"Rather than just keeping the old recipe, turning kids out of the "U" (some with degrees which are worthless), saddled with a crushing debt, let's think outside the box. After all, when we went to the 'U', is that not what was expected out of us?"
I think it is time I cleared something up. I have been accused in the past of being too hard of my alma mater, the University of Minnesota. Not only my alma mater, but my wife's also (two times). The University does produce some good things as well as some good professional people. The Schools of Pharmacy and School of Engineering are in the highest tier in the country. The School or Medicine school has made many pioneering discoveries. And the School or Agriculture never ceases to amaze. Just this week it announced it has come up with yet another apple - First Kiss.
So what is the problem then? Why do I have a beef with the "U"? Because the University of Minnesota, like so many other institutions just like it, is a dinosaur. If there is a polar opposite to being a change agent, that would be the "U". Every year the cost to attend goes up, and the recipe never changes. The "U" is always at the state legislature asking for more, more, more. Higher learning should strive to be always better, and much, much cheaper.
How so? I have discussed this issue before. The way we do our schooling today leading up to graduation, is messed up. This will hurt, but truth. Kids today are not a mature as they were fifty years ago. That is not a a slam - like I said, it is just the truth.
What to do? Change the recipe. Elementary school should be K-6. Middle school should be 7-9. Those are just tweaks - here comes the real change. High school should be 10-14. Yes, five years of high school. Three years of basic high school and then two years of advanced high school.
What good would those last two years of high school do? For starters, get kids prepared for what they want to do in life. By the time the third year of high school is over, a student should know if he or she wanted to go the college route, the technical school route, or neither.
Grades 13 and 14 (which could be called upper high school) would be focused on getting the student ready for which route he or she wanted to take. However, there would be an out. If a student chose neither college or technical school, that student would be allowed to graduate after grade 12. However, the diploma would stipulate it was a 12 year graduation and not 14.
If this is done right, by the time a student who chose the college route leaves high school, he or she should be ready to go directly into upper division. If the curriculum is done correctly in grades 13 and 14 (similar to a community college PSEO), the college bound student should NOT need to have any remedial courses - like 60% of college students do today.
Here is the cost saving. For the University not to have to prep new students in lower division like they do today, the size and the scope of the University could be significantly reduced. The cost of K-14 would be higher than the cost of K-12, but the results could and should be significant. Rather than graduating at 18, immature and not knowing much, most kids would graduate at 20, more mature, and knowing a whole lot more. They would be better prepared to jump into society and produce.
This is just one idea I have had bouncing around in my head for a while. Rather than just keeping the old recipe, turning kids out of the "U" (some with degrees which are worthless), saddled with a crushing debt, let's think outside the box. After all, when we went to the "U", is that not what was expected out of us? Just asking...