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The mission of High School in 2010 and beyond

December 29, 2009

I was recently sent a copy of a New York Times Op-Ed piece about the mission of high schools in public education based on some of the language in the Race to the Top guidelines. The opinion piece notes,

No longer is it enough just to graduate students, or even prepare them for college. Schools must now show how they increase both college enrollment and the number of students who complete at least a year of college. In other words, high schools must now focus on grade 13.

To be sure, this shift is long overdue. It has been a generation since a high school diploma was a ticket to success. Today, the difference in earning power between a high school graduate and someone who’s finished eighth grade has shrunk to nil. And students themselves know, better even than their parents or teachers, according to a recent poll conducted by Deloitte, that the main mission of high school is preparation for college.

There is no doubt the economy has shifted.  The need for our students to be lifelong learners has never been greater.  The question is, what is the best way to prepare them for this uncertain future?

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