Response to recent conversation

Commenters on the AJC Get Schooled blog had a range of reactions to districts creating accelerated high school tracks where students graduate in three years. In Dallas, these early graduates — who choose this track upon arrival at high school — generate funds the district can then use for its pre-K program. Here is a sampling of comments:

Broch: I considered this when I was in high school but elected not to. In retrospect, I was academically prepared for university after my junior year, but not socially prepared. If a student wants to graduate after three years, that’s their decision with their parent’s counsel. I bristle at the idea that a school system wants to push them out after three years so the school system can save money. That’s just the sort of wrong-headed thinking that has gotten the “ed business” into its present muddle — focusing on money rather than education.

AtlantaMom: If my youngest child hadn’t joint-enrolled at Georgia State her senior year, she probably would have been kicked out of high school. Boredom was her enemy.

Redweather: In 2011, 21 percent of ACT-tested Georgia high school graduates met all four benchmarks (English, reading, math and science) for college readiness. The national average was only slightly better at 25 percent. Math and science scores were lower than those for English and reading. However, only 48 percent of ACT-tested Georgia high school graduates met the benchmark for reading. Rather than shortening the number of years students spend in high school, maybe we should be beefing up the curriculum. Just a thought.

Class80: It would make more sense to have schools provide more advanced AP courses that could be taken by these high-powered students. Or else make it easier to take and transfer dual-enrollment credits. That would allow high school students to do productive work that would enhance their ability to get into the college of their choice, while maintaining a little of the “social maturity.” Of course, there will be no cost savings here. All voluntary, of course, nothing mandatory.

EC: Walton High School offers joint enrollment with Kennesaw State University. My youngest participated in it and benefited greatly from the experience and was a leg up when she officially went to college. My oldest did not, and we would have discouraged him from doing so as he was not mature enough to be successful. In fact, he took a year off between his freshman and sophomore years. He was far more successful in college after taking the break.

Byte: Early admission is not overly encouraged. But having a three-year track, especially for those kids doing a lot of AP work as sophomores and juniors, would raise the awareness of the options available for these kids and make at least the state colleges more willing to accept kids before they completed four years of high school.

Frogg: First off, the students prepared to do this and actually ready for college can already do it and are already doing it. No need to push it further or create new ways. They exist.

Ernest: The question becomes whether schools advise/counsel students on their options. When I completed 11th grade, my counselor mentioned I had accumulated the right credits to graduate. Ironically, there was a four-year college in walking distance from my high school. However, it was not suggested as an option for my senior year.

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