Although the school system of quite a few developed countries graduate children at sixteen from high school, children in the US attend high school for four years. The vast majority of US teens then begin university at eighteen, either attending a two- or four-year institution. But those four years of high school don't necessarily better prepare students for higher education, as is evidenced through international standardized tests. Peers in other countries consistently outperform US teens on these tests.
New Hampshire education officials have suggested that all students should be ready for college at the age of sixteen. After a series of rigorous tests at the tenth grade, students may graduate and attend a community or technical college. If the children wish to attend a prestigious university, they may remain in high school for another two years, studying for a round of even more difficult tests.
The proposal comes because of America's worsening education system. The US enjoyed the best educated workforce in the world just forty years ago, but now ranks tenth in the world. What's worse, though, is the fact that despite efforts to reverse this trend, the decline continues. More jobs get outsourced, and the first choice for many businesses isn't always the US. Without addressing the needed changes, America will become increasingly uncompetitive on the world stage.
Opponents believe that low-income, less-educated families would likely be the ones to opt for two years of school. These children will then enter poorer schools, forever reducing their future earning potential. In time, such a system will lead to an even greater disparity between the haves and the have nots.
Preview some of the lesson material:
Title: Speculate and/or discuss the contents of today's article from its title: "Early Graduation."
Fill in the Blank: Fill in the blank with the correct word.
- Students aren't prepared for high education, as is ( ) through international standardized tests.
- Peers in other countries consistently ( ) US teens on these tests.
- After a series of ( ) tests at the tenth grade, students may graduate and attend a community college.
- If the children wish to attend a ( ) university, they may remain in high school for another two years.
- The ( ) comes because of America's worsening education system.
- Despite efforts to reverse this ( ), the decline continues.
- Without ( ) the needed changes, America will become increasingly uncompetitive.
- Low-income, less-educated families would likely be the ones to ( ) for two years of school.
- These children will then enter poorer schools, forever reducing their future earning ( ).
- In time, such a system will lead to an even greater ( ) between the haves and the have nots.
post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!
- Do you think that teenagers are ready to decide their future at sixteen? Why/not?
- If students do well on tests, does it really mean that they are ready to graduate? Why/not?
- What is the ideal age to graduate from high school? Why do you think so?
- What is the ideal age to graduate from college? Why do you think so?
- What is the education system like in your country? Please explain.
Google Search: Type "education" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.