We often hear trite complaints of how high school didn't prepare someone for the 'real world'. Which better NOT be about teachers, because we know how underpaid and overworked they are. Anyways... Florida's public school graduation requirements are actually quite sensible. So what are we losing in translation? Let's start with what's currently in place.
There are three main pathways for students: 24 credit program, 18 credit career prep, 18 credit college prep. But I'm going to focus on the 24 credit for the purposes of this article. (1 credit usually equals one year) Each student must complete:
More detail of this breakdown can be found here.
To me, that seems straight forward. I mostly approve of Florida's requirements because I think certain core classes are necessary for each student to complete. If a student wants to take an 18th century archery course before taking World History, they probably need a reality check. Additionally, 8 electives seem generous; this type of fluid credit requirement structure will prepare students for higher education structures that mimic this credit hour system. So if we're complaining about unnecessary high school classes, we need to talk about which electives schools are offering.
Truthfully, I was pleasantly surprised. I expected to find out-dated, unhelpful elective options. Rather, I've been finding impressive course options across the state...
Some of the technical/career development electives offered:
Some of the common sense/life skills electives offered:
However, they aren't always available. Offering electives greatly depend on:
I think the common complaints revolved around fulfilling academic/testing standards rather than focusing on 'real life' skills. After talking to some peers and colleagues, I've gathered these ideas to reshape our courses:
Ideas for course offerings:
Florida's school system seems to have adjusted to our more recent reliance on technology. So to keep up with our ever-changing society, we need to keep our standards high, but versatile. Florida schools need to ensure students' needs are being met, which may have to be determined on a school-by-school basis. Whether a district needs more computer technology or more auto mechanics, our high schools should be adaptable.