The Collegiate High School is a Bad Idea
November 9, 2011
Throughout the first weeks of November Dr. Brian Smith and Mike Reuter, superintendent and CFO of HSE respectively, met with parents from the three junior highs and students of the HSHS and FHS government classes. These meetings were held to educate parents and students on the new collegiate high school plans and rebalancing versus redistricting plans. The meetings opened with a PowerPoint presentation, available at http://www.hse.k12.in.us/ADM/news.
Questions were taken through an open microphone session available to parents and students. Although the focus of the meeting was meant to be on the rebalancing and redistricting options, it was clear that the concerns of students and parents alike were directed at the possibility of a collegiate school.
Speaking with Smith after the meeting, he expressed that there was a silent majority of parents and students in support of the new collegiate school. However, at the meeting, students were almost unanimously opposed to the idea. These high school students represent the opinions of the future-affected students. We beg parents to listen to the experiences of these high school students, as well as their opposition in the decision for their own children.
On paper the collegiate high school offers an innovative and financially pleasing solution to college-bound students. However, in reality, this school takes away from the high school experience, disconnects students from the camaraderie of high school and only reaches an isolated interest group of students.
The potential collegiate high school completely changes the concept of high school. High school in itself is the transitional period for students to prepare for college. These four years offer students a time to take a variety of classes and participate in extra-curricular activities. The time in high school is an experimental time for students to explore interests to find an appropriate college or postsecondary path. With the introduction of the collegiate high school, students lose the opportunity to pursue multiple interests. The collegiate school redefines the high school experience and begins a snowball effect of students being forced to grow up too quickly.
Although students who choose to attend the collegiate high school would retain their identifications with their home schools, it would be impossible for these students to truly feel a part of HSHS or FHS. According to Smith, it is possible that students who enter the collegiate program as a freshman would never set foot in their home high schools. They would be surrounded only by peers with the same interests in math and science who made the same choice to take on “more challenging” classes. The culture of a diverse high school like HSHS and FHS is lost to these students, who will never be able to fully experience high school as it should be.
While the collegiate high school offers pathways with its STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) focus, it eliminates the possibility for students to pursue interests other than STEM. For example, the collegiate high school will not offer art, English or history after a student’s junior year. It is discriminatory to those other interest groups that are not offered. What is the point of only offering half of the subjects at a collegiate high school if they are already offered at HSHS?
Students must attend these meetings to take a stand against the collegiate high school.
Students must provide parents with the insight from a current high school student’s perspective, especially to those parents without current high school students