05 November 2012|
Does high school prepare students for adult life and the years beyond? With the high school drop out rate so high, many would agree that it does not. Some high schools such as Massachusett students have taken matters into their own hands.
Each school established a student-run council, aged 15 to 17. Their guidance counselor served as their adviser. Unlike a normal public school, there were no grades. Teachers simply provided advice. Instead, students monitored and helped one another. At the end of each semester students gave evaluations of their classmates.
This new high school was named the Independent Project. Students’ main focus wasn’t on textbooks: it was more about the freedom of learning and helping each other with the material given.
During the first half of the year students answered and created questions on the natural and social world. They talked about each question, found ways of gathering information from each subject, and voiced opinions. The second half of the year consisted of “Literary and mathematical arts.” Novels that rivaled those read by A.P. English classes were chosen and read. Students also learned a variety of mathematical topics, from quadratic equations to the numbers behind poker.
Throughout the year students chose and “individual endeavor,” skills like learning to play the piano or cook, and preformed them in front of the entire student body and faculty.
What if Peninsula became like the Independent Project? Would students continue to achieve such academic succession? Would motivation disappear because there are no longer any grades? I do not agree with the idea of an Independent Project. School would no longer be taken seriously. Yes, they would be learning from each other, but students would not get the same education material as other schools. What would colleges think of a student that applied to their school, without any record of grades, but came from this type of self-learning school?