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Non-continuous public school

Public provision of 13 years of school; stop or skip as convenient
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(Sadly US-centric; here, even halfbaked ideas might help.)

Currently, the US standard of providing 13 continuous years of public school works mostly for kids who learn at exactly the expected rate. Not good for kids who are unusually distracted by adolescence (or other flaws in the human condition); little incentive to learn as fast as possible. (Early entrance to college gets even less help in tax & loan outlines than private secondary education, or college at the "normal" time, does.)

We should promise each kid 13 years of education. Some will drop out at twelve and want to go back to community college at eighteen; some will get their GEDs at twelve and need help with college.

Things that need tuning; *any* accredited schooling, or an amount sufficient for the average public school of its kind, or what? Vocational ed.? Also, we don't want to actually encourage kids to drop out early, only to return after they've done so.

Added, 18 Sep. because the second paragraph doesn't seem to have gotten this across: 13 years of public school doesn't mean just that *same* school we currently publicly provide, but whatever education the open ear, like a hungry shark, is ready for. This would include college and/or university for the speedy.

hello_c, Sep 08 2000


       Such a plan should be flexible enough to take into account students who learn faster than the average rate.   

       As a result of a self-paced education program I actually finished high school at the age of 14. Due to accreditation mixups with the public school system, I wound up taking several courses over again (albeit with 90-98% average grades). A provision for 13 years of school would've saved me a few years of grief.
BigThor, Sep 12 2000

       Yeeesss..... the original description is half devoted to the benefits for fast learners. I hope you didn't generally gain speed at the expense of comprehension; outside standardized tests, you can't assume that a paragraph carries no information past it's first clause.
hello_c, Sep 15 2000

       I would hope that BigThor had more than 9 years of education total. The repetition of "college" in my second para. was meant to indicate that, for speedy students, the first year or more of college would be publicly paid too.   

       I don't think we can guarantee any level of education, because you can't make that horse drink; some people are unwilling and some unable.   

       I suspect that if we threw rancourous adolescents out of school, but made sure they were welcome back as soon as they were ready to learn, we'd have more citizens educated to the best of their ability and less strain on the schools.
hello_c, Sep 18 2000

       I think the biggest issue should be better incentive for doing well. I scored mid-to-upper 90% on every test, and I understood all the work we were supposed to do, but I'll be damned if I didn't hate school more than anything else. I barely graduated because I only went to school a few times a week due to the fact that I hated it more than anything, plus I didn't see anything special about good grades. To me, they were just a sign of not having any fun.
AfroAssault, Sep 19 2000

       Well, what kind of incentive would have worked for you, AfroAssault? Money? Getting out earlier? Designing your own course? Propose it as a halfbaked idea.
hello_c, Sep 19 2000

       I like this. One tricky area, though, is finance -- all schooling does not cost the same, so that the kid who spends thirteen years in a cheap, poorly-funded public school gets much less, resource-wise, than the superstar who finishes high school at eighteen months and then spends a decade at Harvard (or even a state university) Medical School.   

       Do students continue to get part-funding for a few years afterwards, on the subsidised-but-not-free tuition model common in North Ameica? Maybe after twelve years or so there could be a sliding rate of state provision -- 90%,, 80%, etc.   

       But wait. The point was that it would be possible to stop and start again without hassle. That would be good.
Monkfish, Nov 01 2000

       Monkfish - The problem you propose sounds like part of the solution to AfroAssault's. School ought to get better the farther one gets, if only because it's more profitable, or more particular to one's interests.   

       So the next bit of the problem would be encouraging useful education (useful to....? That's a *hard* question!) instead of perverting schools' admissions and expulsion standards.
hello_c, Nov 01 2000

       In response to the funding question: Perhaps a certain per-pupil budget could be set. Of course, certain types of education cost more than others, so merit-based grants could also be offered for the "early college student" cases.   

       Another (related) idea: it could be assumed that those who spent less than their full education buget or used less than their full years might have made less money in the intervening years before resuming education. I propose that a slightly larger amount be allowed them, to be about equal to the intrest if the money was well-invested. This would make it easier for low-earners to go back to better schools, and compensate some for inflation.
badoingdoing, Nov 01 2000

       Per-pupil budget... hmmm; both ends of the spectrum - seriously remedial and seriously advanced - seem more expensive than the middle. (are they?) I'd rather just promise everyone tuition to whatever accredited school they qualified for, in the assumption that their own self-interest would nudge them to develop their talents.   

       This might lead to an algal bloom of easy vocational school scams, or indeed of easy 'academic' school scams; although many high-school programs seem to qualify on one or the other count already.
hello_c, Nov 02 2000

       Maybe I'm missing the point but wouldnt it be a lot easier if *everything* was free, like it is here.
imagooAJ, Nov 02 2000

       Where's your 'here'? How is school paid for there? Do people often go back for retraining?   

       I did apologize for being US-centric, and do again.
hello_c, Nov 07 2000

       You cheery fellows have lots of good ideas. I suggest a university system: the kids take whatever courses match their abilities. If a kid can handle 11th grade math while in first grade, then all the better. Most of the time, however, kids will probably take courses of a similar level. Have a core curriculum and electives. Graduation will depend on satisfying the core requirements and not on passing a grade level. Kids who want to take more hours at once can do so, and pass slower or faster as they please or are able. I would suggest the government supporting 12 years of this public school, but not supporting college itself. That's a different dimension of education and is not for everyone.
Vance, Jan 29 2001

       I'm all for this. I really need some time off to pursue some of my personal projects. may be i can get some credit for them, such as reserch project or fine arts project.
synergy~, Oct 19 2003

       The cost of paying for public college tuition, for the few students who qualified within the 13-year limit, would likely be outweighed by the those students' disproportionately large contributions in later life.   

       Another key issue is how to deal with older students needing grade-school level remedial classes. They could bring valuable perspective ("I lost my job because I couldn't do fractions") but the first time a 30-yr-old returning student gets a 15-yr-old classmate pregnant I'd expect an uproar. So we'd probably need separate remedial classes for older students. Still, it's got to be cheaper than prison, and community colleges already have much of the infrastructure in place.   

       Send this one to your favorite legislator!
Ford, Dec 06 2007


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