Optional 13th and 14th grades

Weird idea but hear me out: we institute an optional 13th and 14th grade to each high school that counts as a junior college. Once you finish, you have an associate’s degree. Or, you could opt to go somewhere else for college. It would ease things up for families A LOT. You wouldn’t have to go away anywhere (incurring all the costs that implies,) and most kids would get a better start in a place that’s comfortable and familiar.

As a teacher and librarian in a rural district, I can say that this wouldn’t be successful. We just got the numbers from last year’s senior class, and 56% went straight into the workforce. Of the 39% of our students that do go to an institute of higher Ed, about half are going to a trade school, and the rest want to go to a 4 year college as far away from this small town as possible. 1% of our graduates last year went into the military, and the other 4% had zero plans for after school.

In the past few years it has been extremely difficult to get high schoolers to come to school. I don’t know that most of them would want to do another 2 years unless it’s in a different location. Having 19/20 year olds hanging around a HS where there are 14 year olds is a bit weird. Personally, I don’t think it will work if it’s part of the existing school. It’s not a bad idea to make tech and trade schools more affordable or free, though!

I think this could work if the students were paid while the work. This could be part of a program that placed them into jobs. As part of the program they could repay part of the costs with their first year or two of work.

I really think we need a core to take these rural area kids and poor urban kids to expose them to the world. We have many projects we could do for others around the world or even here. A civilian peace core should be a way to bypass 13/14 grade. Travel is really powerful and we would help repair our image globally if we did this.

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Wow, that is an INCREDIBLY good idea!! I can’t believe I’ve never heard anyone bring this up before. Excellent!! :clap: I’ve got an 11th grader and three who’ve graduated recently. I just bounced the idea off my partner/their dad, and we both love this. At least 2, if not 3, of the four would have used this. Definitely. 17 or 18 is just too young for many kids to feel like they know enough about what they want to do for the rest of their lives, or even a decade, to take on all that is college and the cost. Many of them get discouraged after graduation and float from one “for now” job to another. Many are pushed out into the world too soon. And this would be a great transition option.

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Everything except them helping to pay the cost. The cost would be covered by taxes, mostly local and state. Pay-for colleges will still be around. Initially, most students will still opt for pY colleges and going away for school. But as a compromise, how about students from out if the district who want to attend the school can pay a fee (maybe grandma lives in that district or something…).


I hear you, and it would be experimental at first. My feeling (and i have nothing to actually back this up but my gut) is that once this option is made available (and yes, free breakfast and lunches first) you’ll see enrollment slowly grow, until the schools are mostly full. Many kids you mentioned do military for school money, and others who go right into the workforce might go because there’s no higher education option for them, and others might not want to go too far away, and get started slowly at there home with a local associate degree. As for 19 and 20 year olds around 14 year olds, well, there are already 18 year olds around the 14 year olds, so it would be as weird as that. But it’d be something we’d definitely need to ease into.

I’ve thought about similar options. In high school, these students are just beat down between sports, studying and jobs with little downtime and almost no freedom. Then they graduate and are eft to find their way or go to college where someone if fitting the bill and there’s fun to be found all around - and many end up wasting that great opportunity. And when I was in school you either had the choice of picking a career/voc choice which you were stuck with for the duration or going “college prep.” It would be nice if kids had time to do both. At a nearby private school, they have the kids so far ahead that by their junior/senior year they can do internships, study abroad, etc – yet again, putting the wealthy ahead.

I also think it would be great to have high school last an additional 2 years BUT only be part-time and the other 1/2 of the time, they can explore options such as voc, college, internships/apprenticeships, and maybe even attend a religious school or have a military option (i think it’s insane that these kids can’t buy a beer but can sign an 8-yr contract putting their life on the line just so they can pay for college).

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