From: Gates Foundation
An old expression says that children need to learn the 3Rs: readin’, ‘ritin’, and ‘rithmetic. Today, however, two-thirds of ninth graders will leave high school without the English and math skills to handle college or land a job that can support a family. This statistic has devastating consequences for our young people and for our country.
The good news is we know how to fix our broken high schools. We must base them on a brand new set of 3Rs, identified by education experts as the key ingredients of an effective education:
- Rigor: all students need the chance to succeed at challenging classes, such as algebra, writing, and chemistry
- Relevance: courses and projects must spark student interest and relate clearly to their lives in today’s rapidly changing world
- Relationships: all students need adult mentors who know them, look out for them, and push them to achieve
These new 3Rs are the building blocks for a redesigned system of high schools, one that will truly prepare graduates for college, work, and citizenship.
Rigor, relevance, and relationships aren’t like the individual answers on a multiple choice test: schools can’t just pick the one that fits best. They must choose all of the above. That’s the only way education reform can work.
And it does work. The best high schools in the United States have already put the 3Rs to work with incredible success.
- Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) Schools
KIPP schools are founded on the principle that all students can achieve when schools set high expectations, demand results, and provide opportunities for students to excel.
- High Tech High Schools
These unique, rigorous charter schools integrate technology and pre-engineering throughout the curriculum, and strive to increase the number of disadvantaged students who study math and engineering.
- Withrow University High School
At Cincinnati’s Withrow University High School, students start ninth grade by going to college.
- Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST)
In today’s world, young people need a strong background in science and technology. DSST, a small, diverse high school, is giving students exactly that.
- Bronx Laboratory School
In a city whose graduation rate is a dismal 55 percent, Bronx Lab is committed to making sure its students graduate, go on to college, and succeed in life.