The Only Thing High About High School Is…

Rear view of a bunch of high school students walking down the hallway

I think it is time to bring our educational institutions into the 21st century. It seems that not a lot has changed in that area since my high school years back in the 1960s, except that none of us had backpacks then, and we spent more time in the classroom. This post is about the first thing that needs to change in this area.

First of all, let me complete the sentence in the title above:

The only thing high about high school is maybe the proliferation of drugs.

No, this post is not about drugs in high school, it is more about the name itself. There is simply nothing “high” about high school. Yeah, in 1505 when the phrase was invented getting twelve years of education would have been considered a very high achievement, but now it should only be considered the beginning of that process. Tragically, there are still far too many who believe it is the end of their education.

What will it take to bring education into this century?

The first thing that needs to change is the word itself.

High school just isn’t high anymore, it is more of the beginning, not the end. We should be renaming our education years. Let’s keep the phrase “primary” school as it does mean getting education in the very basic parts of what we need to know. It’s about learning to read and write and do some basic mathematical calculations. It’s about learning to get along in a group and learning “Life’s rules”.

It’s about the beginning stages of deciding our life’s purpose. Most of the guys in my generation wanted to be firemen at an early stage of our life. We loved the giant red trucks with the bright lights and sirens. But of course that was only a first attempt. There would be many more life purposes in the later years.

So, let’s keep the “Primary” to mean the first six years of our education.

Then there are the middle years, those we spend during our teenage time. These are the ones where we hone our characters. We make more serious decisions about what we want to do with our lives. Some choose to serve humanity. They choose to be doctors, nurses, teacher social workers and other like fields In other words those who serve the greater good.

Some are attracted to the arts. Those are the ones who entertain us, help us realize our dreams. And then some of us choose to be the inventors. These are the middle years so let’s call them that.

Then there is college where we start to gather the real skills to do our chosen profession. Our initial college years make up the last four to eight years of full time education.

Finally, there are the “maintenance” years. These are years that we return to the educational process to upgrade to the latest knowledge available in our chosen fields. These years continue for our remaining life. Some of these maintenance years might also include a drastic shift in our work lives where we choose a completely different field.

High School just isn’t high anymore, and we should quit thinking that it is.