Posted by Dean, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on May 8, 2012 at 11:37 am
Again, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm a former mid-towner (Cubberley '67)
80% of students meeting or exceeding UC/CSU requirements is very admirable, higher than most school districts I'm sure, but that would be expected from PAUSD.
Palo Alto should recognize that not all students are college bound.
(I have one college grad, one in college, and a son who abhored the traditional learning system in HS, yet graduated, and is now is co-owner of a multi-state security alarm business headquartered in North Carolina. Each weekend in the fall he attends games at my college in Virginia and all the other college grads around our tailgate are amazed he is not a Tech grad...)
The 20% do need a viable alternate path that prepares them for either a skilled blue collar occupation that is in demand (electical, plumbing, etc.) or white collar (an entry level computer industry job requiring skills but not global aptitude).
Let's not get hung up over ethnicity. The parents of those 20% just want their son/daughter to have the skills to secure a job and/or the ability to be self-employed (e.g., course work/instruction in how to write a business plan, complete a loan app, basic business law---I remember a great busienss course Mr. Rosenberg taught along those lines at Cubberley!)
Graduating employable students in the 20% should be a worthy goal---PA is doing a fine job with the 80% who chose the college route.
Posted by Nancy, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on May 8, 2012 at 10:53 pm
My comments were removed but I have not posted on this thread prior. Error!
This is a BAD idea to consider. What about the right-brained students? Math and world language are not easy for everyone. If they make them requirements, they ought to dumb-down world language, which is doubtful. Publicize the UC requirements, but let the students decide for themselves. We are a public school district, not private. Math and world language are not required to be successful. I know plenty of nerds who are intelligent but unsuccessful.
I thought PAUSD wants to lower stress for students. Apparently not.
Posted by Different Tune?, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on May 9, 2012 at 6:03 am
Noticing a pattern here: the dissenting voices come out of the wood-work in full-force AFTER the decision basically has been made. Seriously, the Daubers and the We Can Do Better group were flooding the boards for the past three months with this idea and NOW people think it's a bad idea? I know there were some people disagreeing with them on the other threads but I wonder if this will be like the calendar change--the majority of people don't know what's happening until it's really too late and can't make an impact and then the board gets hammered by outraged people AFTER the decision has been made. The board needs to hear from everyone before they make a decision and not just assume that silence is complacence or approval. There needs to be a better mechanism for polling opinion and receiving input. Please don't assume that people not attending meetings or not posting here just don't care enough or aren't willing to put their time in, so "oh well and too bad for them."
Posted by Perspective, a resident of the Greater Miranda neighborhood, on May 9, 2012 at 6:43 am
Setting an opt-out standard to make sure every kid has on his/her schedule courses which will meet UC requirements is fine. There actually may have been a few kids in the past who "didn't know" what they should take to try for a UC. However, building in an "opt out" for kids who clearly are not on a UC path is even better.
I have no problem with this solution. Not all kids are meant for UCs ( or even colleges). My only concern is that somehow the "alternative degree" will be perceived as a "lesser" degree or a "degree for the stupid" or some such nonsense. But, there is nothing we can do about that except try to honor with our words and our deeds the fact that we need all kinds of people in our world to survive. Engineer PhDs and plumbers both have extreme value. How many PhDs can fix their leaky sink? How many plumbers can design a bridge to drive over to get to their job? How many bridge designers can actually build the bridge?
Posted by Maria, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on May 9, 2012 at 8:11 am
Attending school in Germany prior to WWII we always had the option of attending an "academic" high school preparing us for the university or a "trade" high school offering a variety of classes from bookkeeping and cooking/nutrition to carpentry and plumbing. One foreign language was required of all, starting in grade 5. This resulted in an educated labor force on all levels. And all graduates knew how to read and write, add, subtract, multiply and divide! So what's with the obsession in this country with attending college? Not everybody wants to, esp. if there are good alternatives.
Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on May 9, 2012 at 1:10 pm
Maria - I totally agree with you, but in Palo Alto, there is no real alternative after high school except college. We don't prepare our students for anything else.
If we are changing our grad requirements, they should accurately reflect what most colleges look for. For example, we require 4 years of history, colleges don't. We require living skills (which does not teach any actual "living skills" unless you were lucky enough to have Mr. Knight when he taught it.)
Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on May 9, 2012 at 3:37 pm
In addition to requiring 4 years of Social Science (the State requires 3 years, college require 2), we require BOTH Visual/Performing Art AND Career Voc Ed (State requires on or the other, college require Visual/Peforming Art. That is 2 classes that students could use to pursue something they are passionate about instead.