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Article: 2 in 5 High Schools Don't Offer Physics

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http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/08/24/2-in-5-high-schools-dont-offer.html

 

"2 in 5 High Schools Don't Offer Physics, Analysis Finds

Physics, as champions of the subject will remind you, is the cornerstone of many professions, including those in engineering, health care, aerospace, and architecture. And for students hoping to pursue those and other science, technology, engineering, and math fields during college, getting a jump on physics during high school is all but a requirement.

Yet, across the country, 2 in 5 high schools don't offer physics, according to an Education Week Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Education's office for civil rights.

"

 

  Wow - I would definitely outsource if that was our situation.

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Yes, many of my science and engineering students from not-so-big (but not even tiny) towns tell me that their high schools did not offer physics.

It is pathetic.

 

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Picking up chin from floor.

 

ETA: That headline also plays with statistics. While 2 in 5 high schools don't offer physics, they are high schools that have an average size of 270. The average public high school size is about 750. That means that, while 2 in 5 high schools don't offer physics, the rate at which students don't have access to a physics class is much smaller. 

 

Emily, a physics major

Edited by EmilyGF
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Picking up chin from floor.

 

ETA: That headline also plays with statistics. While 2 in 5 high schools don't offer physics, they are high schools that have an average size of 270. The average public high school size is about 750. That means that, while 2 in 5 high schools don't offer physics, the rate at which students don't have access to a physics class is much smaller. 

 

Emily, a physics major

 

The bolded part is priceless. :laugh:

 

This part also caught my eye:

 

According to Jim Bradshaw, a spokesman for the federal Education Department, schools were allowed to include virtual courses in reporting to the federal government whether they offer physics, but it's unclear whether schools did so consistently.(emphasis added.)

 

I know that in our rural, sparsely populated region online and/or dual enrollment classes can be used to fill in a number of gaps like this.

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I am still amazed at a grad school friend of mine-who managed to make it into a graduate math program without ever having trigonometry. Her high school only offered through Algebra 2, and she started with Cal 1 in college. It wasn't until she got assigned to teach a pre-calculus course that it came out that she'd never actually had trig. I don't think she'd had physics in high school either. DH managed to make it into college without having chemistry-he only had to have three science courses, so took physics as his third, and that was in an urban, BIG high school. I'm still amazed that his guidance counselor let him get away without taking chemistry, but apparently it wasn't a big deal (he got degrees in CS and Math as an undergrad).

 

FWIW, this is what TTUISD was originally designed for-to fill gaps courses that rural Texas high schools might be unable to offer. It's been an ongoing problem for small schools.

Edited by dmmetler

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The authors should have analyzed by district and told us 'x districts dont offer physics', as there sometimes are multiple high schools in a district and not all offer physics, but students can choose to enroll in one that does.

Edited by Heigh Ho
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MarkT that is interesting and IMO tragic. The same for the lack of Physical Education classes.  

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Why is it usually physics that's shortchanged in high schools? I am asking because I hear much less about biology or chemistry being absent. What is the rationale? 

I think my experience was a complete opposite. My high school (an immigrant here) offered physics beginning in grade 7 every single year, so I had physics for 5 years, general bio for 2 years and chemistry for only 2 years as well (if I remember correctly). We did have some science prior to physics (botany and anatomy), but physics was the first "real" science and then the other ones were layered. 

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Physics is not required for the diploma, chances are not many are going to opt to take it, especially if they are still struggling with Alg. 1. Less than 10 percent opt to take it here, and we have an excellent teacher.

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Why is it usually physics that's shortchanged in high schools? I am asking because I hear much less about biology or chemistry being absent.

Maybe because AP physics C requires the most math out of all the AP sciences. All four high schools even the alternative high schools in my district offers physics. Physical science in 8th, bio or chem in 9th or 10th. A few selections for lab science for 11th and 12th.

 

I had 4 years of physics and chem, 2 years of bio because I pick the engin track for 9th-12th. Hubby had 4 years of physics, chem and bio in the pre-med track. Both of us are foreigners.

 

ETA:

All four high schools has calculus too.

Edited by Arcadia

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But you can still do conceptual or algebra based physics.

I wonder if it's the lack of physics teachers?

 

All high schools in our area offer physics and many do it as first science in 9th grade, so maybe things are improving.

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And for students hoping to pursue those and other science, technology, engineering, and math fields during college, getting a jump on physics during high school is all but a requirement.

 

While I think schools should offer physics, I also think students should be able to go to college and major in whatever they want without having "prepped" for it in high school. I don't think that we should be expecting kids in high school to know what they want to do with the rest of their lives at 16 or 17.

 

I think students should be able to go to college and have the college say, "You didn't have physics in high school? That's ok, we have an intro class."

 

I don't like that high school classes are becoming default pre-reqs for college majors.

 

I bet I can guess which demographic of schools don't offer physics.

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I don't like that high school classes are becoming default pre-reqs for college majors.

 

.

I don't get this. Elementary school is pre-req for middle and middle is pre-req for high school, so why shouldn't high school classes be pre-reqs for college? If no prep is required for college than why do we bother teaching any sciences in high school? Or other subjects?

Or are you talking about AP classes?

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While I think schools should offer physics, I also think students should be able to go to college and major in whatever they want without having "prepped" for it in high school. I don't think that we should be expecting kids in high school to know what they want to do with the rest of their lives at 16 or 17.

I think students should be able to go to college and have the college say, "You didn't have physics in high school? That's ok, we have an intro class."

 

I don't like that high school classes are becoming default pre-reqs for college majors.

 

 

Introductory physics courses at college, whether calculus based or algebra/trig based, do not assume any prior knowledge of physics. Any intro physics text starts from scratch. For the outcome, prior physics makes little difference; the main difference comes from the math preparation. 

 

This said: saying a student can take any subject at college is not an excuse for offering a substandard high school education. And the kids who will not go to college should learn something, too.

 

 

 

I bet I can guess which demographic of schools don't offer physics.

 

Not sure what you mean.

The students who tell me about their high school not having physics are almost all white and from smaller high schools in smaller towns.

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But you can still do conceptual or algebra based physics.

I wonder if it's the lack of physics teachers?

 

Yes, lack of physics teachers and budget constraints. Schools do not wish to spend money on hiring qualified teachers and paying them a salary that would entice people with physics degrees to be teaching there.

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Introductory physics courses at college, whether calculus based or algebra/trig based, do not assume any prior knowledge of physics. Any intro physics text starts from scratch. For the outcome, prior physics makes little difference; the main difference comes from the math preparation. 

 

This said: saying a student can take any subject at college is not an excuse for offering a substandard high school education. And the kids who will not go to college should learn something, too.

 

The problem isn't that kids can't handle an intro physics course in college. The problem is those kids will never get in to lots of schools. My standard belief is that any bright, hard working kid(arbitrarily defined) from any high school in the state should be able to get into their state flagship school.

 

So for us that's UMN. UMN is a great school with a 45% admit rate so not super selective. 3 years of science with bio and physical science are the general admission requirements, however business, science/engineering, and biological science all require bio, chem, and physics. So if your school didn't offer physics and you couldn't pick it up somewhere else you'd be out of luck... now MN has great free DE options so for savvy kids it shouldn't be an issue but I'm not sure that is true in all states.

 

If schools aren't offering physics then their kids are essentially second class citizens for college admissions within their own state. This is the sort of situation TX's quirky top 10% of any high school college admissions slot guarantee is supposed to prevent... but just offering an equal educational opportunity to all kids seems like a better way to go.

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Years and years ago, I had physics and advanced physics at my large, urban public high school. My dh's small, rural high school didn't offer physics (or foreign language at all). Somehow, he got into college (which required two Years of foreign language) and the engineering college (which required physics specifically).

 

He went onto become an Electrical Engineer; a major that requires three semesters of physics. He struggled in the first semester, but hit his stride in the second.

 

I went onto a Mechanical Eng. major, requiring only two semesters of physics. Thank goodness, because the second class was killer (partly due to how much I skated through first semester and didn't set up good study skills and became overwhelmed quickly during the second class.)

 

Dh was supposed to make up his foreign language pre requires in college but never did.

 

I wonder if schools take into effect a small school not offering physics at all and still let a promising student into their program today?

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I don't get this. Elementary school is pre-req for middle and middle is pre-req for high school, so why shouldn't high school classes be pre-reqs for college? If no prep is required for college than why do we bother teaching any sciences in high school? Or other subjects?

Or are you talking about AP classes?

I'm talking about the fact that certain college majors seem to require you to have done pre-reqs for those majors in high school. I think that any student with a high school education that is considered "college prep" by their high school should be able to declare a major without having had to essentially take their intro classes in high school. Because a) not all high school students are ready for college classes in high school and b) once again it's the disadvantaged students who get screwed when it becomes the norm to have taken major-specific pre-req classes in high school.

 

Personally, I think a student should be able to enter college and study a science or math major even if they didn't have calculus or physics in high school. The college should provide the classes they need for the major.

 

If not, we just turn high school into early college, the same way we have shoved first grade into K and K into preschool.

Edited by Haiku
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Personally, I think a student should be able to enter college and study a science or math major even if they didn't have calculus or physics in high school. The college should provide the classes they need for the major.

 

Which is the case. I have not seen any college that did not offer calculus or physics, and even four year universities usually offer College Algebra and Trigonometry which are high school classes for most students.

Even the top selective uni  my DD attends, which rejects 92% of its applicants, offers those.

 

I have yet to see an example of a college that does not offer calculus 1 or introductory physics.

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I have yet to see an example of a college that does not offer calculus 1 or introductory physics.

 

Providing them is one thing. Expecting that the students you actually admit come having already had those classes or studied the material in-depth in high school is another. Where I live, the "public Ivy" school and the "flagship" state school have reasonable admission guidelines on paper, but in practice, you can't actually get admitted to engineering or other STEM majors without having already taken the pre-reqs or their equivalents in high school.

 

Schools can be selective without basically requiring that students come to them already having studied the major.

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Providing them is one thing. Expecting that the students you actually admit come having already had those classes or studied the material in-depth in high school is another. Where I live, the "public Ivy" school and the "flagship" state school have reasonable admission guidelines on paper, but in practice, you can't actually get admitted to engineering or other STEM majors without having already taken the pre-reqs or their equivalents in high school.

 

Schools can be selective without basically requiring that students come to them already having studied the major.

 

That seems to be rather unusual, because at most colleges, you do not get admitted into a specific major. Students change majors all the time. I wonder how they handle that.

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That seems to be rather unusual, because at most colleges, you do not get admitted into a specific major. Students change majors all the time. I wonder how they handle that.

 

I was admitted straight into my major. So was my husband. So was our daughter. Three different schools all doing it the same way.

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I was admitted straight into my major. So was my husband. So was our daughter. Three different schools all doing it the same way.

 

interesting. None of the 12 schools DD applied to did it this way, nor does the one at which I teach.

So how do these schools deal with the huge portion of students who change majors? Most such students do not change school...

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So how do these schools deal with the huge portion of students who change majors? Most such students do not change school...

 

I was not a STEM major, and I changed my major twice. They just said, "Ok, make sure you take the pre-reqs you need." My dh and my dd did not change their majors. My dh got a BFA and my dd is getting a BS is biology. I don't know how her school would handle it.

 

When my younger dd was considering majoring in zoology, the admissions person I spoke to basically said, "If she hasn't taken AP or DE science courses, don't bother trying to get into zoology. She won't." Even though their written guidelines made no mention of this ...

Edited by Haiku

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Maybe because AP physics C requires the most math out of all the AP sciences. All four high schools even the alternative high schools in my district offers physics. Physical science in 8th, bio or chem in 9th or 10th. A few selections for lab science for 11th and 12th.

 

yes AP physics C is harder to find now in local schools here.  The school where my son's best friend goes had only 3 students sign up this year so it was not offered.

This school has plenty of students who are or have taken Calc AB.

 

For low enrollment type classes,  this is where I believe the state should provide online replacement classes with Derek Owens type quality instruction.  Some states have this already such as Florida (not sure of the quality).

 

This should be available to all public, private, and home-schooled students since their parents pay school taxes.

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For low enrollment type classes,  this is where I believe the state should provide online replacement classes with Derek Owens type quality instruction.  Some states have this already such as Florida (not sure of the quality).

 

This should be available to all public, private, and home-schooled students since their parents pay school taxes.

 

Honestly, I don't think that the public should have to pay for college-level classes offered at high schools. I think it should be easier for high schoolers to graduate early (if that's what works for them), and I think DE options should be increased, but I don't think it's the wisest use of taxpayer money to keep shoving college classes into high schools. I also don't think it's best for most students.

 

When I was in high school, as long as you got the credits, you could graduate whenever. I went to summer school and took full class loads and graduated early. No one cared. I started college my senior year of high school.

 

These days, states are making early graduation almost impossible by requiring four years of high school credits and restricting summer school to credit recovery. Kids who are ready to move on can't. Then they try to remedy this by offering college classes in the high schools. This then contributes to the idea that high schoolers should be taking college classes and that college prep kids aren't truly ready unless they take college classes in high school. I am opposed to this idea regardless of the fact that my oldest went to a high school that required three or four (I forget) college classes (taken at the college) to graduate.

 

High school needs to be high school. I don't like the increasingly blurry line between high school and college. When college bleeds into high school, a high school diploma becomes less and less valuable.

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You have to account for the dumb down. Gen ed courses have been drastically dumbed down. What was 2 years of FL for me ( gr 9, 10) is 5 now (gr 7 to 11). Math and science are only gen ed, not college prep, unless in a title 1 or wealthy area. So, graduating early with college ready isnt happening for a lot of people. Smart kids are washing out, unless they can pay for extra years of college to make up for lack of prep...or they are in a district where they can get in to an honors program. In my district, half of the 12th grade - app 250 students - spend 4 periods in study hall due to no classes available and parents who cant afford the DE classes they need to be prepared for a science or eng.major and grad in 4. So, I cant agree with you until high school raises its standards beyond what was 8th grade in my day, and is still 8th grade in districts with honors programs.

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I totally get Haiku's points and I agree, in particular that many students on both ends of the range are not well-served by increasing "rigor" at earlier and earlier levels, and the current idea that high school students should essentially be taking intro college level classes across disciplines seems misguided to me.  For most students.

 

I went to a small parochial high school which was abysmal. I think I must have taken general or earth science in 9th grade, and biology in 10th. They offered physics, but not chemistry (I think) but the science teacher was so bad I took the min to graduate and that was it. I went to a nonselective state college, and took intro-level college classes there. I was able to take biology, physics, computer science, calculus, statistics etc. in college and got accepted to MIT for grad school.  High school was a joke, but college was college, and I got all the preparation I needed there for further studies, career, etc.  I am grateful for that fact.

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Honestly, I don't think that the public should have to pay for college-level classes offered at high schools. I think it should be easier for high schoolers to graduate early (if that's what works for them), and I think DE options should be increased, but I don't think it's the wisest use of taxpayer money to keep shoving college classes into high schools. I also don't think it's best for most students....

 

High school needs to be high school. I don't like the increasingly blurry line between high school and college. When college bleeds into high school, a high school diploma becomes less and less valuable.

 

Elsewhere in the world, algebra based physics (what passes for "College physics" in the US) is a high school course, taught in 10th grade. Calculus based physics is a high school course, taught to college bound students in 11th/12th grade. Every college bound student in my home country is required to take calculus in high school.

 

The reason we have "college level" courses in high schools is not that high school becomes more difficult, but that college is dumbed down.

 

I believe that every student should receive 12 years of public education at a level that she or he is appropriately challenged at taxpayers expense. I find it unacceptable to tell smart students that they will not receive instruction at a suitable level past middle school or jr high if their parents cannot afford to pay for college classes. Free public K-12 education cannot mean that we use the lowest common denominator and shortchange the capable students.

Can you guess why I pulled my kids out to homeschool?

Edited by regentrude
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I totally get Haiku's points and I agree, in particular that many students on both ends of the range are not well-served by increasing "rigor" at earlier and earlier levels, and the current idea that high school students should essentially be taking intro college level classes across disciplines seems misguided to me.  For most students.

 

So what is a college level class?  

It appears that your student is taking Algebra 2 in 9th grade (same as mine son did two years ago).  On that track,  your student should be taking a "college level" class such as Calculus 1 or Statistics by 11th grade.  Should she stop after Precalculus and wait for college?

Time marches on, the standards are higher now then when I went to high school for true college prep.

 

Do high schools have to offer a large breadth of these courses - no ( AP Psych and such).

 

AP is a current HS reality for core subjects and that is not going away anytime soon.  DE is quite expensive in many states and if subsidized for high school students then that cost is picked up by the taxpayer as well.

 

High school shouldn't be a joke and I believe that is why most folks spend some time on this forum trading ideas and information.

 

[in my school district, the public school bonding is well supported even though they just spent $1 million at each of the two high schools to give them artificial turf football fields!]

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[in my school district, the public school bonding is well supported even though they just spent $1 million at each of the two high schools to give them artificial turf football fields!]

 

But didn't you know that in this country, sports rank higher than academics?

We don't need higher math, or pay for physics teachers - but surely, a coach and a football field are essentials.

 

In almost all states, the highest paid public employee is either the basketball or the football coach of the state flagship uni. Only in a few states it is the dean of the medical school.

This country's priorities are screwed up big time.

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I totally get Haiku's points and I agree, in particular that many students on both ends of the range are not well-served by increasing "rigor" at earlier and earlier levels, and the current idea that high school students should essentially be taking intro college level classes across disciplines seems misguided to me.  For most students.

 

This is backwards. The reason many courses are labeled "college level" in this country is because students do not receive an appropriate high school education and colleges have to remediate.

 

The "College Physics" class I teach for life science majors is comparable to 10th grade in my home country. It was easy peasy for my 8th grader. We call it "college" because students arrive at college without appropriate math skills, but there is nothing in there that could not be achieved by 50% of high schoolers if they had received proper math instructions. I refuse to believe students in this country are less intelligent than students elsewhere. Why then are our expectations for our students  so incredibly low, compared to other industrialized nations?

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I think it may help if we are clear on a few things.  Calculus has never been a high school course in the US (though certainly there are some high schools offering non-AP calc).  Some selective colleges in STEM majors will expect the students to have had calc and they will say so on their websites.  Such students may or may not need to take first year calc again.  The fact that calc is expected is a symptom of the colleges' selectivity.

 

It is perfectly possible to get admitted to colleges at lower levels of selectivity in the same majors without having had calc.  And we know there are tons of high schools out there that do not offer calc.  Yes, there are plenty of kids who attended either disadvantaged high schools (or advantaged but argumentative middle schools where the math track for high school is essentially determined) who will not be able to get admission to selective colleges in STEM majors.

 

In contrast, regular, non-AP physics has always been an ordinary high school course, and not allowing kids to study that is a shame, IMO because of the lack of exposure.  One question is, how much is a student really disadvantaged by not having the high school class for taking an introductory physics class at a non-selective college?

 

Another question might be whether as a matter of public policy the state flagship should accept students who were unable to get a competitive education due to the weaknesses of the high school, whether there's a way to account for that within the bounds of the college's level of selectivity.  And, would that water down the quality of the flagship or would it not, all while keeping in mind that there are other state universities that are not the flagship that are less selective.

Edited by wapiti
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But didn't you know that in this country, sports rank higher than academics?

We don't need higher math, or pay for physics teachers - but surely, a coach and a football field are essentials.

 

In almost all states, the highest paid public employee is either the basketball or the football coach of the state flagship uni. Only in a few states it is the dean of the medical school.

This country's priorities are screwed up big time.

It is fairly complicated at the highest level college football:

http://www.npr.org/2016/08/31/492057117/why-do-colleges-spend-million-to-compete-in-football-our-commentator-asks

 

"

Eastern Michigan University athletic department spent almost $34 million, most of that on football

Eighty percent of that money came from the university's general fund - money that could be spent on labs, professors or scholarships

"

so there is some good discussion on that topic these days.

Edited by MarkT

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This is backwards. The reason many courses are labeled "college level" in this country is because students do not receive an appropriate high school education and colleges have to remediate.

 

The "College Physics" class I teach for life science majors is comparable to 10th grade in my home country. It was easy peasy for my 8th grader. We call it "college" because students arrive at college without appropriate math skills, but there is nothing in there that could not be achieved by 50% of high schoolers if they had received proper math instructions. I refuse to believe students in this country are less intelligent than students elsewhere. Why then are our expectations for our students  so incredibly low, compared to other industrialized nations?

 

Which suggests to my mind that the availability or lack of availability of physics classes at a high school level is not as significant as the quality of math instruction in high school and before.

 

(Though what do I know, I never took physics. I doubled up on IB science classes with biology and chemistry my last two years of high school, I didn't even have a lunch period--there was no way to squeeze in physics!)

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So what is a college level class?  

It appears that your student is taking Algebra 2 in 9th grade (same as mine son did two years ago).  On that track,  your student should be taking a "college level" class such as Calculus 1 or Statistics by 11th grade.  Should she stop after Precalculus and wait for college?

Time marches on, the standards are higher now then when I went to high school for true college prep.

 

Do high schools have to offer a large breadth of these courses - no ( AP Psych and such).

 

AP is a current HS reality for core subjects and that is not going away anytime soon.  DE is quite expensive in many states and if subsidized for high school students then that cost is picked up by the taxpayer as well.

 

High school shouldn't be a joke and I believe that is why most folks spend some time on this forum trading ideas and information.

 

[in my school district, the public school bonding is well supported even though they just spent $1 million at each of the two high schools to give them artificial turf football fields!]

 

Yep, I get what you're saying. I chose to homeschool my student because her needs for more challenging/accelerated study weren't being met by the local school district. But the reality of our local school district is that 75% of students are ED/ELL, and their needs wouldn't be met by following a program like my dd is.  I do think that high schools have a responsibility to serve students, and for students whose families don't have the education/resources to provide tailored programs in particular.  Really, in particular, because I do think that as a society we have a commitment to equal opportunities and the public education system is the entre onto the playing field for students who aren't being led there by the hand by their family. Like mine is.

 

As far as what is a college level class, that seems to vary - widely - across high school AP programs, across CC/DE programs, across colleges and universities even.  I guess that I am trying to articulate a philosophical position which I hold, which is that stressing about multiple AP classes in high school isn't the best way to spend the teen years. For many students, regardless of socioeconomic status, academic level, etc.  I just don't buy that students should be expected, as a matter of course, to have a college-level grasp of multiple subject areas before they graduate high school.  And I don't think the choices are "the equivalent of an AA" on one side and "a joke" on the other side.  Having had a high school education which was a complete joke, 4 wasted years, that is the last thing I advocate for.  But I do advocate for a little more time, space, and breathing room for teens to explore their interests and develop themselves as well-rounded people. It breaks my heart to read about kids, and talk in real life to kids, who are literally feeling like they are losing their childhood to the college prep rat race.  

 

And I'm not trying to convince anybody, I'm happy to agree to disagree.  I homeschool so that my kid can march to the beat of a different drummer.  :)

Edited by Chrysalis Academy
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As far as what is a college level class, that seems to vary - widely - across high school AP programs, across CC/DE programs, across colleges and universities even. 

 

While it does vary widely, AP would always be college-level.  Among CC and DE courses, there may be some that are remedial, not for credit toward a degree.

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This is backwards. The reason many courses are labeled "college level" in this country is because students do not receive an appropriate high school education and colleges have to remediate.

 

The "College Physics" class I teach for life science majors is comparable to 10th grade in my home country. It was easy peasy for my 8th grader. We call it "college" because students arrive at college without appropriate math skills, but there is nothing in there that could not be achieved by 50% of high schoolers if they had received proper math instructions. I refuse to believe students in this country are less intelligent than students elsewhere. Why then are our expectations for our students  so incredibly low, compared to other industrialized nations?

 

Ok, yes, I get that.  It seems clear that high schools aren't doing a great job at preparing students for future studies. That's a waste of the four years students are required to spend there, too.  I completely agree that high schools should have competent teachers who can teach their students math and science so that they are ready for college when they get there.  Absolutely.

 

I just think that we as a country - the US, I'm speaking of - tend to swing wildly from one extreme to another.  Students getting to college not ready? Ok! Let's have them all do APs in high school!  It just seems to me that there must be a middle path.  

 

ETA: I realize I have wandered far from the point of the OP.  I do think it sucks when high schools don't have competent math and science teachers, and that they don't offer physics, and when the football coach teaches world history.  I think the students suffer, colleges suffer, civil society suffers when the vast amount of money spent on the public school system provides, in many cases, such abysmal results.

Edited by Chrysalis Academy
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I think it may help if we are clear on a few things.  Calculus has never been a high school course in the US (though certainly there are some high schools offering non-AP calc).  Some selective colleges in STEM majors will expect the students to have had calc and they will say so on their websites.  Such students may or may not need to take first year calc again.  The fact that calc is expected is a symptom of the colleges' selectivity.

 

It is perfectly possible to get admitted to colleges at lower levels of selectivity in the same majors without having had calc.  And we know there are tons of high schools out there that do not offer calc.  Yes, there are plenty of kids who attended either disadvantaged high schools (or advantaged but argumentative middle schools where the math track for high school is essentially determined) who will not be able to get admission to selective colleges in STEM majors.

 

In contrast, regular, non-AP physics has always been an ordinary high school course, and not allowing kids to study that is a shame, IMO because of the lack of exposure.  One question is, how much is a student really disadvantaged by not having the high school class for taking an introductory physics class at a non-selective college?

 

Another question might be whether as a matter of public policy the state flagship should accept students who were unable to get a competitive education due to the weaknesses of the high school, whether there's a way to account for that within the bounds of the college's level of selectivity.

"Calculus has never been a high school course"  -  I believe you are judging from decades old history when we went to high school not current reality. 

The cost of providing an online asynchronous state-wide Calculus based class/course (AP or otherwise) with quality instruction is peanuts versus all the other crap that school budgets get spent on.  That could free up some money to spend on better math instruction at the middle school level for example.

 

Really poor or rural districts could have the material provided on DVD. 

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"non-AP physics has always been an ordinary high school course"

I agree with your non-AP physics statement and this program could provide that as well for districts that could not afford it or just can't find a teacher.

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I just think that we as a country - the US, I'm speaking of - tend to swing wildly from one extreme to another.  Students getting to college not ready? Ok! Let's have them all do APs in high school!  It just seems to me that there must be a middle path.  

I absolutely agree with that AP is not for everybody! And four year college is not for everyone.

 

The "middle-path" is not a solution at all  -  "No child left Behind" meant all children got left behind as money is wasted on too many tests.

 

There needs to be at least two, probably three or four main paths through high school years based on student capability, motivation, desires, etc.

Technology should help us provide these choices.

 

Of course I would loved to had have Derek Owens (an example) live in person for all my son's math courses but that is not reality.

I am just so grateful this year that my son's AP Calc teacher is quite good and I don't to have to supplement that!

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I'm surprised that even the CA A-G requirements don't actually require physics.

 

"Two years (three years recommended) of laboratory science providing fundamental knowledge in two of these three foundational subjects: biology, chemistry and physics. The final two years of an approved three-year integrated science program that provides rigorous coverage of at least two of the three foundational subjects may be used to fulfill this requirement. A yearlong interdisciplinary science course can meet one year of this requirement."

 

 

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"Calculus has never been a high school course"  -  I believe you are judging from decades old history when we went to high school not current reality. 

The cost of providing an online asynchronous state-wide Calculus based class/course (AP or otherwise) with quality instruction is peanuts versus all the other crap that school budgets get spent on.  That could free up some money to spend on better math instruction at the middle school level for example.

 

My opinion comes from what has always been considered standard high school vs college level.  (I took AP calc in high school 30 yrs ago, though the trend toward more APs is not relevant as APs are by definition "college" level.)  Less than half of US high schools offer calculus.  The percent of students graduating high school having had calc was 16% in 2009.

 

I agree completely that it should be a simple matter to offer advanced coursework online, especially as most states already offer an online school of some sort that probably has calc.  IMO, the bigger reason that few students take calc goes back to the math track in middle school, where to take algebra 1 requires being "accelerated" in some fashion, which involves not only what a school offers as a matter of logistics but also attitudes about math acceleration and, most significantly, the quality of instruction at elementary and prealgebra levels.

 

ETA, to take this a step further, perhaps as long as algebra 1 is grade-level for 9th, in the one-size-fits-all world of public school standards, calc will never be a high-school-level math course.

 

(As an aside, I think you may relate to this decades-old anecdote as I recall you're familiar with NYS Regents... I moved to a new school district between 7th and 8th grade and the new district - a higher-income-area in comparison to the old district - about had a cow because my old district recommended Regents Algebra 1 in 8th.  The new district's guidance counselor went so far as to say "maybe you're not as smart as you think you are," right before the math teacher walked in with the prealgebra final that I had aced.  That's one of those memories burned in my brain.  I bet that district's acceleration path looks much different these days.)

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I absolutely agree with that AP is not for everybody! And four year college is not for everyone.

 

The "middle-path" is not a solution at all  -  "No child left Behind" meant all children got left behind as money is wasted on too many tests.

 

There needs to be at least two, probably three or four main paths through high school years based on student capability, motivation, desires, etc.

Technology should help us provide these choices.

 

Of course I would loved to had have Derek Owens (an example) live in person for all my son's math courses but that is not reality.

I am just so grateful this year that my son's AP Calc teacher is quite good and I don't to have to supplement that!

 

Good point - middle path implies that everyone is forced to compromise.  Multiple individualized paths sounds much better to me too!  And I agree that technology helps provide this, or should.  As does homeschooling.  ;)  :)

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My opinion comes from what has always been considered standard high school vs college level.  (I took AP calc in high school 30 yrs ago, though the trend toward more APs is not relevant as APs are by definition "college" level.)  Less than half of US high schools offer calculus.  The percent of students graduating high school having had calc was 16% in 2009.

 

I agree completely that it should be a simple matter to offer advanced coursework online, especially as most states already offer an online school of some sort that probably has calc.  IMO, the bigger reason that few students take calc goes back to the math track in middle school, where to take algebra 1 requires being "accelerated" in some fashion, which involves not only what a school offers as a matter of logistics but also attitudes about math acceleration and, most significantly, the quality of instruction at elementary and prealgebra levels.

 

(As an aside, I think you may relate to this decades-old anecdote as I recall you're familiar with NYS Regents... I moved to a new school district between 7th and 8th grade and the new district - a higher-income-area in comparison to the old district - about had a cow because my old district recommended Regents Algebra 1 in 8th.  The new district's guidance counselor went so far as to say "maybe you're not as smart as you think you are," right before the math teacher walked in with the prealgebra final that I had aced.  That's one of those memories burned in my brain.  I bet that district's acceleration path looks much different these days.)

I live in the Tucson area now and all public school districts have at least one high school that offers Calculus and with our state wide open enrollment policy then at least in theory a class is available to almost all.  (AZ is not known as a high school academic hot spot).  Some public charter schools here do not offer Calculus because they cater to less capable and/or less motivated students.

 

16% taking Calc sounds correct maybe it could be a little higher if available.  If it was in the 5% range then probably could be considered non-essential for HS. AP Physics C is probably in that low range so my example from above may not be good.

What is the percent of students that participated in HS Football?  We spend considerable $ on that.   

 

[back in my day ( a few years before you),  almost all upstate schools had Regents Algebra 1 in 9th ( I was on the honors track we did Fortran programming along with Algebra 1).   For you the placement test was the correct answer not some guidance counselor's gut feel.  I took Calc for one semester in HS - no AP classes were offered at that time]

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That seems to be rather unusual, because at most colleges, you do not get admitted into a specific major. Students change majors all the time. I wonder how they handle that.

Not the case for several schools, Wharton (UPenn) and Cornell come to mind (I am not 100% sure though).

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I believe that every student should receive 12 years of public education at a level that she or he is appropriately challenged at taxpayers expense. I find it unacceptable to tell smart students that they will not receive instruction at a suitable level past middle school or jr high if their parents cannot afford to pay for college classes. Free public K-12 education cannot mean that we use the lowest common denominator and shortchange the capable students.

 

To be clear, I am not saying that students shouldn't be educated appropriately. I think that schools should offer physics and calculus.

 

I don't, however, think that it should be an expectation that students have these classes (or even higher level ones) before going to college. Students actually can do very well in college without having had those classes in high school.

 

However, I find it an unwise use of taxpayer money to have college classes taught in high schools. I am fine with free DE for students to take college classes at college. If a school is not offering Physics C due to low enrollment, I don't think that the taxpayers have to step in and provide a state-subsidized class for it. I think it's fine if the equivalent of Physics C is taught in college. It's not actually a high-school class. Kids can DE it or wait until college.

 

In our state, students get free DE classes (the state allocates a certain number of credits, which can vary each year depending on funding and applications). I am fine with that. But regarding classes that high schools are not offering due to low enrollment, I honestly don't think that taxpayers should have to foot the bill so that a few high school students get to take high-level college classes in their high schools. It's a better use of resources to have those students take those classes at colleges.

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While it does vary widely, AP would always be college-level.  Among CC and DE courses, there may be some that are remedial, not for credit toward a degree.

 

I'm not sure about that.  There's a wide variety in the difficulty among the various AP classes.  AP Human Geography is routinely taken by high school freshmen.  If it really were a bona-fide college-level course, would so many 9th graders be successful with it?

 

Foreign Language, Math & Science, are different stories, of course.

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"Calculus has never been a high school course"  -  I believe you are judging from decades old history when we went to high school not current reality. 

 

I'm 51.  Dh is 57 (!) .  We both took Calculus in high school back in the veiled mists of history when I still typed my papers on a manual Smith Corona typewriter. Calculus has been offered in high school for a looong time.  (And it wasn't AP Calc because AP was still a rarity back in those olden times... it was just meant as a high school level course).  

 

Our local high school has Calc AB and BC, but it also offers just "Honors" Calc, which is obviously only intended as a high school course.

 

Even the local voc tech school here offers Calculus - AP Calc, no less.

Edited by Matryoshka
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