Bioscience

Panel recommends radical reform of American education

December 15, 2006

By Flinn Foundation

[Source: Lori Olszewski and Diane Rado, Chicago Tribune] — Frustrated with piecemeal school reform across the nation, a prestigious panel Thursday endorsed a radical overhaul of U.S. education, including a chance for most students to cut short their high school careers and go on to community college or vocational training. The report from the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce touches on all aspects of education, but some of its most unusual proposals would end America’s nostalgic attachment to the four-year high school.

Instead, the report calls for a rigorous 10th-grade test that would allow those who pass to leave high school after two years and go on to technical or vocational training or academic work in preparation for a four-year institution. The upper-level students left in high school would either be teens in remedial classes working to pass the exam or youngsters pursuing challenging academic work. The students working on upper-level academics would then be ready to enroll as juniors or seniors in state universities or land a spot at more elite institutions.

“It may seem radical to some Americans, but many countries do it,” said Commissioner and former Secretary of Labor William Brock of the goal of making sure most 16-year-olds are ready to leave high school for higher education. “Who would say our young people are less capable?” [Note: To read the full article, click here.]