PA Considers 13th Grade!

Rob Wonderling, who was part of a 31 member panel discussing education for the future of Pennsylvanians asked whether Pa should consider having a 13th grade for students.  He felt it would be a time when they could iron out their academic skills so that they would be prepared for college, or technical school and it would also allow them more time to make financial choices about their futures.

Here is a little of what he’s said-

Rob Wonderling, the president and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce who chaired that commission in 2012, said it could be time for Pennsylvania to consider this change.

He said it would be a time – perhaps not even a full year – for students, many of whom are filled with uncertainty about their future, to prepare for their next step.

They could use it to get themselves academically prepare for postsecondary education. It could also be used to develop a plan for financing postsecondary education or arriving at a more definitive career plan and the best path to get there.

As for who would own the 13th grade, the chairman of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Postsecondary Education threw out the idea of it possibly belonging to a combination of community colleges and career and technical centers.

I brought this portion of the article back because it was interesting to me that they were talking about who would “own” the 13th grade.  The chairman threw out the idea of it belonging to community colleges and technical centers.


Okay, here is my concern.  The other day we were talking about what responsibility state government has to students.  We talked about how it was important for states to create a strong workforce within their states, but I’m not the only one that thinks there is a danger when we have states directing students into particular jobs that would satisfy the state without necessarily satisfying students.  Our system of education doesn’t  currently have the tracking that other nations have.  We seem to like the feeling that children should be able to choose their own careers.  Of course that works for kids who know what they want to do, but it sure is super stressful for the children who have no idea.  Here the chairman makes a good point.  Kids who are 17 and 18 aren’t necessarily ready to make life long decisions about their future.  But why should one extra year in High School make any difference?

Will another year of formal education in secondary school help students decide what educational path they want to take?  And more importantly, how will community colleges, or technical schools influence their choices?

What do you think?



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