Alternative Approach to High School: The University Model

Note: Most of this posting is based on an earlier blog posting by Bruce Hall

High Schools Too Often Are Used as Daycare Facilities for Overgrown Children

The educational system in the US is geared to produce lifelong adolescents, possessing few practical life skills, if any. The entire journey from K thru 12th grade is generally wasted for most students, leaving them almost wholly unprepared for either life in the real world, or a meaningful expedition through higher education.

At best, only 25% or fewer of high school students are qualified by aptitude and disposition for a rigorous 4 year college education. Of that 25%, fewer than half are given an adequate preparation for a meaningful college education. Most are provided with little more than the equivalent of high school aged daycare.

The image above contrasts the traditional approach to high school with broadly alternative approaches. It is a wasteful and whimsical form of “wishful thinking” for high schools to shunt most students into a college prep format, when the real world is in need of highly skilled, competent, and open-minded (not politically correct) youth who have been trained to think and act for themselves.

Meaningful Education is Too Often Deferred Until the College Years

But there is nothing magical about the learning processes required for college level coursework. If students have not learned to learn by the college years, it is too late for most who have instead learned destructive habits of thought during the earlier school years. Alternative approaches to High School and earlier schooling is therefore becoming a desperate need for modern societies, which cannot afford to waste its dwindling human resources.

University Model for High School Education

[The University Model for High Schools] is designed to appeal to the varied interests of students while having sufficient academic challenges in the areas of reading and language skills, mathematics, and science within each “college”. Certainly, this is meant as a concept for further work and refinement, but I have long felt that the traditional organization of high school was for the convenience of the educators as opposed to the education of the students.

Don’t construe the “colleges” as isolated; students would still have the opportunity to take courses within those other units that they felt [along with counselors] augmented their primary coursework.

Imagine the Lake Orion High School described in yesterday’s post with this University Model. It is an ideal candidate. The facilities are among the best. The present curriculum offers innovative alternative courses. It is just a step away from the school of the future… and showing other schools how it can be done.

The world is changing… perhaps it is time for high schools to change. ___

Bruce’s rough sketch of the university model for high schools is based upon the idea that young people should not be forced to conform to the “insider educators'” viewpoint of how youth should be educated. The current system shunts a flood of unprepared and unqualified students to a university system that is becoming overwhelmed by the need for remedial education. As a result, social promotion is becoming common — even in elite colleges — and a growing number of universities are becoming very expensive “daycares for young adults.”

But isn’t this pathetic?

Here there are 18-year-old adults, with rights to vote and their older, “I feel your pain” frame-of-mind faculty, who, the university administration believes, must be pampered because – horror! – “academic performance can bring up many emotions”.

Poor, poor babies.

Other young people their age are enlisted in the army; sent overseas; working in farms, factories, construction, mines and oilfields. Non-academics toil hours in factories, in freezing streets, in hospitals, cutting trees, driving buses and trains – but academia is singled out for the emotional toll working with – presumably – young adults, already selected for their superior skills.

Working youth risk their lives and pay taxes, as do many adults not employed by academia or other subsidized entities. And what do universities worry about? That their heavily subsidized students and faculty suffer disproportionate emotional distress in need of accommodation. ___

One’s immediate reaction may be: Shame on universities — faculty, staff, and administration! But today’s faculty, staff, and administration are merely the products of the day before yesterday’s K-12, and the effluent of yesterday’s colleges.

It took over 60 years of intentional dumbing down to get to this point. Forget that. It is time to focus on what can be done to stop this corrupt process in its tracks, and create newer alternatives that benefit children, youth, and young adults.


Costs of remedial education in higher ed [PDF] (before the turn of the century, when things really went bonkers!)

How much “university daycare” can you buy with $1.31 trillion?

This entry was posted in Education, High School, University and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Alternative Approach to High School: The University Model

  1. Aletha says:

    This is a very important article. Our newspaper recently had an article related to this subject on teaching personal finance management in High School. I also think that we out to consider more deeply the Montessori method of training young people. I am personally regretting that I started a family without knowing how to raise and help children.
    ____A Mom.

Comments are closed.