Policy and a Pint®: Re-inventing High Schools

Policy and a Pint
Steve Seel at Policy and a Pint: How are we taking care of Mom? at the Amsterdam Bar and Hall. (MPR / Nate Ryan)
Policy and a Pint: Reinventing High School
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In 2016, it was reported that high school graduation rates in the U.S. reached an all-time high of 83 percent in the 2014-2015 school year, marking the fifth straight record-setting year. While graduation rates continue to climb, the improvement comes at a time when scores of high school standardized tests are essentially flat and average scores on the ACT and SAT are actually down.

The rising graduation rate may reflect genuine progress but some say it raises questions about strategies by states and districts to increase graduation numbers. A high school diploma should indicate a high school student is "post-secondary ready," but are they if college campuses are seeing an uptick in remedial education, which are often not credit-bearing courses?

Knowing that there will be a workforce gap issue as baby boomers retire, how are high schools re-thinking their curriculum to better prepare all students for post-secondary study and/or careers after high school?

Host Steve Seel hosts this live conversation at El Nuevo Rodeo's event space with Beth Hawkins, Writer-in-residence, Education Post and education blogger; Mike McCollor, Principal, Washington Technology Magnet School; and Michelle J. Walker, Executive Director, Generation Next to discuss how some high schools are finding success through innovation, while others continue to face challenges in re-thinking high school.

Listen to the entire conversation using the audio player above.

"The challenge is it's not so much that schools don't serve some kids, it's that schools don't collectively serve all children, all youth. And when you think about the systems and structures and the ecosystems that schools sit in don't really allow for the complexity of all of the different settings and environments that we need for all of our children. It's just not the case."

—Michelle Walker, Executive Director, Generation Next

"We have these very basic, very rigid, ideas about how 'school is done' - starting with the four walls and starting with a teacher at the front of the room. And we have a very hard time envisioning how to use technology and how to use disruptive innovation to do something other than what we have done."

—Beth Hawkins, writer-in-residence, Education Post

"We have a system of accountability for teachers in Minnesota... but within that framework of accountability, where is the freedom for the teacher to be able to structure the classroom in a way that they want to, and that they think is going to meet the needs of most of the kids? As a school administrator, that's my job is to figure out how to provide the resources and freedom to meet the needs of kids."

—Mike McCollor, Principal, Washington Technology Magnet School

Funded by the Bush Foundation & Target, Policy and a Pintr is an event series presented by the Citizens League and 89.3 The Current that engages people in important conversations about public policy in Minnesota.