type of kid who will slack off, you'd find a way to do that in sophomore or junior year anyway."
_____

Correll writes for The Times.
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Old 02-15-2010, 11:49 PM   #2
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I only had 2 classes in Sr year... English and art. Art was optional, but English was required.

Don't think I learned much that year in HS, so if other people's Sr. year are like mine, skipping 12th sounds fine to me.
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Old 02-15-2010, 11:52 PM   #3
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Wow. There's a brilliant approach. Let's save the state money by handicapping our kids to the order of a year of high school.

If kids finish the high school requirements early, that's one thing. But this is idiotic.
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Old 02-15-2010, 11:53 PM   #4
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Arrow

Twelfth grade was just as full a year of classes for me as the previous two, but that was back in 1974.
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Old 02-16-2010, 12:11 AM   #5
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My senior year was a full one too. I had what they call a "core area". It was the area of learning you wanted to specialize in. I took electronics, a few friends took business and a couple took culinary arts. It was 3 hours a day every day of the week so we had to get the rest of our classes in the other hours. In senior year in some areas you could work and get school credit as long as the job was your core area.
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Old 02-16-2010, 01:53 AM   #6
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My senior year was packed with final year mandatories & the options I NEEDED for college. If the system is tht slack, they need to re-examine requirements.

I can see an argument being made for cutting that year for those heading into voactional schools or trades that do NOT require higher level courses & many do require them. For both groups either heading for the workplace or college however, cutting that fourth year seems insane.
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Old 02-16-2010, 02:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadaSue View Post
I can see an argument being made for cutting that year for those heading into voactional schools or trades that do NOT require higher level courses & many do require them. For both groups either heading for the workplace or college however, cutting that fourth year seems insane.
Here you can't get a job cleaning toilets without a diploma or a GED. My SIL works for a local hospital cleaning the lobby. She wanted to transfer to patient transport and they told her that she can't because she doesn't have a diploma or a GED. When she was hired 20 yrs ago she didn't need one but now they do.

I think the only jobs around here where you don't have to have one is fast food.
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Old 02-16-2010, 02:23 AM   #8
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Oddly enough... I just looked up the positions waiting to be filled with my company. Cleaners & aintenance require a high school diploma. Resident managers & assistants don't have that specifically emtnioned as a requirement...LOL Here's what the qualifications state:

***1. RESIDENT MANAGERS


Our Resident Managers are responsible for:
Supervising all on-site activities in accordance to with the Skyline specificationsResolving all resident concerns, complaints &/or inquiriesDealing promptly with all prospective tenantsMaintaining the building including cleaning common areas, snow removal, small repairs, conducting monthly audits and cleaning and repairing vacant units and coordinating tradesRequired Qualifications:
A minimum of 3 years work experience in property managementAbility to communicate effectively both oral and written with tenants, prospective tenants and tradesAbility to add, subtract, multiply and divide all units using whole numbers, fractions and decimalsAbility to read and interpret documents and write routine reportsComputer literacy including Word, Excel and Outlook

2. ASSISTANT RESIDENT MANAGERS


Our Assistant Resident Managers are responsible for:
Assisting the Resident Manager’s as outlined above and taking on the responsibilities of the Resident Manager in their absence.***


To my mind it's implied but I can see someone who's older not having a diploma yet still having more than enough life skills & experience to fulfill the job requirements.
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Old 02-16-2010, 02:30 AM   #9
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I took all the AP classes I could. So when I got to Senior year, I had run out of classes to take. They required English for 12th grade, and I needed one other class to get enough credits... so that's why I had the 2. After that, I took a cab to NSU for college courses.

Seriously, highschool was a joke for me. Didn't need to pay attention to pass with flying colors. Literally no effort needed. Got my ass kicked in college though.
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Old 02-16-2010, 03:50 AM   #10
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What a comment on our educational system that kids can find nothing useful to learn in another year of the current system.

Its hard to imagine the mind-boggling irrelevancy of what we pass off as "education" any more.
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Old 02-16-2010, 05:18 AM   #11
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You know, come to think of it my experience was not so different from Jason's. I took on a heavy load in high school, so by 12th grade the only requirements for graduation were English, History, and Phys Ed. When I sat with my guidance counselor and the only other courses I wanted were Latin V (which fit into my morning schedule) and 4th year Math, she arranged for me to leave my high school at noon, take a bus into Newark, and attend Rutgers. I took Math there, and attended other classes until late in the evening. I finished my first year of college at the same time I graduated HS.

But somehow I don't think Utah is thinking about advanced placement when they want to chop off 12th grade...
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Old 02-16-2010, 09:15 AM   #12
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Depends on what they're teaching them, and how they schedule it. When I was in high school up here in the early 80s, we needed 27 credits to graduate. We had a semester system, 4 courses per semester. If you didn't fail anything, you could finish in January of your fourth year (9-12 is high school here), and leave, or take grade 13 courses (required for university).

The diversity or specialization of the courses is important, as well. I took a lot of business courses...shorthand, typing, business machines, two accounting, etc. I may have done a year of business in college, but the office and accounting jobs I took after would have been just as easy with the high school courses alone. Given what I see in schools that my kids attend now, that would NEVER happen. They just aren't being taught to do, then think...just think. They can't DO anything.
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Old 02-16-2010, 09:36 AM   #13
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Great.

Young people already have a problem doing University level work when they get there.

Too many of them have to take "Introductory" or "Basic" English or College Algebra now. Heck they even have "Basic Math Skills." That is 4 levels down from what counts as credit hours. (Basic Math, Basic Algebra, Intermediate Algebra and then College Algebra.

OMG their papers! Are they serious?

"But I put so much work into it! Shouldn't I get credit for TRYING?" **whine**bat cow eyes**

They flip out because in 15 minutes I can have an outline of a multi-page paper and get the draft of the introductory paragraphs done.
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Old 02-16-2010, 09:39 AM   #14
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What I would do.

Develop an exit high school test along with tests along the way.

You had to pass the test to graduate. Make it fair, multicultural and all of that. Make sure educators, including those from the university buy into it.

Maybe even have two tiers, one for those going to the trades/skilled crafts/other and another for college level.

But, you could challenge either test anytime you wanted. You are in the 10th and can pass? Take it and you are good to go. Child prodigy and take it at 12? I don't have a problem with that. Homeschooled and want to go to the University early? Take it and go.
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Old 02-16-2010, 11:47 AM   #15
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Pot, isn't that what your SATs are?
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Old 02-16-2010, 01:50 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Pot, isn't that what your SATs are?
No, not directly. SATs are not a test to see if you can graduate High School.

I guess a kid with a 1600 SAT could get into a University without a high school diploma but it would be rare.

On top of that some universities are "open admission", no SAT required.

Some are only using the SAT in conjunction with other information. Some "underprivledged groups" get a pass on SAT.

A lot of parents are going apesh*t when their snowflake can't get into a university on SATs even though they had 4.0 (or higher) and have taken a lot of AP courses.

There is so much grade inflation here, that even with full load of AP courses students might get into College English or College Algebra.
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Old 02-16-2010, 01:54 PM   #17
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Pot, isn't that what your SATs are?
SATs are optional--not everyone takes them.

As for me, I took the maximum class load Freshman, Sophomore and Junior year. I had enough credits to graduate and could have graduated at the end of my junior year, but my father wanted to see me walk down the aisle and get my diploma, so I didn't. (I would have gotten a diploma, but wouldn't have been allowed to participate in the ceremony) Instead, I took art courses and a psychology class the first semester of my senior year (I was done with school by 11:15 every day) and finished up one semester early--this fulfilled the requirements so that my father could see me get handed my diploma, and still allowed me work full time that whole year to save money for college.

Shari
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Old 02-16-2010, 07:53 PM   #18
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Quote:
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But somehow I don't think Utah is thinking about advanced placement when they want to chop off 12th grade...
Nope, they are thinking (again) of lowering standards to save a $$$$, and push the problem farther up the
educational ladder.
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