In 2006, the commission for the National Center on Education and the Economy proposed changes to the structure of high school. Their report, “Tough Choices or Tough Times,” calls for “restructuring school systems to save money and redirecting those savings toward elements such as universal prekindergarten and higher teacher salaries.”
Businessmen and politicians express concern that American students rank so low in math and science when compared to other industrial nations. The US is 21st in high school graduation statistics. The commission’s 2006 report aims on “getting our best and brightest to achieve at very high levels, to be the drivers of new ideas and entrepreneurial approaches.” Now three states are willing to try some of the suggestions put forward two years ago.
Massachusetts, Utah, and New Hampshire are among the first to implement some radical reforms. For instance, in its ten year education plan, Massachusetts includes teacher-created schools, similar to charter schools, that would still allows for local funding under the regular school system. The National Education Association advocates such a change because it gives teachers more control over their professional environment.
New Hampshire is considering allowing the state’s sixteen year olds to graduate early to attend college or career training. “After passing a state board exam, they could take demanding college-prep courses or enroll in community college. Those who didn’t pass could get help in their problem areas and then try again.” The funds saved by allowing those students to move ahead could be allocated to other sectors of the education budget.
Utah has created an initiative to address the low rate of post-secondary education. More than half of the state’s students do not attend college. Moreover, half of those who do go on stay for only one year. Recommendations for how to integrate education and employment should be ready in the early part of the new year.
Entrepreneurship can repair a floundering system only if archaic ideas and practices do not interfere.