I've seen this one around, and it seems fairly important (especially if you're living in Florida, which I am not): Florida high school students may pick majors
Honestly, besides the fact that it's ludicrous to have 14 year olds deciding what they want to do with the rest of their lives, it's even more ludicrous to limit their time with a liberal, wide-encompassing education. We've already gone so far as to turn college into an almost-completely career-focused place of learning; it does NOT need to spread to high schools. Granted, some people know or think they know what they want to do with their lives at the age of 14, but these people especially need to have their chance at a broader education. They need to know what else is out there and learn these basic skills as members of society before they plunge into their career training.
Moreover--and somewhat more related to this blog--what is this going to do to less popular majors that are already struggling to survive? Classics is hardly the only example, but it's obviously the one with which I'm most familiar. It's already tough enough to keep Latin programs alive in high schools. If those go, you can be sure there's no way a person could major in Classics in high school. Unless people have the initiative to change their majors once they reach college, most are going to stick with their major from HS (because they'll figure they're ahead that way). So smaller majors that are unsupportable by high schools are just going to get swept away that much quicker.
And this offends me both as a Classics major and as an English major. We have enough problems with English majors not knowing anything about the literature on which much of English lit was based. We do not
need to have the Classics departments wiped out, leaving English majors with even less opportunity to learn these basics. Believe me you, it is sorry enough how many English instructors I've come across who do know their Classical literature/mythology/history well enough to understand important allusions in English literature.
And what about that person who goes to a high school where no Latin is offered and who could not major in Classics in high school? If I'm already having trouble getting into grad school because I started my languages late, what does this do for the person who didn't "major" in Latin/Classics in high school because s/he couldn't and who has to compete with those who were
given the opportunity? Not many freshmen are driven enough to play the catch-up game, and Classics would lose a lot of good people who settled for English (or something else) instead.
Anyway, I appreciate the sentiment behind this proposal, but if we want to help our high school students, we need to focus more on actually teaching
them and teaching them a broad range of things, not just preparing them for a bunch of standardised tests.