Drew Michigan

Workforce Training In High School

Nowadays, many students believe that high school is a waste of time. What can we do about this?

Dear new President,

     To begin, congratulations on your presidency! Now it is time to get to work. Coming from a senior in high school, education is very important to us all. We all want a job. We all want to be able to support ourselves along with our family. Nonetheless, ensuring that our education is in the best hands is most important. Now I do not mean having sufficient teachers, however that is also important, but yet learning about subject matters that we are both interested in and find helpful for the future. Nothing is worse for an individual than to spend 4 years of their life and feel like they have gained little knowledge at the end of their senior year. Therefore, I believe that students should have the choice to take the classes they best believe will further help them in the future.

     As it stands right now, the majority of students are not always screaming with excitement to get up at 7 A.M. Why do you think that is? To begin, there are many reasons as to why students have this attitude and it does indeed vary from student to student. Nonetheless, most students are not excited for school because they are not interested in the subject matter. It is simply not helpful for students to go to school and sit in classrooms that they could care less about. Ultimately, this raises the question of “why?” Why do we only learn in the classroom and not gain real-world experiences? Why do we have little freedom in choosing our classes? For many, it is seen as a big waste of time, and that needs to change.

     In addition to a lack of interest, many students believe that high school is simply not meant for them, and often prefer an alternative form of education. While that is totally acceptable as high school is most definitely not for everyone, some form of education is needed. As it currently stands, high school is a requirement, but individuals often go through it for the wrong reason: to get credit and move on with their life. However, high school should be seen as a time to prepare yourself for the next step in your life, no matter what form of education that may be.

     College is obviously a big moment in one’s life. It takes up much of the discussion from freshman to senior year in high school, to graduation day in college. But nowadays, distractions are encouraging people to not attend college and explore an alternative route. Tuition rates have nearly tripled in the last 40 years, forcing many students to not go to college. If an individual chooses to explore an alternate path of education, such as community college or vocational school, then that is also acceptable. The problem occurs when students feel the need to get no higher level education and enter the workforce immediately following high school with minimal experience. At the end of the day, yes, one can still be successful without attending college. But how successful? You may get lucky and land a minimum wage job with little experience, but the odds are low, and even then minimum wage is not enough to support yourself and your family. ⅔ of jobs require a form of education beyond a 4 year high school, so take the time to expand your knowledge after high school as it will be worth it in the near future, however, college is not your only option.

     Vocational schools have gained a lot of popularity over the past decade and it is now a route that many students choose to take. These classes are structured in a way where students are provided hands on experience in the workforce in a profession that they are interested in. This type of program is exactly what people are advocating for high schools: a program where students get experience in areas that they wish to pursue. In vocational schools, standardized tests scores and grades are lower than in a structured high school, however, that doesn’t truly matter. While grades and tests scores are valuable when measuring a student’s progress, what do they really evaluate? It is much more helpful to see how an individual is hands on in the workforce rather than on paper which is exactly what vocational schools strive to excel in.

      No matter what path is taken, some sort of higher level education is needed following high school. One can simply not be successful in the workforce if he/she has not taken the required time to learn and gain experience in that area. Tests scores, grades, essays, extracurriculars are all great way to measure a student’s ability, but where does that ability get you? The value comes from evaluating individuals in an environment that they are interested in and eager to learn about because that is when a student is at his/her best. That is what I ask from you Mr. President: an educational system structured in a way that gives students the greatest possibility to grow and achieve their goals.


Drew Leshman  

Oakland Writing Project (Michigan) - CASA

CASA - AP Lang

9th-12th grade students who come from 3 different schools.

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