5 things about high school that aren’t true anymore

By Blessed Sheriff
Intern, The NEA Foundation


Public high school education isn’t what it used to be. How we learn and what we learn has changed dramatically over recent years. Thankfully, changes have resulted in what has been called the most educated and informed generation ever.

But what exactly has changed, and how? Recently, I sat down with the President & CEO of the NEA Foundation, Harriet Sanford, to discover the answer.

1. The most important device to have with you during high school? A type writer.

As technology has evolved and advanced over time, high school educators have taken great strides to ensure that technological resources are being taken advantage of in the classroom. Gone are the days of typewriters and handwritten essays! Laptops and smart phones are now essential tools for many high school students.

2. Research is conducted primarily through books and the encyclopedia.

The internet, as we know it today, has not existed for a long time, and yet it has completely revolutionized the way that students conduct research and investigation. Going to the library is not exactly unheard of, but when students have access to a wide variety of reliable internet sources at the tips of their fingers, it is most likely to be their first option.

3. High school alone can prepare you for the SAT/ACT.

These days, test preparation books are revised, edited, and sold to millions of anxious high school test-takers each year. Test preparation for the SAT/ACT is a concept that students invest in more than ever.

4. Access to global education is limited.

Technology has allowed us access to different perspectives and cultures in and outside of the classroom. In addition, the advent of internationally-minded curricula and global education programs like the International Baccalaureate Programme has made it a lot easier for students to see the connection between what they are learning and the real world.

5. Required/recommended courses include Math, English, and a Language.

The list of required/recommended courses has been expanded over the last few years to include technology/computer science, health, fine arts, social studies, and the physical sciences in many public high schools. A well-rounded education has become the cornerstone of our high school graduation requirements.

We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. Our education system must continue to evolve to better match the needs of students.

Harriet Sanford attended Colonie Central High School in Colonie, NY. Blessed Sheriff is a senior at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, MD.

2 Comments

Thomas Brady
September 3, 2014 @ 4:56 PM
All parents are involved and actively participate in their children's successful learning.
joanssoble@comcast.net
September 5, 2014 @ 9:37 AM
Your typewriter example reminds me of a wonderful minicourse I attended this summer at the Project Zero Future of Learning (#HGSEPZFOL) Summer Institute entitled "Beyond Rhetoric to Revival, Rejuvenation & Renewal: Self-Design & the Future Meta-History of Practice." I know that title is a real mouthful, but part of what the workshop examined is what has changed in education, and what hasn't changed. It was interesting to see that a lot of the the educational goals, purposes, and methodologies that are marketed as so new and innovative have long, deep roots in the educational past. The effect was that everyone in the room felt like he/she had something to contribute to the conversation. That was due not only to the session design, but to the skillful, respectful facilitation of Arzu Mistry and Geetha Narayanan.


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