Are students helped or hindered by more math requirements in high school?

Georgia and other states intensified high school math requirements in the belief students would ultimately benefit. Now, that assumption is being questioned.

Texas, a pioneer in requiring algebra II in high school, has joined Florida in retracting the mandate.

mathAlgebra II became a gateway course in many places after research showed it predicted college and career success. In its decision to mandate algebra II, Georgia sought to bolster the state’s historically dismal math performance. Georgia students consistently rank in the bottom quarter of states on SAT math scores.

About 60 percent of Georgia high school students who took the end-of-course test in coordinate algebra last spring failed to meet the state’s standard for content mastery. In analytic geometry, 65 percent failed to meet the standard.

Has the pendulum swung too far? Are we wrong to expect all students to master advanced math skills? Should we offer applied math classes that focus on the practical rather than the abstract?

Speaking at a panel last year, Anthony P. Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, described a growing disconnect between our education system and our economy. Citing the fervor after the 1983 “Nation at Risk” report to overhaul our schools, Carnevale said, “We made great progress on that. It has been a good thing. We are at the point where it may be too much of a good thing.”

Carnevale said schools teach an increasingly abstract math curriculum under the premise all students ought to be prepared for Harvard. What’s missing today, he said, is “a more applied education, something that students can sell in the labor market.”

That was the rationale of Jobs for Texas, an industry coalition that told the Texas Board of Education algebra II was not as important as vocational training for many of the good jobs in the state for which a college degree wasn’t necessary.

Texas school district administrators agreed, contending, as one assistant superintendent did at a public hearing, “To require these courses in high school is to deny to many students the opportunity to graduate high school because they have not mastered a sequence of mathematics courses they will never need.”

But do students need half of what they learn in high school?

How many high school graduates will ever draw on Miranda v. Arizona, atomic mass number or “The Canterbury Tales” in their daily lives?

We still teach landmark Supreme Court cases, chemistry and Chaucer to help students develop literacy and an understanding of how the world works.

We know the jobs entailing basic skills or repetitive tasks have all but disappeared, replaced by automation. What’s left are jobs that depend on critical thinking, problem-solving and the ability to work effectively with others — skills once expected of bosses and managers.

Georgia is now beginning a conversation about its single college prep diploma. The state Board of Education voted in 2007 to eliminate Georgia’s “tiered” diploma, in which there were different expectations for different students, especially those on the vo-tech track.

A few years earlier, a federal report confirmed many vo-tech students were getting a second-class education; only 29 percent of 12th grade vocational students scored “proficient” in reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, and only 9 percent were proficient in mathematics.

Georgia may have ended up with a high school curriculum that is more than some students need. However, we don’t want to return to one that is less than our students deserve.

Reader Comments 0

98 comments
Carlos_Castillo
Carlos_Castillo

Math is one of those subjects where students in other countries do so much better than American students as to see as if they live on a different planet.


Why?  What is the secret sauce?  Why can't be bring in faculty from countries where math is taught and absorbed successfully to give their opinions on what's NOT happening here? The widespread ability to understand and use applied math is, in fact, critical to maintaining an advanced industrial and technical economy.


Playing ostrich by eliminating the curriculum isn't really a satisfactory answer.


I once wrote the governor to suggest that if his people kept on reducing the "satisfactory" scores in standardized tests, then he could declare that all students in  GA had achieved the standard and he could close all the high schools and save Big Bucks.  This "kill off the course" strategy is kind of like that.


TGT88
TGT88

It's asinine and ignorant to think that all students need, or can achieve at, the level of math typically done in an algebra 2 course. Why stop at Alg. 2? Why not require calculus? And while were at it, why not require everyone to run a 4 minute mile, dunk a basketball, drive a golf ball 300 yards down the middle of a fairway, play Mozart, paint perfect landscapes, repair a transmission, and so on? Why do we think academic achievement in mathematics, chemistry, literature, etc. is all that much different than achievement in other areas? 


And no, "tracking" students at 14-18 years-old does not doom them to a particular life or lifestyle. There is a VAST amount of opportunity in the U.S. to get a good college education at most any stage of life. If some students "wake up" in a particular academic area later in life, so be it. 


"A few years earlier, a federal report confirmed many vo-tech students were getting a second-class education; only 29 percent of 12th grade vocational students scored 'proficient' in reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, and only 9 percent were proficient in mathematics."


So a report by the feds "confirms" a "second-class" education? "Second-class" by whose standards? "Proficient" by whose standards? Since when did we trust the feds to reveal such in academics? Oh yeah, since Jimmy Carter gave us another federal bureaucracy: the infamous Dept. of Education. 


How did America ever become the world's leading industrial, military, agricultural, economic, and educational power; how did we ever harness electricity, modernize communication and transportation, take flight, split the atom, invent the computer, introduce the internet, and so on, without the U.S. Dept. of Education, without requiring Algebra 2?! 

EdumacateThat
EdumacateThat

I realize this discussion is about HS math courses, but... I wanted to relate a Common Core math story to foretell what the future might be like.  Just got off the phone with my sister.  Her 4th grade son is in a good school in Mississippi.  (Yes, they have some.)  He is pretty good in math and even does additional math sheets outside of school just for the fun of it.  Well, apparently he tired of being bored in his math class and took it upon himself to ask his teacher if she could just grab him the math sheets 5th graders use.  Her answer?  "Honey, I can't do that.  We're on Common Core.  Everybody has to be on the same page."

How do we expect to be competitive if we can't even be flexible enough to recognize ability and drive?  I don't know if Common Core will make it harder to do subject-matter or full-grade acceleration, but I do know that plenty of highly-capable kids will learn to sit down and shut up.  This is a shame.

I know people consider "tracking" and "ability grouping" to be bad words, but... we are already doing some of that in MS and HS through course selection levels.  Maybe, we need to embrace this again in ES before these kids lose interest.

RichardKPE
RichardKPE

@EdumacateThat A lot of the focus is on struggling students.  You've brought out that the top students are also being neglected, and this problem only gets worse every year.


(Ironically, this is not a Common Core issue, but rather a byproduct of catering to the average.)

EdumacateThat
EdumacateThat

@RichardKPE @EdumacateThat I'm not so sure.  I think the "same page" argument is going to become more prevalent.  I just wonder what other hoops will be invented to keep the advanced learners with their age cohort.

But to your comment about catering to the average as the root cause, that is definitely true.  I have quite a lot of experience with this as I had to press to have all three of my kids evaluated to move up a full grade.  They all did and are doing quite well, both academically and socially.  I realize this is not for everyone, nor should it be, but... if the intent is to keep kids together for the sake of commonality, then I think this doesn't bode well.  Bored kids drop out too.

Lynn43
Lynn43

I still say that everyone needs a business math course.  If you want to label it a more PC name, call it Finance.  Our latest recession was caused in part by people getting home loans that did not understand the different types of interest.  No bank is going to explain that a Variable"Rate Interest is one that they can raise whenever the bank wants more money.  How about investing?  Would you blindly depend upon a Financial Advisor to handle all your investments.  What about stocks and bonds-Mutual Funds, Annuity Accounts, Municipal Bonds on which you are not taxed on the interest, etc.  Maybe some of you don't see this as important, but it was one of the most interesting and used courses that I took in high school.  I started college as an Accounting major but switched to my love-teaching.  It was with the grades I earned in Accounting that I was awarded a full four academic scholarship.  No matter how much or how little money you make, you still need to know how to plan on using it.


RichardKPE
RichardKPE

@Lynn43 Funny you should mention "Finance" because I happen to have a finance book on my desk at work (time value of money is kind of a big friggin deal).


In there we find a lot of equations, and in those equations, there are functions like summations, natural logs, and inverse exponentials, all of which are taught in...you guessed it...Algebra II.

straker
straker

taylor - "why not have a minimum requirement for all students"


That is just too much a common sense solution for those in charge here.


Don't forget, this is Georgia, and we do things the hard way.

taylor48
taylor48

This may be far too simple of a solution (I mean, I'm just a teacher), but why not have a minimum requirement for ALL students, while still offering the higher level math classes for college bound students?  For example, when I was in high school, two years of math was required for a high school diploma, but if you wanted to get into college, you needed four years.  So the school offered two basic level math courses as well as Algebra, Geometry, Trig, etc.  Students could choose the courses that best fit them and their future plans without being pigeon-holed into courses that were too difficult or ones they didn't need.  We did the same thing for science and English as well.  Offer the basic courses AND the more advanced courses and let the students (and their parents) choose what's best.  Eliminates the need for multiple diplomas and requiring everyone to be on the single college prep track.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@taylor48  That makes WAY too much sense.  So it will not be done.  It is not PC to talk about something that is akin to TRACKING.  Plus if you actually measured students mastery of even very basic subjects, you might see the graduation rate fall dramatically.  Why do you think they eliminated the GHSGT?

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@taylor48


And, your idea has the beauty of a simple design which fits the needs of every student.  I would only add that students who do not plan on attending college, should be offered the possibility of taking more technical courses for electives, just as the college bound student is offered the possibility of taking more, and more advanced, math courses (same pattern offered in all four major curriculum areas in high school).

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@taylor48 

I am retired, and thus antediluvian, but this is exactly the way that I remember high schools operating. Still seems like the fairest way to do it.

bu2
bu2

@taylor48 

And that's how it was when I was in HS in Texas, although I think 4 years of English was required.

liberal4life
liberal4life

@taylor48 

But why should they both be considered as HS diploma holders?  If colleges are not for everyone, isn't it also true that HS diploma isn't for everyone, either?

class80olddog
class80olddog

@liberal4life @taylor48  A HS diploma should be a representation of certain MINIMUM standards met.  Colleges don't admit just on the attainment of a diploma - they want to see GPA and AP courses taken, and so forth.  BUSINESSES want to see a HS diploma even for the average laborer to ascertain if they have minimum skills (yes, coming to work every day, on time, is a skill that should have been learned in HS).  What we DON'T like is to get an employee with a diploma who cannot read or do simple math.

taylor48
taylor48

@class80olddog @taylor48 But it's not tracking if the courses are open to ALL students.  When I was in Geometry my freshman year, we had seniors in the class who had decided that they did want to go to college, so they were trying to get the math in.  If I recall correctly, and it's been awhile since I was in high school, my school even offered an Algebra 1 course that took two years.  Then, student could move on to Geometry and Algebra 2 if they chose to do so.  Tracking is only an issue when we start denying students the opportunity to take the courses that they, and their parents, feel they need for their future.

taylor48
taylor48

@liberal4life @taylor48 Every year, the course guide we received before we chose our classes for the next year listed the requirements for a general HS diploma, the Academic Honors diploma (what GA would call college prep), and the basic requirements for admission to the state universities as well as the state's technical college.  A HS diploma simply says you've met the standards for graduating HS.  Colleges will look at far more than the fact you are a HS graduate.  So, yes, a HS diploma should be for everyone.  What shouldn't be for everyone is a college prep course if that's not what they want or need.  Since I don't have kids in HS, I'm just guessing, but if Algebra 2 is required to graduate, there may be a reason why our graduation rate is not rising like we would want it too.  Is Algebra 2 really a necessary requirement for ALL HS graduates?

FlaTony
FlaTony

High school math requirements are currently out of touch with reality and focus too much on the analytical and abstract. Placing all students in these kinds of math courses actually undermines the quality of instruction for those students who are prepared for and can master the advanced, theoretical mathematics. Algebra II as it is traditionally organized and taught is too abstract for many students and it is impractical in many career pathways.


Research strongly supports the teaching of mathematics with real world connections and practical applications. There are numerous technical certificates and diploma programs that require intensive mathematical skills. However, the students in those programs need more applied math than theoretical math.


Requiring all high school students to complete a sequence of math course that focuses mostly on abstract and analytic math is a mistake and it should be corrected.

RichardKPE
RichardKPE

@FlaTony First of all, math isn't exactly "theoretical" as you put it.  2+2=4 doesn't just happen in theory.  It also works in fact.


I digress.  You mention that math is taught in the analytical rather than the practical.  That's true but there's a reason for it.  If a school taught applications, there would literally be millions of things to teach, and the subject would be never ending.  Teaching the analytical side allows the student to have a knowledge base that can be applied to a specific task later.  In business world, it's the company's responsibility to bridge that link (which they're doing a real cracker jack job of doing, but that's a separate issue).


There is one place where schools start teaching applications: Master's Degree Programs.  In those programs, you see a lot of what's called "case-based teaching" that apply base theory to specific applications.  The key difference is that by then, the student is already into the career.

MathTeacher3.14
MathTeacher3.14

I tell my kids that the only use you will probably get from this math is if you probably became a math teacher. So the question is why are we learning this? I tell them because if you can solve these types of problems and come to understandable solutions, then thinking out problems in the real world will not be so hard. Math class is like PE for the brain. Of course not everyone can benchpress 200lbs of math books, oh wait, we do not print those out anymore. 

RichardKPE
RichardKPE

@MathTeacher3.14 "I tell my kids that the only use you will probably get from this math is if you probably became a math teacher."


I call this reinforcing ignorance.  You mean you can't come up with a situation where math is useful other than teaching math?  Maybe you shouldn't be a math teacher.  Maybe you should bring people into your class who can explain how it's used in the real world.  Teaching your students a skill while claiming that the skill isn't needed is probably not the greatest method.

HollyJones
HollyJones

It's not only about kids who aren't going to college.  Why do college bound kids- who aren't planning on going to Tech- need precalculus to graduate (since they have to have 4 years of math now) or calculus when they get to UGA or wherever they go?  When is that math ever used?  My 8th grader was doing something with functions on a graph- why???  When will she EVER need to do that? I get the "critical thinking" part of math, but I think even college bound kids are forced to learn concepts that they really cannot apply to the real world. 


I took my 3 years (Alg 1, Geometry, Alg 2) and college algebra at UGA.  I can honestly say that I have never used the quadratic formula or the Pythagorean theorem outside of those classes.   True, I've never been asked to analyze a Shakespearean sonnet, either.  But at least I enjoyed the sonnets.  The math was painful and frustrating.  Is that what we want education to be?


Now, understanding compound interest on a loan or credit card- THAT is the math they need.   

BearCasey
BearCasey

@HollyJones @RichardKPE  What about "students" who find reading "difficult?"  Isn't requiring courses requiring reading putting their ability to get into Harvard in jeopardy?  Whine.

RichardKPE
RichardKPE

@HollyJones  "My 8th grader was doing something with functions on a graph- why???  When will she EVER need to do that?"


No idea, but I'm betting you don't have a clue either since your 8th grader isn't exactly ready to select a career.  Take away the knowledge now, and you've eliminated choices for her later.  Have fun with that.

HollyJones
HollyJones

@RichardKPE @HollyJones No, but I know her well enough to know that she will not be in a technical field where that knowledge would be useful.  I most certainly do not want to eliminate choices for my daughter or any child, but in requiring so much higher level math that puts GPAs, and thus a student's ability to get into college in jeopardy, choices are being eliminated- but not by me.  That's my concern for my child. She is not strong in math, so if one or more of the four years required trips her up, then what??  She's penalized for not being good at functions on a graph, when she doesn't want to do anything relating to that.  How fair is that??

TaxiSmith
TaxiSmith

Such a philosophy of education fails to take into consideration the theory of multiple intelligences. Some people are exceedingly talented in math, others are outstanding artists, athletes, or writers. Not everyone is good at everything. Basic competencies in all academic areas are important,but I suspect that forcing a child to take Algebra II, Trigonometry or Calculus just to satisfy a bureaucrat's idea of what is necessary to be "educated" is  total waste of time and effort. Let the child who is an artist take more courses in art, etc. Is that so startling? Sometimes educators (especially those that make policy) are just foolish.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@TaxiSmith Those are not educators.  They don't listen to educators, or even to knowledgable policy wonks.

class80olddog
class80olddog

Of course, why don't we do something better:  make all high school graduates be able to do simple math and fractions?  We can not even do that!

class80olddog
class80olddog

Why stop at Algebra II ?  If you want ALL of our students to exceed, make them all take calculus and differential equations.  Since there is so much need for that in everyday life.  Perhaps we can get the high school graduation rate into the single digits.  Oh, that's right.  We don't care if they FAIL, just that they take the courses.  I am sure they will pressure the teachers to pass the inner-city hoodlums through their differential equations class.

RichardKPE
RichardKPE

Let's cut though the bunk here.  Read the comments, and you'll find one unmistakable trend:

Supporters of teaching Algebra 2: "Student's should be taught to think at higher levels."

Opponents of Algebra 2: "I don't remember that so the kids don't need it."

bu2
bu2

@RichardKPE 

You're missing the argument.  Its that some students can't do it, aren't interested and/or don't need it.  Some we shouldn't flunk them on something irrelevant to their future.  We should teach that subset of students what they need instead of what we want to teach them.

RichardKPE
RichardKPE

@bu2 @RichardKPE Think very carefully about your statement:


Can't do it - Really?  Or is it that you have a garbage teacher who can't teach.  Not an issue when discussing cirriculum standards.


Aren't Interested - So if I'm not interested in a course, I don't have to take it?  Nice.  We'll have kids finishing school before they can ride a bike.


Don't need it - And you know this how?  Basically you're telling a kid "hey, we're not making you take pre calculus because we don't think you need it.  Oh and if you decide later on to go into the music, electronic or construction industry, sorry."

RichardKPE
RichardKPE

@bu2 @RichardKPE Oh, and should we flunk them for not learning the material?  A million times YES!


Do you have tasks at your job that you're not interested in doing?  Don't do them and you flunk your job (i.e. get fired).

bu2
bu2

@RichardKPE @bu2 

They can take it if they want.  Noone is telling them they can't.


They know more about their future than Richard Woods or the members of the state school board.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@RichardKPE  So if you think that Algebra II is a "minimum requirement" for a HS diploma, then mastery of Algebra II should be required and any who do not master it should be a "drop-out".  Is that what you want?

Mirva
Mirva

Algebra II became a gateway course in many places after research showed it predicted college and career success” 


This is the chicken and the egg argument.  Were students successful in college and career BECAUSE they took Algebra II or did they take and pass Algebra II because they were successful? Teachers cannot MAKE a student successful, or smart, or caring or determined or give real self esteem.  We can HELP, we can encourage, we can push and lead and light the way, but we can’t do it for them or make them into something other than what they are. 


concernedoldtimer
concernedoldtimer

I am retired, have a PHD and never had math beyond Algebra II and 101 math in college.....not everyone needs much more than that.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@concernedoldtimer 

Another testimonial. I also have a Ph.D. I had to pass Trig in high school as a college requirement, but needed Remedial Trig after school to squeeze through. (Thank you, MIss Rosenbaum, for your generosity in shrugging and passing me.) In college, I took Symbolic Logic instead of a Math core course---so I didn't even have 101 math. But as a retired Full Professor from one of Ga.'s research universities, I have found things worked out OK even so.

bu2
bu2

@OriginalProf @concernedoldtimer 


Right.  Not everyone will be a STEM major.  I'm in the finance field and use math a lot.  But the only time I used my HS Trig was in my college calculus class.  And I never used my college calculus (which I found easy).  I never used that college symbolic logic either.  Statistics is what I use a lot.  There's a limited amount of Algebra II I use despite being in a heavy math field.  No imaginary numbers or logarithms.


So while I needed to take Algebra II, there is absolutely no need for someone who is not intending to go to college to have to pass it to get out of HS.

bu2
bu2

Its vastly better for those students to have a HS diploma than to have had a year of Algebra II which they didn't understand and be in the work force without a HS diploma.

anothercomment
anothercomment

The most ignorant decision this backwards State ever made was going with a one track diploma, a college prep diploma. How on earth can any State expect that 100% of the students will go on to college, when only 50% of the population have a 100 IQ. You really need an IQ of 100 or higher to be college material.

Then top this off with the idiot history teacher, Kathy Cox who knew nothing about Math, switching to Math 1,2, 3. a failed program that all the top states had dismissed as a failure at least ten years ago.

We need single high school districts which share a full time Vocational school with another district. Jr. And Sr. In the VO tech program go to the VO tech school 1/2 day. Upon graduation they are ready to be auto mechanics at your local dealers ( they donate the high tech diagnostic equipment), medical assistant, Carpentry, HVAC, electrical, culinary arts. This helps eliminate the whole vulture for profits like ITT, Brown, Mackey, etc... This works I have two siblings that did this. My brother went for Automechanics, but has ended up running high tech printing presses, for ever ready battery packages ( his company does US postage stamps). He has worked steady for over 31 years with the same company running the 3 rd shift presses. He has never made less than $26 hr. He ussually make $100k a year with overtime. My sister Did the culinary arts, then got a two year degree in hotel management, followed by 2 years at the Culinary Insitute of America. ( she met her husband there, he is a top chef) although she has worked in an elite country club and in fine dining along with her husband, she has preferred to make wedding cakes for professional athelete and celebrate customers, while raising 4 kids.

'My high school had and has 98-99% graduation rate because it offers a strong vocational program as well as college bound ( Regents ) and Now ( AP regents ) .

popacorn
popacorn

@anothercomment When the 'under 100 IQ' bunch starts to naturally separate out, the school will be deemed racist. 

EdumacateThat
EdumacateThat

I've read all the comments so far, and while I agree with most, I would also like to mention that the lack of "mastery" MD alluded to is also due to the fact that the current math courses suck.  Yep, they truly suck.  This is definitely a case of integrated math gone awry.  Mastery requires time.  There are way too many topics to cover in these courses and they are arranged in such a way as to give a kid whiplash.  Coordinate Algebra (sic) and Analytic Geometry (sic) are not what they profess to be.  Ask any HS math teacher about this ping pong math.  I don't think they're big fans.

New New Math (Integrated horse hockey) has been a disaster since Kathy Cox had a brain fart.  I suspect Common Core math courses won't be much better, especially since some of the "team" that worked on them refused to sign for their release.  Kind of a well-kept secret from the CC crowd.

What to do?  If it were up to me, I'd purify these courses back to their discrete topics (algebra, geometry, statistics, etc.) and then give kids different pathways on how to get where they're headed.  Reintroducing business-based math is a very good idea, as well.

OldPhysicsTeacher
OldPhysicsTeacher

It only took how many years before we "discovered," AGAIN, everybody does NOT need to go to a university?  God, the idiocy of the legislature and "Educational Researchers."  And if those two words are not an oxymoron...  

newsphile
newsphile

@RichardKPE @OldPhysicsTeacher   Current teachers and leaders in SUCCESSFUL school districts are not allowed at the planning table.  They are the ones who could lead us out of this mess.  Instead, we repeatedly let politics control our schools.  If you don't believe me, follow the money.

RichardKPE
RichardKPE

@OldPhysicsTeacher And just who do you want making that decision?  The legislature (oh geez), the parents (all think their student is the next Einstein), or the student (at 14-years old)?

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

"Georgia may have ended up with a high school curriculum that is more than some students need. However, we don’t want to return to one that is less than our students deserve."

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Every student is unique.  Every student should be taught where he/she is functioning on the continuum of mathematics and reading skills.  When students are not taught where they, individually, are functioning, school systems get disastrous results, such as 65% of students failing an algebra course.


When educators are unaware of instructional principles, they create unwise educational situations, such as when 65% of students are misplaced in algebra, in which those misplaced students are bound to fail.


On Mastery Learning: https://maryelizabethsings.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/about-education-essay-1-mastery-learning/

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Correction: 60% failed the algebra course; 65% failed the geometry course

liberal4life
liberal4life

Why not have two different types of secondary schools?  Students are not required to attend schools after they turn 16, I believe.   They don't have to go to HS.  If they choose to go to HS to pursue HS diploma, then they should meet the HS graduation requirements.  But, allow those who want to pursue different tracks to go to different types of secondary schools - I guess those are what we used to call vocational schools.  Maybe we should allow kids who turn 16 to enter Chattahoochee Tech or something similar.

RichardKPE
RichardKPE

@liberal4life Just so you know, if a 16-year-old chose the vocational path and wanted to go to college later, he'd never get accepted.  Your idea shoehorns a 16-year-old into a permanent career path.

bu2
bu2

@RichardKPE @liberal4life 

There's no need to have separate high schools, just don't make everyone take the same courses. 

I don't see any need to have separate diplomas either.  Just make sure students know what colleges require. 


Not taking these courses doesn't stick them forever in a permanent career track.  Community colleges have a lot of basic courses.

anothercomment
anothercomment

You need to do some research into what other states offer. Google East Aurora BOCESOn Center Street in East Aurora, NY. It is the shared Votech school for the East Aurora Independent School District and the Iroquois Central High School district.

These are both one high school districts, where suburban turns to rural. They are both NEWSweek TOP 1000 school districts. The average house in the average house in these districts cost under $200k. This is a village atmosphere with income stratiphication throughout the community. Instead of government or developer made blight caused by building large concentrations of apartments, that become transient and un maintained.

liberal4life
liberal4life

@RichardKPE @liberal4life 

If that was their choice, they have to live with the consequence - whether they get a GED first before going on to a college.  If they think they might change their minds, then they should go on to a HS.  Having multiple diplomas has exactly the same problem - if you get a "vocational" diploma, you probably aren't prepared to go on to a college later.

Of course, if you don't want to "shoehorn" a 16-year-old, then we make them all go to a college prep.