Beyond Labels

A 360° Discussion of Foreign, National and Local Policy Issues

For Monday: What is the Purpose of High School?

We often revisit the link between education and economic prosperity in our Beyond Labels discussions. This coming week, we will be joined by Tim Seeley, the new Head of School at George Stevens Academy.

We’ll explore the competing demands on high school educators:

  • General Education (i.e., what should every student know before leaving high school, recognizing that the next step might be specialization in college or the workplace)
  • College Preparation (what do colleges expect freshmen to know before they matriculate)
  • Vocational Training (for both college-bound and non-college bound students)

All this against a backdrop of rapid social and physical development of each student.

As usual, I expect we’ll have a wide-ranging and fun conversation.


    Quite radically.

    If the group does discuss the purpose of high school, these two articles might be very relevant: “To get into college, Harvard report advocates for kindness instead of overachieving.” TURNING THE TIDE REPORT. “Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good through College Admissions.”

    The report gives specific suggestions for changing the college admission process. Many admissions departments, including Harvard’s, have already signed on.

  • From Dick Marshuetz:
    I think the human experience shows that democracy is fragile. If we are to keep ours, first and foremost our citizens must be able to understand what’s at stake, especially when they vote; they should be able to weigh alternatives and steer clear of answers that appear too pat; they should be able to resist being seduced by appeals solely to self-interest or the attractions of personalities. They should recognize that there’s no them–somebody else–to pay for things. I think we should be teaching how our government works, how our economy works, what are the rights and even more importantly, the responsibilities of citizens. If we begin to ask our fellow citizens to give more to us than we give to them, we will almost certainly follow other once flowering civilizations, now gone. And then training for a productive career will have little value.

    The following is attributed to Edward Gibbon: In the end more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life and they lost it all–security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society, but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free.

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