I am in the process of preparing for my doctoral exams. This means I am in the process of reading a pile of texts about schooling and education in America and need to create a coherent essay weaving these texts together. Other than trudging through these texts, I am not too worried about putting this essay together.
What I am trying hard to wrap around is what the true purpose of high school education is? I mostly look at American high schools in the urban midwest between 1890 and 1920. There was a great shift in this time as to what the purpose of high school should be for the lower middle class of society. The powers that be decided, over the course of these decades, that high school should prepare students for the work that would meet them when they graduated or left school altogether. A general American high school education was never intended to be “college prep”. The curricula has not changed much since the 1920s, yet as a people we expect so much from these four very formative years. Why is it that people expect a high school education to be a golden ticket to a better life?