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Are Colleges Pushing Students to Do Too Much in High School? (good Foreign language -side thread)

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Yes, absolutely. 40 percent of kids go to community college. 60 percent go to four years. Maybe 2 percent of the students at four year schools are at highly selective schools.

 

Lots of stats on the current state of admissions

http://highereddatastories.blogspot.com/2018/01/national-trends-in-applicants-admits.html

 

(Dashboard 4 is a bit misleading because the axes change significantly as you change selectivity so it's harder to key in on how much the underlying numbers are changing.)

 

This one is also good

http://highereddatastories.blogspot.com/2017/12/whats-all-fuss-about-redux.html

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May I ask a little of the subject if he was in the top 100 of national ranking in his sport?

Yes, he was close to the top 25 on the national ranking list that most college coaches used.  His athletic peers were shocked that he chose a D3 school that none of them had ever heard of.

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Yes, absolutely. 40 percent of kids go to community college. 60 percent go to four years. Maybe 2 percent of the students at four year schools are at highly selective schools.

 

I guess everyone is trying to get into those 56 colleges of 25% admits or less !!

 

some majors in public colleges have much lower admits than shown 

 

=======================================================================

they should keep same panels for all views and settings and just put 0 (zero) where appropriate 

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But there could certainly be a case where FAPE for a 2 E kid includes calc 2 and AP chem.

 

No, because FAPE only applies to special education services and any types of supportive medical and behavioral services a child needs. A child with a 504-designated disability who would also benefit from advanced courses is not entitled to them under FAPE.

 

In other words, FAPE applies only to things that are legally designated as disabilities, not to every aspect of an individual who has a qualifying disability.

Edited by Haiku

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I am always having to talk down students who are so worried about whether they are in enough clubs or have done enough.

 

I am so glad that we sidestepped all of this. University entrance here is exam based, you have the marks or you don't. And there is no ranking of the 7 schools. I was told once that "everyone in NZ goes to a top 10 school" :-) 

 

We were told by 3 of the 6 schools we visited, that ds's math accomplishments would not wow their departments because they get kids from all over the world who are way better. So when we set out to write the homeschool documentation, I felt very lucky to have the opportunity to be able to explain so much about ds that school kids can't do, because his mathematics would not be enough. School kids only have their essays; we also had the school profile (which I definitely personalized) and my counselor's letter (which I was told to write not in support of my son but rather to explain what non-traditional schooling looked like for him). For us, that was 4 additional pages of text that allowed me to humanize ds, and I'm guessing that helped get him in to MIT. 

 

DS definitely did not play the game in highschool because he only decided to apply to the USA in April of his junior year, which gave him exactly 1 opportunity to take the SATs because they are given so rarely in NZ, and he had exactly 1 month to study. I think it was his strong program of study in highschool, chosen by him, that allowed him to get a near perfect mark.  English in particular for this boy has been slow in developing (he didn't write a single essay in 9th grade), but all that reading every night in areas of his own personal interest (Scientific American, The Economist, Russian novels) was exactly what he needed to be doing to be ready for the SAT. DS has just been so lucky to avoid the years of worry and pressure; instead he did all the 'right' things by following his interests and working hard. I think that is the ideal but not the reality for most students.

 

Ruth in NZ

Edited by lewelma
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I am so glad that we sidestepped all of this. University entrance here is exam based, you have the marks or you don't. And there is no ranking of the 7 schools. I was told once that "everyone in NZ goes to a top 10 school" :-) 

 

We were told by 3 of the 6 schools we visited, that ds's math accomplishments would not wow their departments because they get kids from all over the world who are way better. So when we set out to write the homeschool documentation, I felt very lucky to have the opportunity to be able to explain so much about ds that school kids can't do, because his mathematics would not be enough. School kids only have their essays; we also had the school profile (which I definitely personalized) and my counselor's letter (which I was told to write not in support of my son but rather to explain what non-traditional schooling looked like for him). For us, that was 4 additional pages of text that allowed me to humanize ds, and I'm guessing that helped get him in to MIT. 

 

DS definitely did not play the game in highschool because he only decided to apply to the USA in April of his junior year, which gave him exactly 1 opportunity to take the SATs because they are given so rarely in NZ, and he had exactly 1 month to study. I think it was his strong program of study in highschool, chosen by him, that allowed him to get a near perfect mark.  English in particular for this boy has been slow in developing (he didn't write a single essay in 9th grade), but all that reading every night in areas of his own personal interest (Scientific American, The Economist, Russian novels) was exactly what he needed to be doing to be ready for the SAT. DS has just been so lucky to avoid the years of worry and pressure; instead he did all the 'right' things by following his interests and working hard. I think that is the ideal but not the reality for most students.

 

Ruth in NZ

 

 

This is what admissions wants to see in a genuine form but many students are trying to "mock" by prepping, prepping, prepping for top exam scores.  They want to see students who have a passion to learn that spans many subjects.  They would rather have a self-motivated student who loves to learn and has passion over a student who is acing the exams (usually with tons of money put into prep courses, etc) and doing what they feel like will check a box to get them into a particular school.  My dd had perfect scores on reading and english sections of the ACT by 8th but never took a prep course.  Why?  She was devouring classic literature at a very young age because it brought her joy and not because it was assigned or a part of an SAT prep curriculum.  She met with an AP advisor for AP english and was told "I am working so hard to teach kids to mock what you do naturally".  Some students are playing a game, attempting to look like they have passion and interest when they don't.  This makes it all so confusing.  There is a good college fit for almost everyone.  DS has already said, "I have no interest in studying that much and I don't have that kind of passion so I have no intention in applying to top tens".  To try to mock that kind of passion and interest just to fulfill the status of a top university isn't helping anyone.  I am just rambling really.   :laugh:

Edited by Attolia
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No, because FAPE only applies to special education services and any types of supportive medical and behavioral services a child needs. A child with a 504-designated disability who would also benefit from advanced courses is not entitled to them under FAPE.

 

In other words, FAPE applies only to things that are legally designated as disabilities, not to every aspect of an individual who has a qualifying disability.

 

 

Having had a child with an IEP and another child who qualified for an IEP, but we elected to go with just a 504 plan for reasons I won't discuss here, and having advocated for children in special education before I had children, I have to disagree. I do believe there are circumstances where having advanced instruction could be part of FAPE. 

 

But anyway...off this tangent, back to the thread.

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DS has already said, "I have no interest in studying that much and I don't have that kind of passion so I have no intention in applying to top tens".  To try to mock that kind of passion and interest just to fulfill the status of a top university isn't helping anyone.  I am just rambling really.   :laugh:

 

So incredibly true. It's like pretending to be someone you're not to try to get a relationship. 

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This is what admissions wants to see in a genuine form but many students are trying to "mock" by prepping, prepping, prepping for top exam scores.  They want to see students who have a passion to learn that spans many subjects.  They would rather have a self-motivated student who loves to learn and has passion over a student who is acing the exams (usually with tons of money put into prep courses, etc) and doing what they feel like will check a box to get them into a particular school.  My dd had perfect scores on reading and english sections of the ACT by 8th but never took a prep course.  Why?  She was devouring classic literature at a very young age because it brought her joy and not because it was assigned or a part of an SAT prep curriculum.  She met with an AP advisor for AP english and was told "I am working so hard to teach kids to mock what you do naturally".  Some students are playing a game, attempting to look like they have passion and interest when they don't.  This makes it all so confusing.  There is a good college fit for almost everyone.  DS has already said, "I have no interest in studying that much and I don't have that kind of passion so I have no intention in applying to top tens".  To try to mock that kind of passion and interest just to fulfill the status of a top university isn't helping anyone.  I am just rambling really.   :laugh:

 

I always try to tell folks that the kids who should be at the upper most places are self-driven.  They pull mom and dad along.  To them, it's not really "work" because they enjoy it.  It's just who they are.

 

But there are definitely families who try to insist their kids are part of that group when they aren't.  I suspect it's just because they want to live vicariously through some sort of perceived prestige. They assume there's some sort of trophy going along with the acceptance I suppose.  The students can be just as academically intelligent as their peers, but putting the focus on academics is not their interest.

 

My middle son is part of the driven group.  My other two are normal.  They are all fun to be around in all aspects, but the same school is not right for all of them.  Barring something really unforeseen, all will be successful in their lives doing what they enjoy with degrees from their respective colleges.  Only middle son got Summa Cum Laude (or any academic honor), but that's still ok.  He doesn't get a special spot at our dinner table.  It's just who he is and we're proud of him.  We're also proud of our other two with their more normal accomplishments (and grades).

 

I suspect it's similar with sports.  Some kids are self-driven.  Some are parent driven.  There's a difference.

 

There's also a difference between being a parent/teacher/guidance counselor and expecting decent work in class and prep for college tests or whatever prep their future holds - all this I do for ALL kids at school - and insisting on Top 10/20/50 or bust.

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This is what admissions wants to see in a genuine form but many students are trying to "mock" by prepping, prepping, prepping for top exam scores.  They want to see students who have a passion to learn that spans many subjects. 

 

I actually turned all those reading hours into courses to show a breadth of interest.  In NZ you can specialize, I know a kid who will get into university with Stats, Calc, Chem, Physics, and 11th grade English.  DS could have looked like that kid on paper because all the reading he was doing in philosophy and economics and classic literature and current events wasn't for a class.  I split up his English credit because it was way too big because he was doing both the NZ system English and his own world literature/history/geography/philosophy reading and writing.  I dumped papers into these other 'homemade' courses.  I needed to represent ds in a way that they could understand.  But all that work he did for himself, not for a class, and that is what I wrote in my counselor letter.

 

 

Edited by lewelma
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he read War and Peace and Crime and Punishment that same year

 

 

 

 

I hope quoting just this tiny bit is ok?  If not, I can remove.  

 

DD did almost this exact thing.  She fell hard for Russian literature and loved War and Peace which then expanded into all sorts of topics.

 

Younger dd has been similarly obsessed with French Literature right now (she's only a freshman) and reading the full Les Mis has sparked all sorts of interests for her.  

 

Creekland is so right.  The ones that belong in those tippy top academic worlds take the lead, in contrast to being forced into a mold or pushed to be something they just aren't.  And it is ok if they "aren't" because there are so many other wonderful things they can do and be.  It is a disservice to try to force them into upper academia if they might shine so much brighter elsewhere.

I am not going to force middle ds to pretend to be that just because he is sandwiched between two of them either.  He will do his own thing and it will be right for him. 

 

But it isn't always easy trying to keep up with these academic types that's for sure. They really are the ones running full force while we try to figure out how to make it fit into boxes for a transcript  :laugh:

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Having had a child with an IEP and another child who qualified for an IEP, but we elected to go with just a 504 plan for reasons I won't discuss here, and having advocated for children in special education before I had children, I have to disagree. I do believe there are circumstances where having advanced instruction could be part of FAPE. 

 

I also had a child who had an IEP, and I worked for a program that dealt with children in SBH (severely behaviorally handicapped) classrooms when I was a social worker. The law says what it says. How specific schools interpret it may vary, but the law deals with what a student is legally entitled to.

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My homeschooling dream was to create an environment that opened the door for the type of learning that produces highly curious, intrinsically motivated children with a passion for knowledge. I'd say, though, that my ds is a pretty average thinker. No great thoughts rolling around in his head. Of course, his parents are fairly regular joes, too. This is our first go around with the college application process. I was assured by other mothers in our parent homeschool organization that the curriculum we were following was sufficient to attain admission to almost any college. Based on the requirements stipulated by the University System of Georgia, though, it appeared to me that homeschool students must "play" to a certain degree if they desire admission into the state's two flagship schools - UGA and Tech - and want to qualify for state-funded scholarships. Sure, ds has been accepted into some very nice LAC's and even received some healthy merit offers, but healthy doesn't compare with free tuition (at Georgia Tech, the state-funded Zell Miller scholarship pays the exact tuition charges assessed by the Bursar). Getting into college, in my view, is not the problem. It's funding it. Merit offers increase with higher ACT/SAT scores. Homeschooled students in Georgia must score higher on the ACT/SAT than public/private-schooled students in order to qualify for state-funded scholarships. Regarding playing the admission game, ds wanted to go to a selective in-state school and not a community college. I wanted to give him a shot. 

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I really, really wish more colleges would do like Chapel Hill -- say "ok, this is what we expect -- this is enough -- no bonuses for more".

 

I remember reading an article -- the guy was at a good school, but I forgot where -- but he said basically, people with a SAT M+V 1400 were pretty much going to do fine, 1100-1400 was iffy, below that was probably not going to be successful -- and continued by saying "We should just say that you need 1400, or 1100 if you can convince us there were extenuating circumstances, and after that we take the score off your application and evaluate you without it."

So, do they then say if you have what we expect then your name goes in the hat that we use to draw for the Class of 2022?

 

I doubt it; instead they say it is holitistic and leave people wondering/making assumptions about why one person gets in and another doesn't.

 

I think it is a little like the debate about what came first the chicken or the egg. However, I have no dog in this fight, because all my students have chosen to attend a college where they knew they would be accepted even before they applied even though their high school class choice, grades and scores are just like those who apply to selective and highly selective schools.

Edited by *LC
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My homeschooling dream was to create an environment that opened the door for the type of learning that produces highly curious, intrinsically motivated children with a passion for knowledge. I'd say, though, that my ds is a pretty average thinker. No great thoughts rolling around in his head. Of course, his parents are fairly regular joes, too. This is our first go around with the college application process. I was assured by other mothers in our parent homeschool organization that the curriculum we were following was sufficient to attain admission to almost any college. Based on the requirements stipulated by the University System of Georgia, though, it appeared to me that homeschool students must "play" to a certain degree if they desire admission into the state's two flagship schools - UGA and Tech - and want to qualify for state-funded scholarships. Sure, ds has been accepted into some very nice LAC's and even received some healthy merit offers, but healthy doesn't compare with free tuition (at Georgia Tech, the state-funded Zell Miller scholarship pays the exact tuition charges assessed by the Bursar). Getting into college, in my view, is not the problem. It's funding it. Merit offers increase with higher ACT/SAT scores. Homeschooled students in Georgia must score higher on the ACT/SAT than public/private-schooled students in order to qualify for state-funded scholarships. Regarding playing the admission game, ds wanted to go to a selective in-state school and not a community college. I wanted to give him a shot. 

 

Playing the game to a certain level is not the same thing.  Everyone has to play it to a certain level just as we have to do when interviewing for a job or similar.  It's "a" game, but not the same game.

 

Studying for the SAT/ACT or taking decent courses in high school isn't the same as vying for that 35 or 36 and signing up for anything with AP in the title just to try to get accepted to Top Whatever.

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Creekland is so right. The ones that belong in those tippy top academic worlds take the lead, in contrast to being forced into a mold or pushed to be something they just aren't. And it is ok if they "aren't" because there are so many other wonderful things they can do and be.

What do you mean by "And it is ok if they "aren't" because there are so many other wonderful things they can do and be." I'm not sure if I am reading this correctly.

 

Do you mean places where they go to school?

 

Or do you mean where they end up after college? If so, I can tell you the story of my daughter and her best friend from her sophomore-year internship, a Duke computer science student. They had basically the same internship opportunities during college and basically the same job choices after college. They remain good friends even though they live in different states.

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What do you mean by "And it is ok if they "aren't" because there are so many other wonderful things they can do and be." I'm not sure if I am reading this correctly.

 

Do you mean places where they go to school?

 

Or do you mean where they end up after college? If so, I can tell you the story of my daughter and her best friend from her sophomore-year internship, a Duke computer science student. They had basically the same internship opportunities during college and basically the same job choices after college. They remain good friends even though they live in different states.

 

 

Yes, this is my point.   :thumbup1:   Sorry it wasn't clear.  I was really too tired to be on here last night, thus all the rambling.  :laugh:

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Playing the game to a certain level is not the same thing.  Everyone has to play it to a certain level just as we have to do when interviewing for a job or similar.  It's "a" game, but not the same game.

 

Studying for the SAT/ACT or taking decent courses in high school isn't the same as vying for that 35 or 36 and signing up for anything with AP in the title just to try to get accepted to Top Whatever.

Exactly. I think it is fairly easy to pick out the kids who made choices based on looking good to admissions offices: they are the ones who after being rejected lament that they wasted four years of high school for nothing.
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Exactly. I think it is fairly easy to pick out the kids who made choices based on looking good to admissions offices: they are the ones who after being rejected lament that they wasted four years of high school for nothing.

 

Okay - What I am trying to say is that we definitely made some curricula choices in order to look good to admissions. Not every decision but some. 

 
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Playing the game to a certain level is not the same thing.  Everyone has to play it to a certain level just as we have to do when interviewing for a job or similar.  It's "a" game, but not the same game.

 

Studying for the SAT/ACT or taking decent courses in high school isn't the same as vying for that 35 or 36 and signing up for anything with AP in the title just to try to get accepted to Top Whatever.

 

For the top students, study for the SAT/ACT is for the purpose of raising a 34 so they can get in to a college that will give them the opportunity to stretch, unlike their high school. These kids need the details they didn't think of on their own, or get from personal reading, and they can grab some of it from a prep book.  Its a shame that many of our top students can't access honors level coursework.  Only half of all public high schools offer physics...and that's gen ed physics, not honors, and it looks like the old Physical Science courses not like the Physics in our day.  Similar for calc.  We are deliberately stripping our rural areas of their future physicians by underfunding their top students who don't come from wealth. 

Edited by Heigh Ho
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Okay - What I am trying to say is that we definitely made some curricula choices in order to look good to admissions. Not every decision but some. 

 

We made course choices to satisfy admissions, though my middle son (the tippy top lad) did not do 4 years of History while in high school.  I emailed admissions to his desired schools prior to making that decision his senior year and they told me it would be fine as long as he could tell an interviewer why he opted for something else.

 

We were not trying to "look good" for admissions as much as "satisfy" them.  All the looking good came from the rest of his application.  He only had 2 AP tests (only 1 result at application time) and 3 DE courses (2 grades at application time). He did absolutely no SAT II tests. I doubt if he'd been from a "chase admissions" school that he'd have even been encouraged to apply to a Top 50 school without more.  He did have a very high ACT score and a bunch of extra curricular things as well as a lengthy reading list that are quite "outside the norm" from what I've seen in applications (totally based upon my school, not on the Hive!).  He got in to 5/6 schools - with very good aid at 4/5.  According to a friend of his who worked in the Financial Aid office, his merit aid award where he went was higher than normal.  He was waitlisted at one Lottery School, but that could easily be because he applied for a specific major within that school even knowing it was low odds to be admitted that way.  We'll never know.  He was happy where he went, so no loss.

 

I also was so outside the box and not interested in the game that I never submitted any course descriptions - just names.  I figured if a school didn't know what Calculus included, that was their problem, not mine.  Had we done anything "weird" I'd have described it.  But even an English course named "Great Works of Literature" seemed understandable enough to them.  ;)

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For the top students, study for the SAT/ACT is for the purpose of raising a 34 so they can get in to a college that will give them the opportunity to stretch, unlike their high school. These kids need the details they didn't think of on their own, or get from personal reading, and they can grab some of it from a prep book.  Its a shame that many of our top students can't access honors level coursework.  Only half of all public high schools offer physics...and that's gen ed physics, not honors, and it looks like the old Physical Science courses not like the Physics in our day.  Similar for calc.  We are deliberately stripping our rural areas of their future physicians by underfunding their top students who don't come from wealth. 

 

True for your area, not mine.  ;)  In my area Physics is offered even at the AP level (my school just switched back to AP from DE for some courses last year).  Very, very few kids at my school even get into the 30s (or SAT equivalent), yet still get accepted to four year colleges.

 

Top kids definitely have to supplement their education for that extra edge with vocab or math, but that's true at most schools and always has been.  It's nothing new.  It's one way to find top (driven) kids.  It happened at the super fancy private school I went to for 10th grade back in the early 80s too - and those kids had wealthy parents.

 

If your area is having trouble getting kids into college without a 34 on the ACT, there are larger problems.  Our school gets them in with an average score around 23/24.  Good kids get 27-30.  Really top kids get higher.  Most kids end up with some sort of aid (merit and/or need based).  We are not a wealthy area.

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Okay - What I am trying to say is that we definitely made some curricula choices in order to look good to admissions. Not every decision but some.

I think most of us made curricula choices to look good for admissions. However, there is a difference, imo, between studying a foreign language or calculus because it will look good for admissions vs joining a ton of clubs, activities, and taking so many AP classes that you have no interest in for the sole purpose of looking good on paper. The latter are the kids, imo, who lament on college confidential at the end of every admission cycle about how they wasted their time in high school doing stuff they didn't want to do.

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True for your area, not mine.  ;)  In my area Physics is offered even at the AP level (my school just switched back to AP from DE for some courses last year).  Very, very few kids at my school even get into the 30s (or SAT equivalent), yet still get accepted to four year colleges.

 

Top kids definitely have to supplement their education for that extra edge with vocab or math, but that's true at most schools and always has been.  It's nothing new.  It's one way to find top (driven) kids.  It happened at the super fancy private school I went to for 10th grade back in the early 80s too - and those kids had wealthy parents.

 

If your area is having trouble getting kids into college without a 34 on the ACT, there are larger problems.  Our school gets them in with an average score around 23/24.  Good kids get 27-30.  Really top kids get higher.  Most kids end up with some sort of aid (merit and/or need based).  We are not a wealthy area.

 

 HALF of all public high schools DO NOT OFFER physics.  HALF.  Most of these are rural high schools and inner city high schools.  You are in the 40% of middle class schools that offer AP/honors.  40%. Less than half. 

 

When I was in high school in the 80s, adults did not embrace mediocrity.  Students weren't in the Dickens position of "please sir, may  I have a class instead of a fourth study hall?".  They had options,because they were valued members of the community and would be the physicians, etc that the community needed down the road.  Do you really need to promote the "I've got mine, that sucks for you"? viewpoint when you live in a wealthy country and area ?  Could you not use your education to figure out how to include every child's academic needs, rather than just the ones that are in groups that are politically correct to serve?  Other areas do, and they aren't as wealthy as yours. Inclusion is a choice.

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 When I was in high school in the 80s, adults did not embrace mediocrity.  Students weren't in the Dickens position of "please sir, may  I have a class instead of a fourth study hall?".  They had options,because they were valued members of the community and would be the physicians, etc that the community needed down the road.  Do you really need to promote the "I've got mine, that sucks for you"? viewpoint when you live in a wealthy country and area ?  Could you not use your education to figure out how to include every child's academic needs, rather than just the ones that are in groups that are politically correct to serve?  Other areas do, and they aren't as wealthy as yours. Inclusion is a choice.

 

This is the area that I meant was more your area than mine.  Not whether Physics was offered.

 

We're rural and not a wealthy area.  This is why most kids get need based aid.  I thought you were aware of that.  It was only my personal 10th grade year when I was in FL that I went to a super fancy private school.  There's no such school around us where I work.  There is a Catholic private high school in the nearby town.

 

Not all places degrade education as much as yours seems to.  You seem to imply in your posts that all places are like yours.  I post to let readers know it's not that way.  They need to investigate their area to see which half their schools are in (if desired).

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I am unwilling to fully absolve the "game" or the college admissions system for the escalation in challenging coursework and extracurriculars among high school students.  What I find amazing, even through my second round of college applications, is the difference between what a school states it "requires" or expects from their applicants and the statistics of those who are offered admissions/enroll.  The same can be applied to scholarship winners.  As more students put together more stellar resumés, those who follow in subsequent years will be (probably unofficially) expected to produce the same.

 

That said, I am also continually amazed at the stories I hear from college students/recent grads I know or meet.  Substance abuse and addiction, suicide survival, panic/anxiety treatments, emotional support animal housing exemptions, extreme & risky behavior, all-nighters alternating between partying and studying, and the list goes on.  I cannot help but think that the pressure put on students is intense, both in high school and college. I'm not sure how many students pause to breath deeply, to relish the experience, and enjoy the moment. 

 

Clearly what we need is to find balance.  

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True for your area, not mine.  ;)  In my area Physics is offered even at the AP level

 

But your experience is not typical. 40% of US high schools do not offer any physics.

 

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 HALF of all public high schools DO NOT OFFER physics.  HALF.  Most of these are rural high schools and inner city high schools.  You are in the 40% of middle class schools that offer AP/honors.  40%. Less than half. 

 

 

 

 

Wow - a very discouraging statistc. We live in a rural area of South Georgia. One high school. AP Physics is offered. I'm surprised to hear that our school is ahead of the curve. Does it tend to be a state-by-state issue? 

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Wow - a very discouraging statistc. We live in a rural area of South Georgia. One high school. AP Physics is offered. I'm surprised to hear that our school is ahead of the curve. Does it tend to be a state-by-state issue?

Wow, I had no idea, either. Here is a blurb from a recent article:

 

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.

 

The numbers are worse in some states than others: In both Alaska and Oklahoma, about 70 percent of high schools don't offer the course. Florida and Utah are close behind, with nearly 60 percent of high schools lacking physics. Iowa, New Hampshire, and Maine do much better, with only about 15 percent of schools not offering the subject.

 

A closer look shows that the problem is associated with school size: Nationally, the high schools that offer physics have an average of about 880 students. Those that don't offer it enroll an average of just 270 students.

 

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

 

There is a map at the bottom of the article that I can't paste. Some of the numbers illustrate the different experiences of Creekland and Heigh Ho:

 

24 % of high schools in PA don't offer physics, while 46 % of high schools don't offer it in NY. I am shocked that the percentage is so high for NY. 37% of high schools in Georgia don't offer physics.

Edited by snowbeltmom
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Just thinking out loud recalling something I read over at CC, I wonder if these physics stats are similar to the stats about offering calc, where a lot of the schools that do not offer the course are very small, or juvenile correctional facilities, etc. such that the % of schools was not representative of the percent of students who actually have access to the course.

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Wow, I had no idea, either. Here is a blurb from a recent article:

 

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.

 

The numbers are worse in some states than others: In both Alaska and Oklahoma, about 70 percent of high schools don't offer the course. Florida and Utah are close behind, with nearly 60 percent of high schools lacking physics. Iowa, New Hampshire, and Maine do much better, with only about 15 percent of schools not offering the subject.

 

A closer look shows that the problem is associated with school size: Nationally, the high schools that offer physics have an average of about 880 students. Those that don't offer it enroll an average of just 270 students.

 

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

 

There is a map at the bottom of the article that I can't paste. Some of the numbers illustrate the different experiences of Creekland and Heigh Ho:

 

24 % of high schools in PA don't offer physics, while 46 % of high schools don't offer it in NY. I am shocked that the percentage is so high for NY. 37% of high schools in Georgia don't offer physics.

These schools should look around - UC Scout offers good (not great) quality Physics programs at fairly reasonable prices for other states (mostly free in California) - certainly better than no course at all IMHO.

https://www.ucscout.org/

 

My DS'  small B&M charter here in AZ using it now to fill in AP course offering "gaps".

It works well for motivated students.

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Just thinking out loud recalling something I read over at CC, I wonder if these physics stats are similar to the stats about offering calc, where a lot of the schools that do not offer the course are very small, or juvenile correctional facilities, etc. such that the % of schools was not representative of the percent of students who actually have access to the course.

 

This is a good point; it wouldn't make much sense for an alternative school focused mostly on "credit recovery" to offer classes like that. It would be very useful to have them broken down by school type. 

 

Still, though, I think there is no excuse for a school to not offer these as independent study through distance learning. Basically, have a study hall in a computer lab where the students who are doing independent study are all in the same room together. If they start mucking around and especially disrupting the learning environment for others, they lose the privilege. Is it as good as a class with a dedicated teacher? No. But it is better than no class at all or a makework class, for a motivated student. 

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I guess everyone is trying to get into those 56 colleges of 25% admits or less !!

 

 

Even more perversely, colleges are trying to impress USNews by soliciting as many applications as possible so they can reject more kids.

 

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This is what admissions wants to see in a genuine form but many students are trying to "mock" by prepping, prepping, prepping for top exam scores.  They want to see students who have a passion to learn that spans many subjects.  They would rather have a self-motivated student who loves to learn and has passion over a student who is acing the exams (usually with tons of money put into prep courses, etc) and doing what they feel like will check a box to get them into a particular school.  My dd had perfect scores on reading and english sections of the ACT by 8th but never took a prep course.  Why?  She was devouring classic literature at a very young age because it brought her joy and not because it was assigned or a part of an SAT prep curriculum.  She met with an AP advisor for AP english and was told "I am working so hard to teach kids to mock what you do naturally".  Some students are playing a game, attempting to look like they have passion and interest when they don't.  This makes it all so confusing.  There is a good college fit for almost everyone.  DS has already said, "I have no interest in studying that much and I don't have that kind of passion so I have no intention in applying to top tens".  To try to mock that kind of passion and interest just to fulfill the status of a top university isn't helping anyone.  I am just rambling really.   :laugh:

 

Sorry if this is a bit off topic, but these sentiments always strike a nerve with me.  What if you have a kid who gets perfect scores on every single exam with little prep?  Who takes loads of APs because when he looked at the options, he was interested in nearly all of them?  So do colleges assume that he is just trying to look good?  Should I have steered him away from APs and forced him to come up with unique classes instead?  (One of the things we did, that I'm not always sure was the best idea - was to NOT turn into a class some things he was learning about for fun - I didn't feel confident about how to do that, and I didn't want him to feel constrained by a required output.  We could have done this, though - and his transcript would have looked different.)  

 

Anyway, this is definitely not a kid who feels like he missed out during high school because of workload.  Nearly all of his classes were fun and interesting to him.  All of his ECs were done for the fun of it, and he's had plenty of downtime.  I'm also thankful that he would honestly be happy at any of the wide range of schools he applied to.  He applied to some super selectives, but when asked the question "if you got in everywhere, which would you choose?" he can't answer.  Every single one seems great to him.  So he isn't fixated on getting into a top school, but I still feel like I don't quite understand how the game is meant to be played anyway, especially in this kid's case.

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Sorry if this is a bit off topic, but these sentiments always strike a nerve with me.  What if you have a kid who gets perfect scores on every single exam with little prep?  Who takes loads of APs because when he looked at the options, he was interested in nearly all of them?  So do colleges assume that he is just trying to look good?  Should I have steered him away from APs and forced him to come up with unique classes instead?  (One of the things we did, that I'm not always sure was the best idea - was to NOT turn into a class some things he was learning about for fun - I didn't feel confident about how to do that, and I didn't want him to feel constrained by a required output.  We could have done this, though - and his transcript would have looked different.)  

 

Anyway, this is definitely not a kid who feels like he missed out during high school because of workload.  Nearly all of his classes were fun and interesting to him.  All of his ECs were done for the fun of it, and he's had plenty of downtime.  I'm also thankful that he would honestly be happy at any of the wide range of schools he applied to.  He applied to some super selectives, but when asked the question "if you got in everywhere, which would you choose?" he can't answer.  Every single one seems great to him.  So he isn't fixated on getting into a top school, but I still feel like I don't quite understand how the game is meant to be played anyway, especially in this kid's case.

 

I think that's exactly the opposite. Your kid is the one that the kids who are sleeping 4 hours a night studying for their AP classes that are making them hate learning are trying to be. Or, more likely, the one their parents are trying to make them be ... anyway. 

 

If it's natural for your kid, it's not "playing the game". 

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Sorry if this is a bit off topic, but these sentiments always strike a nerve with me.  What if you have a kid who gets perfect scores on every single exam with little prep?  Who takes loads of APs because when he looked at the options, he was interested in nearly all of them?  So do colleges assume that he is just trying to look good?  Should I have steered him away from APs and forced him to come up with unique classes instead?  (One of the things we did, that I'm not always sure was the best idea - was to NOT turn into a class some things he was learning about for fun - I didn't feel confident about how to do that, and I didn't want him to feel constrained by a required output.  We could have done this, though - and his transcript would have looked different.)  

 

Anyway, this is definitely not a kid who feels like he missed out during high school because of workload.  Nearly all of his classes were fun and interesting to him.  All of his ECs were done for the fun of it, and he's had plenty of downtime.  I'm also thankful that he would honestly be happy at any of the wide range of schools he applied to.  He applied to some super selectives, but when asked the question "if you got in everywhere, which would you choose?" he can't answer.  Every single one seems great to him.  So he isn't fixated on getting into a top school, but I still feel like I don't quite understand how the game is meant to be played anyway, especially in this kid's case.

 

 

 

No, that is not what I am talking about.  I am talking about the kid whose parents are pushing him/her to do those things but when they obviously have no interest of their own.  I think it sometimes shows in their essays, what they are seeking outside of class, their teacher recs, etc.  My dd was the above too (AP's, almost perfect test scores, etc) but she wanted the AP's rather than being forced into them.  

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This is a good point; it wouldn't make much sense for an alternative school focused mostly on "credit recovery" to offer classes like that. It would be very useful to have them broken down by school type. 

 

UC Scout online would not be a good choice for  a "credit recovery"  HS. They should be excluded in these kind of stats anyways  - I have some friends with students at these type schools - they are really just checking the box - the education is quite sub-standard (this is coming from the parents)

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The numbers are worse in some states than others: In both Alaska and Oklahoma, about 70 percent of high schools don't offer the course. Florida and Utah are close behind, with nearly 60 percent of high schools lacking physics. Iowa, New Hampshire, and Maine do much better, with only about 15 percent of schools not offering the subject.

 

A closer look shows that the problem is associated with school size: Nationally, the high schools that offer physics have an average of about 880 students. Those that don't offer it enroll an average of just 270 students.

 

 

In Alaska there are dozens of tiny village high schools off the road system (accessible by air or water only) with just a few students, and a large number of public "homeschool" high schools that don't specifically offer any courses. These schools would likely be the majority of schools as far as numbers, but not remotely cover the majority of high school students in the state.

 

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My homeschooling dream was to create an environment that opened the door for the type of learning that produces highly curious, intrinsically motivated children with a passion for knowledge. I'd say, though, that my ds is a pretty average thinker. No great thoughts rolling around in his head. Of course, his parents are fairly regular joes, too. This is our first go around with the college application process. I was assured by other mothers in our parent homeschool organization that the curriculum we were following was sufficient to attain admission to almost any college. Based on the requirements stipulated by the University System of Georgia, though, it appeared to me that homeschool students must "play" to a certain degree if they desire admission into the state's two flagship schools - UGA and Tech - and want to qualify for state-funded scholarships. Sure, ds has been accepted into some very nice LAC's and even received some healthy merit offers, but healthy doesn't compare with free tuition (at Georgia Tech, the state-funded Zell Miller scholarship pays the exact tuition charges assessed by the Bursar). Getting into college, in my view, is not the problem. It's funding it. Merit offers increase with higher ACT/SAT scores. Homeschooled students in Georgia must score higher on the ACT/SAT than public/private-schooled students in order to qualify for state-funded scholarships. Regarding playing the admission game, ds wanted to go to a selective in-state school and not a community college. I wanted to give him a shot.

Although, many won't agree on this board I'm so with you. Our life is full, very full. I don't see why we have to do "Fine Arts" when he has done a Wilderness First Responder course and got a better grade than most of the EMTs in the class. Why there isn't a requirement for coding or building stuff for engineers, which is an art form, rather than taking music or painting. I don't see why my struggles with language kid has to take years of foreign language when he is unlikely to actually remember it. It would be great if I actually remembered any of my three years of Russian from public high school so we could have started in first grade. It certainly is a valuable thing if you succeed but really most students simply forget it and for someone who isn't interested that is all the more likely. I know other countries have a better success rate but they often start younger with parents who know multiple languages, etc. That makes no difference to how sucessful my child with a language disability will be. He would prefer to be spending that time researching the influence of John Locke or analyzing current foreign policy rather than conjugating in a foreign language, which would be more valuable to him for sure.

 

And yes we are doing test prep because getting scholarships pays a lot more than minimum wage and since our local University doesn't have his major it's not really an option to not have some extra money so we can go to a regular, average school. He isn't aiming for ivy league after all and he has done a lot of valuable things even if they don't check the box but he has also given up many many valuable things so he could check less valuable, to him, boxes.

 

Edited for spelling typos.

Edited by frogger
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In Alaska there are dozens of tiny village high schools off the road system (accessible by air or water only) with just a few students, and a large number of public "homeschool" high schools that don't specifically offer any courses. These schools would likely be the majority of schools as far as numbers, but not remotely cover the majority of high school students in the state.

 

This. Sometimes you only have one or two students and the classes offered might change yearly. I'm not sure what else can be expected under the circumstances. They get more than average $$ per pupil. Is it expected that we pay for a trained physics teacher to fly to every single village with one or more students that want a physics class and provide them with a cabin and pay them extra for their hardship? People up here constantly complain that our per pupil spending is so high that our results should be better. It is neccesary to look at the circumstances though. You can't compare villages of 5 families who have no road access to New York city. It won't work.

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Some universities are moving towards allowing programming languages to count for language requirements at college; I think it's an interesting idea.

 

I'd like to see more looking at "how can we satisfy our educational goals" rather than "how can we tick the same boxes that we've been doing" at the university level. 

 

I especially hate using college algebra as a catch-all math class and requiring it for general education ... but if I got started on that I could rant for pages. 

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But your experience is not typical. 40% of US high schools do not offer any physics.

 

 

FWIW, I do consider my high school to be typical.  We are rated right in the middle of the school districts for my state and PA is listed as being #22 among states for "best public education" according to google.

 

If that's not typical, I'm not sure what is TBH.

 

Roughly half the schools will be worse, but roughly half will be better too.  A ton will be in the same ballpark if it's like a bell curve.

 

I think the district Heigh Ho is in is quite near the bottom of the bell curve on the negative side sadly.  

 

Also, there is a school locally that offers credits pretty easily to kids who'd otherwise drop out of our school.  The goal is to get them a high school diploma.  They don't offer Physics - or Calculus - or advanced courses in anything.  No one really considers them a typical school for our area.  They are a school of last resort, but they issue high school diplomas.

 

The good thing with my school is our admin is actively working to make our school better (part of why we got AP back after going solely DE - DE is NOT as respected here for higher level colleges).  I've seen changes in my 19 years of working there.  Some good (let's encourage all kids to read by providing dedicated reading time), some not so good (fuzzy math anyone???), but overall, better.  We've gone up in our state rankings from slightly below the 50% mark to slightly above so the "better" seems to be getting reflected in the stats.  Heigh Ho's district appears to be going the other way.  For every school heading up, there needs to be one heading down (sort of - all COULD get better or worse, but...)  It doesn't really matter that we're in different states (I think).

 

Whether anyone else considers my school typical or not depends upon them.  I will continue to do so based upon the stats google gives me.

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Some universities are moving towards allowing programming languages to count for language requirements at college; I think it's an interesting idea.

 

 

 

Listed under "Official Policies of the University System of Georgia" 

 

 

5. FOREIGN LANGUAGE/AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE/COMPUTER SCIENCE: Two (2) units in the same foreign language emphasizing speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Two (2) units of American Sign Language or two (2) units of Computer Science emphasizing coding and programming may be used to satisfy this requirement.

 

 
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Some universities are moving towards allowing programming languages to count for language requirements at college; I think it's an interesting idea.

 

I'd like to see more looking at "how can we satisfy our educational goals" rather than "how can we tick the same boxes that we've been doing" at the university level.

 

I think it is a terrible idea, because it further reduces the engagement of American students with other cultures. Language study is not only syntax and grammar; it involves literature and culture and gives students a completely different window to the world.

Language studies as a child has numerous benefits for the developing brain.

I am concerned that eliminating the FL requirement for college will further reduce the already pathetic language instruction in high school and give high schools more incentives to cut language classes.

 

Programming is not the same as speaking and reading another language and being engaged in another human culture.

Nor does having rigorous foreign language instruction preclude students from also learning how to program.

but yeah, lets dumb down American schools even further.

 

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I think it is a terrible idea, because it further reduces the engagement of American students with other cultures. Language study is not only syntax and grammar; it involves literature and culture and gives students a completely different window to the world.

Language studies as a child has numerous benefits for the developing brain.

I am concerned that eliminating the FL requirement for college will further reduce the already pathetic language instruction in high school and give high schools more incentives to cut language classes.

 

Programming is not the same as speaking and reading another language and being engaged in another human culture.

Nor does having rigorous foreign language instruction preclude students from also learning how to program.

but yeah, lets dumb down American schools even further.

 

 

I understand and, for the most part, agree with your point, but I am thankful that the University System of Georgia allows ASL or CS to be taken in leiu of a FL. My dyslexic struggles enough with her own language. 

 

 
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I totally agree!

 

I think it is a terrible idea, because it further reduces the engagement of American students with other cultures. Language study is not only syntax and grammar; it involves literature and culture and gives students a completely different window to the world.

Language studies as a child has numerous benefits for the developing brain.

I am concerned that eliminating the FL requirement for college will further reduce the already pathetic language instruction in high school and give high schools more incentives to cut language classes.

 

Programming is not the same as speaking and reading another language and being engaged in another human culture.

Nor does having rigorous foreign language instruction preclude students from also learning how to program.

but yeah, lets dumb down American schools even further.

 

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I wish FL were required in US public schools in elementary and/or middle schools - you know - when kids more readily pick up languages.  Waiting to start them until high school is developmentally wrong timing. Continuing them during high school would be fine, of course, but I wish they only had to show some level of proficiency for college admission - and had exceptions for those who truly need them due to documented processing issues.

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I think it is a terrible idea, because it further reduces the engagement of American students with other cultures. Language study is not only syntax and grammar; it involves literature and culture and gives students a completely different window to the world.

Language studies as a child has numerous benefits for the developing brain.

I am concerned that eliminating the FL requirement for college will further reduce the already pathetic language instruction in high school and give high schools more incentives to cut language classes.

 

Programming is not the same as speaking and reading another language and being engaged in another human culture.

Nor does having rigorous foreign language instruction preclude students from also learning how to program.

but yeah, lets dumb down American schools even further.

 

 

I see that you feel rather strongly about this, but I think that many students would learn and retain more from a targeted culture class/sequence; the language requirement can often be satisfied by two semesters, which is often spent mostly studying grammar and syntax that is forgotten once the class is over. 

 

It would also make it possible to teach in more variety than we currently do; my undergraduate school offered French, German, and Spanish, so everything was European or American. 

 

I am not, btw, speaking of a "culture" class where the students dress up in funny hats and eat weird foods, but rather a serious look at geography, religion, social structure, governmental structure, recent history, relations with neighboring countries, and so on. 

 

(Edit: and I was not sufficiently clear in my original post; were I to allow computer languages to count, I would still require cultural exploration classes in the general education curriculum, as I think it is one of the most important things that students are exposed to at university. I just don't think that foreign language classes are the only medium for this.)

Edited by kiana
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I think it is a terrible idea, because it further reduces the engagement of American students with other cultures. Language study is not only syntax and grammar; it involves literature and culture and gives students a completely different window to the world.

Language studies as a child has numerous benefits for the developing brain.

I am concerned that eliminating the FL requirement for college will further reduce the already pathetic language instruction in high school and give high schools more incentives to cut language classes.

 

Programming is not the same as speaking and reading another language and being engaged in another human culture.

Nor does having rigorous foreign language instruction preclude students from also learning how to program.

but yeah, lets dumb down American schools even further.

 

I agree with this in theory but in practice it is much harder than it first appears. Language disabilities, bush villages, and many other factors contribute to making this a meaningless credit if not done well. Without teachers that actually have an understanding of the nuances of the culture it can make people just think they know about a culture. So you tried Brie in French class, whoop-de-doo. In some places learning how to survive at college IS learning about a different culture. If you grew up knowing how to skin seals, sew waterproof clothing, etc but got locked out of college because you didn't have a foreign language down that says a lot to me about how well academia has become open minded about other cultures by knowing an extra language or two.

 

Different perspectives are good. If that is what you want then a replacement credit could include a cultural studies class where you read the literature in translation, listen to interviews or lectures from someone who actually grew up in that culture, and perhaps study some of the differences of the language.

 

The colleges want 2-3 years of the same language to gain proficiency though. So what exacatly is the goal of that requirement?

 

I do like that our local public schoool district has multiple immersion schools. By the time they are in high school they can be fluent and focus on specific goals for their career, etc. That is one way to do it well. But as it is right now for what seems to be a majority of Americans, it is a box to check and then it becomes worthless. The disconnect I see is that requirements don't make things happen well. They are just requirements. My children's great opportunities probably look different then other people's great opportunities. To take advantage of them I can't fill all my time checking boxes.

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I wish FL were required in US public schools in elementary and/or middle schools - you know - when kids more readily pick up languages.  Waiting to start them until high school is developmentally wrong timing. Continuing them during high school would be fine, of course, but I wish they only had to show some level of proficiency for college admission - and had exceptions for those who truly need them due to documented processing issues.

 

Completely agree.

Two years is ridiculous anyway, because you cannot achieve any meaningful fluency in such a short amount of time.

Kids should start in elementary/early middle school and study the language through high school - that produces proficiency.

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