A New Architecture for High School Learning

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  • Source:
    State Education Standard, v23 n2 p6-11, 37 May 2023.
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  • Publication Type:
    Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
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    • Abstract:
      In 1906, the Carnegie unit, or credit hour, was introduced to standardize U.S. public education. It defined the precise number of minutes students needed to learn a particular subject and the number of credit hours required to earn a high school or college degree. At the dawn of the 20th century, the Carnegie unit served the important purpose of bringing order to an entirely unstandardized system. However, today, this model of schooling exacts a heavy toll. Young people consistently report feeling they are in an intellectual straightjacket: Their schools give them schedules, tell them what classes to take, stick them in rows of desks, and make them read textbooks that lack relevance and study subjects that are disconnected from the skills they need to succeed. For most students, school is neither engaging nor inspiring; it is something to endure. less than half of U.S. high school graduates are ready for college or a career. Consequently, most young people start their adult lives behind, and they will have to spend some, if not all, of their time trying to catch up. This article argues that state leaders should retire the Carnegie unit and open the door for high school designs that ensure learning is engaging, relevant, experiential, and competency based.
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    • Education Level:
      High Schools; Secondary Education
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