It's Time for a New Kind of High School
Our high schools are relics of the past. Based on an antiquated economic formula designed for the Industrial Revolution, high schools in the United States and Canada are ill-suited for the emotional and intellectual well-being of our young people and profoundly out of step with the needs of our contemporary economy. We have been tinkering with the high school formula for decades, but the recipe for innovation has yet to be written.
As academic and Phi Delta Kappan columnist Ben Levin pointed out in a paper in 2010: "Schools embody an industrial model of organization in a postindustrial world, and an authoritarian and hierarchical character in a world where networks and negotiations are increasingly prevalent." And Sir Ken Robinson, the noted international education expert, said in 2006 at the TED conference that we have been "trying to meet the future by doing what we did in the past, and on the way we have been alienating millions of kids who don't see any purpose in going to school."
Minority children and those living in poverty are not playing the game. They are dropping out. In Indiana University's 2007 High School Survey of Student Engagement , 73 percent of the respondents said, "I didn't like the school"; 61 percent said, "I didn't like the teachers"; and 60 percent said, "I didn't see the value in the work I was being asked to do." About 30 percent of the students indicated they were bored because of a lack of interaction with teachers, and 75 percent reported that the "material being...
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