Three more ideas to step up education
In 2009, Hawaii created the Step Up Diploma with more challenging classes in math, science, and writing, as well as a required Senior Project. Graduates are eligible for college scholarships, prioritized college admission, and fast-tracked job applications. Already, 6,000 students from the classes of 2013 and 2014 have “stepped up” their education.
I want to suggest three more ways to encourage and reward learning, especially for students who are looking for real-world experience:
* Create an Early Learner Program. American Solutions, a citizen action network, proposes that if public high school students graduate early, they should be awarded the cost of the semester(s) they skip as a college or vocational scholarship. Why can’t we implement this in Hawaii? It would help students with college tuition and give them an incentive to study hard.
* Create a Teacher Aide Program. Juniors and seniors interested in becoming teachers could apply to work one day a week for one semester in a nearby elementary school classroom. The program would require teacher and counselor recommendations and would qualify for class credit.
* Create a Business Intern Program. In partnership with local businesses, public high schools could offer summer internships for class credit. Internships would include at least one week of working directly for a senior executive or upper-level manager.
What are your ideas for encouraging students to excel?