Home > Curriculum Reform > High School Curriculum Needs to be Changed

High School Curriculum Needs to be Changed

As you enter college as a freshman do you think that college will be a breeze like high school? I used to think like this till I began to work in Morehead State’s tutoring lab. While working as a tutor, I would tutor students whose high schools didn’t prepare them for college in the math. Sometimes I wonder if these students even completed their senior year in high school. The reality is “Colleges and universities complain bitterly that professors are now forced to add remedial courses to teach incoming freshmen how to write simple sentences and to compute basic mathematical formulas” (Clark) and “About three-quarters of the 17,500 freshmen at the community colleges this year have needed remedial instruction in reading, writing or math, and nearly a quarter of the freshmen have required such instruction in all three subjects. In the past five years, a subset of students deemed “triple low remedial” — with the most severe deficits in all three subjects — has doubled, to 1,000.” (Foderano) Colleges say that in order to fix this problem, the standards in high school curriculum needs to be set to college level and according to some high school administrators, “[this] is long overdue.” (Potter)

In the past the U.S. economy was primarily industrial. In this economy an employee didn’t have to posses a lot of higher level skills but the economy the U.S. has now is a technological based economy. According to Clark, “… American workers [of today’s economy] must have higher-order capacities. They must be able to communicate complex messages, [and] organize their own teamwork ….” These higher-order capacities can only be possessed if the employees attend college level classes. This in turn forces a change of standards for incoming employees. Since the current U.S. economy has changed so must the standards of employment. However, “As things are, state standards are developed without reference to college standards, said David T. Conley, an associate professor of educational policy ….” (Potter) This is crazy! How do you expect the economy to keep running if the new employees don’t possess the skills needed in order to do their job? The answer is you can’t.

One opposing question to setting up a college curriculum in high school is: won’t the curriculum change from state to state? (Finn) This is a really good question. The answer is yes; the curriculum to some degree would change from state to state because in each state certain colleges specialize in different careers and degrees. For instance the University of Kentucky specializes in more general degrees and pre-professional programs but Colorado School of Mines specializes in more technical degrees and studies. So, the curriculum would change from state to state. Yet, whether a student moves to a different state or not is irrelevant because the core curriculum that colleges are looking for in incoming freshman are the same. Since all colleges are looking for a freshman that can write an average essay, know how to do basic mathematics, and can read in-depth material then moving states doesn’t matter because the core curriculum in the high schools are the same.

Another opposing question to setting up a college curriculum in high school is what about the students attending vocational schools? Since these students aren’t going to traditional colleges why do they need to bother with what these colleges expect? Normally you would think that this doesn’t apply to these students, but this does apply. If these students were to have the skills a traditional college expects then the student could use this knowledge as a stepping stone for a vocational degree or a traditional college degree. Your right when you become a welder then you are not going to use knowledge of how a well formatted essay is written or how well you can spell in your daily job. However, as a welder you do need to know Basic Math and Basic English in order to do your job right. You’re probably wondering how? Well, as a welder you need to know how to determine the lengths of different sides when all you have is an angle in order to weld two pieces of steel at a certain angle, but for this you need Basic Math. Also, there may come a time in your job in which you will have to write an essay for a promotion. If you don’t possess Basic English skills then say good bye to that promotion. If you don’t have this knowledge then you’re not going to get that promotion and no person is going to want to hire you if you can’t give your customer what he or she asked for.

The final question that needs to be addressed is how much effort do we as a nation need to invest in this change? In my opinion we need to invest a lot of time because this is not going to be a quick fix. This will take a little while to come up with the curriculum and implement it. If we don’t invest a lot of time in this then no change will occur and the problem will still be there. Therefore, with the American people working hard to change raise high school curriculum to college level then colleges will not have to teach remedial classes and will strengthen the American economy and the nation as a whole.

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Categories: Curriculum Reform
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