One of the many issues facing today's high schools is how to overcome years of mismanaging students as they've progressed from elementary school to junior high and then on to high school. I've been thinking a great deal about what gets in the way of a smooth transition between eighth grade and ninth grade. Two questions came to mind. Does the 10-12 school work better than the 9-12, or does it create a new set of problems? And can accountability happen at the middle/junior high level?
This line of questioning then brought me to another line of questions. What do students need to be prepared for high school? The academics should be a given, but what about other skills like intra- and interpersonal? Who is preparing these students to be responsible self managers and self advocates?
I stopped short of putting those lesson plans on the teachers because NCLB doesn't have any language in the bill to address that. We have more important things to focus on. So I suppose that leaves the parents responsible for preparing their student for life in high school. But, who is teaching them what they need to know? Let's be honest with one another, parents are getting old. The average age for a first time mother is around 27 years old. That puts mom in her forties when her little baby enters high school. The average age of a first time father is just over 30, also putting him in his forties when junior reaches high school.
Now, without denegrating the aging parents, the truth is that as one ages, one loses touch with pop culture. And if you try to hard to keep up with it, either your kid makes fun of you, or your neighbor does.
The question then, is, what do parents need to do in order for them to actually help their student succeed in high school?