With its budget deep in the red, Utah is considering making senior year in high school optional. If education cuts proposed by state senator Chris Buttars are passed — giving students the right to graduate after completing the 11th grade — the state could shave $100 million off its $700 million deficit. "You're spending a whole lot of money for a whole bunch of kids who aren't getting anything out of that grade," says Buttars. But education groups, teachers and high school students are fiercely opposed. Is there a case for cutting the 12th grade in tough financial times? (Watch a CNN report about Utah's proposal to cut high school short)
This is lunacy: Is Buttars out of his mind? asks the St. George, Utah, Spectrum & Daily News in an editorial. No research and "little thought" has gone into this proposal. Will we need a "remedial system" for kids unprepared for the real world? Has there been a "formal study" about how it will affect "college admissions"? It's a completely "out-of-the-box" idea — but it should go back in, "sealed tightly," and never considered again.
"Keep 12th Grade"
Why should schools get special treatment? It's really not such a bad idea, says Laura Banks in the Salt Lake Tribune. While "businesses and government agencies" are being forced to make cuts, there's no reason why public schools shouldn't "tighten their belts" too. As long as you "keep the libraries open and provide tutoring," then "no one will miss the 12th grade."
"Lose 12th Grade"
This bill actually wouldn't change much: Students in Utah already have the choice to leave early, says Debra Roberts, chairwoman of the state's education board, quoted in the Los Angeles Times. And about 200 a year do. But even though the "option is in place for early graduation," students shouldn't be "pushed" to leave.
"In Utah, a plan to cut 12th grade"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Watch out, China — America is working on dogfighting drones
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- Why the Chinese military is only a paper dragon
- The troubling persistence of eugenicist thought in modern America
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover revealed the worst of both shows
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why America won't have enough money to battle ISIS
- Libertarianism's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea
- 11 facts yü should know about the umlaut
Subscribe to the Week