Jason Lindquist (jlindquist) wrote,
Jason Lindquist

Vocational focus in school

San Diego Unified is doing an experiment on three campuses, funded partly by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. They're breaking up three high school campuses into several smaller academies--with their own administrations and sections of campus. Each academy focuses on a narrower academic theme. Of San Diego, Kearny, and Clairemont high schools, the first two are in rougher urban neighborhoods.

As with anything, there's up-sides and downsides. I'm glad to see innovative efforts to create opportunities happening in disadvantaged neighborhoods. A narrower sense of direction can help a lot of people thrive. On the other hand, I don't think the high school years are the time a person should focus on what they want to do with the rest of their life. By focusing someone on engineering or visual media, are you hindering their future ability to pursue psychology or law if they decide that's really where their heart lies? SDUSD's implementation is pushing a few people in the wrong direction. Each academy can only handle so many students, so people are winding up in academies or classes that they emphatically don't want to be in. They're losing choice, and I don't think that serves them well. Maybe that's something they'll work out, but we'll have to see.

*sigh* And they incorporated that bullshit block-scheduling scheme...

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