May, 2010 – Class Dismissed?

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Teen Talkevan-baumel

Class Dismissed?

By Evan Baumel

Walter Kirn, one of many who believe that the senior year of high school should be eliminated, see it as nothing but a waste of precious time that could be spent in college or elsewhere. Kirn assumes that seniors do nothing other than relax, party, and annoy their parents. While this is partially true, senior year is still such a necessary part of American adolescence that abolishing it is a fallacious proposal.

Senior year is considered a time of transition when teens start to learn the skills necessary to survive in today’s society. Several start their first job while others begin taking dual-enrollment classes as a jump start for college. Since schoolwork becomes a lower priority, twelfth grade makes it pointless to come to school. However, without that last year in high school, most students would be completely unprepared to enter college or the workforce without time to adapt.

Additionally, Kirn states that “thanks to college early admissions programs, [seniors] know all they need to about their futures and have no more reason to hang around.” This claim couldn’t be any further from the truth since many students do not apply through early admissions. In addition, students applying to highly-ranked colleges usually need to wait until early April until his or her decision can be made. Thus, senior year offers a suitable time lapse until the acceptance letters are mailed out.

The author believes if the school year were shortened, “[it] might help students think more clearly about their paths in life…” Yet removing twelfth grade would also place an overwhelming burden on the same students. There are certain courses that are required in several states for graduation. If there were only three years of high school, these classes would reduce the number of electives available during a student’s enrollment. To make matters worse, a reduction in open electives will reduce student variety, making college admissions more competitive than usual.

The impression that senior year is a waste of time comes from flawed assumptions and pure speculation. While there are some benefits to removing twelfth grade, the necessity of attending senior year far outweighs those benefits. Cynics who often denounce the last year of high school did not utilize the privileges of having independence while still under the care of an institution. Out of all the proposals to help education, this one is yet another dud.

Evan Baumel is a senior at Wellington High School. He’s involved in Debate, National Honor Society, Key Club, politics and writes for the school newspaper.