In my 15 plus career in education, I see plenty of lost students wandering the halls every day in their high school. I usually probe the situation with these students. I like to ask them why they are not engaged in their classes at that moment. Some of them think I am accusing them of doing something wrong and not answer. A few will tell me their truths. Those few will tell me they are bored. They say are not getting anything out of the class. Answers like the subject has nothing to do with what my interests are given a lot. “I get A’s on the tests and I can learn it on my own.” is one I also get a lot.
I work with a sophomore who is not enjoying school at all. He is focused on a few things including becoming an entrepreneur. He told me he skips his math class a lot. I asked him why and he told me that he gets A’s on all the tests while never doing homework. He showed me his online grades and it was clear this kid was acing tests while his homework grade was low. I have trouble with this type of grading. You may be asking why is this kid not going into the next level of math (which in this case would be Trigonometry)? I see that thinking and want to ask, does one really need Trigonometry? I know what this kid wants to pursue, he won’t need it at this time of his life.
I did some research as to why a Sophomore in high school wouldn’t just take a General Education Development test. The reason is because they can’t. I want to ask why not? States have different rules and regulations for taking a GED exam. Most say a student has to be 18 years of age. In some cases a person who is 17 and has permission from that state Superintendent of Education can take it as well.
Why all the red tape? Wouldn’t it serve a large portion of our unengaged students well to have them take the GED earlier in their high school years and finish out in elective courses such as the arts, music, business, or anything which they can learn more while being more engaged? I realize it would be a difficult thing to change but that is no excuse for not trying at all. Think about how much more our students could learn who are not built to learn in a traditional system.