A 21st Century Education

Despite the negative headlines there are a lot of positive things going on in American education. School systems and states are making major adjustments to help students, especially high school students, be prepared for college and the eventual entrance into the information age workforce.

Some school systems are offering online classes that students can take to complete their requirements for graduation. Some of these classes are electives and not necessarily available in a traditional classrooms. Students who are in jeopardy of dropping out can utilize the online classes in order to obtain their diploma.

Early entrance to college has been available to a select few students in the past, but with new programming in several locations, it will open up the doors for many more students to begin taking college classes while still in high school. For students who are motivated, but don’t necessarily have the skills to begin taking more challenging college courses, reading and math classes are available to help the student get up to speed. Amazingly, an algebra class is being held right now, during the summer months at a college in North Carolina, and 35 eager students are taking the course in order to be prepared for the state’s new early college entrance program starting this fall. Did I mention they are taking Algebra during the summer months-on purpose? This is not a remedial summer school type class that they previously failed and have to retake.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in partnership with others is giving millions of dollars to create small high schools of up to 200 students in order to give more individualized attention to meet the students needs. Many high schools in major metropolitan areas can have 1000 or more students. It is the hope of the foundation that these types of small schools will help to raise the graduation rate, and according to their website: “Help all students—regardless of race or family income—graduate as strong citizens ready for college and work.”

These initiatives and others are exactly what the American education system needs, to flee from the educational mold of the past 100 or so years that worked then, but is clearly not working now! Innovative ideas and collaborative efforts between institutions of learning and communities will clearly help motivated students achieve academic and professional success.