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Texas Ends High School Early


School’s out for summer—school’s out forever!?

Dallas high school juniors may soon find themselves singing that tune because of a plan by district officials to develop a three-year high school diploma. State legislators recently passed a bill that would allow officials to transfer funding set aside for a student’s unused senior year to students in pre-K programs. The New York Times reports:

The plan will enable the district to finance full-day pre-K programs at a rate of two children for every three-year high school graduate, [Dallas district trustee Mike Morath] said. It could also result in savings from what he called a “slightly reduced need” for high school staff members.

“It’s a way to start thinking about the system differently,” said [Morath] who promoted the three-year concept. “Do we view education as schools and buildings and first grade and second grade and third grade? Or do we view education as a way to enrich the lives of young people, and do we start taking these institutional blinders off and thinking about it more creatively?”

This is excellent news. The rank-and-file assembly line approach to public schools has long gone stale, and it’s in dire need of innovation. Dallas’s plan is one option, a prime example of our “time served” vs. “stuff learned” model. High-performing students will be able to get a head start on college or whatever else they choose to do post-graduation, rather than be forced to sit through another year of school for arbitrary reasons. And lower-performing students, those for whom college is likely not in the works, will be able to spend that year in vocational training—learning a skill that will enable them to reach financial independence that much faster.

This plan still needs to be approved by the state’s education commissioner, and it’s too soon to tell if it will work. But it’s good to see that different states and different districts within them are trying new approaches to education. Our country is far too vast and far too diverse for a top-down, one-size-fits-all education model. So to innovations like this one, we say: more please!

[Image of Texas state flag on chalkboard courtesy of Shutterstock]

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  • Marvel Goose

    If memory serves, High School used to end in the 11th grade until a change was made in the depression to keep an entire class in school one more year to keep them off the job market. Nothing new was added: they just spread it over more years.

  • Boritz

    There should be a court order to block this until a study is done to determine how it will affect the football program.

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