A couple years ago I read a novel written by Lois Lowry called The Giver. If you have never read this book I highly recommend it. The gist of The Giver is that children go through a ceremony when they are twelve where their adult career is chosen for them. The Ceremony of Twelve takes place after a child has turned twelve - think of it as a graduation ceremony from sixth to seventh grade. In the world of The Giver there is no individuality, no differences in appearance, personality or behavior.
Now imagine my surprise when I read Rebecca Kemble's recent article on The Progressive's website entitled Walker’s School Committee Curbs the Curriculum:
Numbers two and four sound familiar? If not, they are straight out of The Giver. How can you expect anyone at 12 years of age to know what they want to do in their life?
- Reduce the number of English credits required to graduate from High School from 4 to 3 and increase the number of math and science credits from 2 to 3.
- Require all students in schools that receive public funding to have an Academic and Career Plan from 6th grade on.
- Require standardized testing of all students in 4th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th grade.
- Require that students taking college courses through the Youth Options program justify their course selection by relevance to their Academic and Career Plan.
Of course this is all a part of the Wisconsin GOP's (via ALEC) move to drive education to fit the needs of employers instead of the needs of students. No longer will a child be able to go off plan and explore something than may interest them. In my case I would have never have been able to take classes as diverse as auto shop and Romance and Realism in literature. I would have never have been introduced to Vonnegut.
Governor Walker's plan is wrong for Wisconsin, it is wrong for the children of Wisconsin. If a business wants trained workers then it needs to work with a union and set up an apprenticeship program. Children must have every opportunity to explore their interests and grow into a well rounded person with a variety of interests instead of being pigeon-holed into a career that may or may not fit them when they graduate from high school.