Even many smart kids are slacking off during their senior year of high school, the Education Department says.
The report by a panel appointed by former Education Secretary Richard Riley and including Education Secretary-designate Rod Paige suggests that high schools are neglecting 12th graders, who in turn are neglecting their classes.
The panel concluded that mass boredom afflicts the student admitted early to college just as the classmate on the brink of dropping out.
Researchers who interviewed seniors last fall said college-bound students often have too few classes to keep them occupied; others, not encouraged to take advanced classes once they have met the minimum required for a diploma, focus on outside work.
But statistics showing fewer seniors in high school classes could be misleading, said Cynthia Rudrud, principal of Cactus High School in Glendale, Ariz.
"Students might have a reduced course load in the high school their senior year because they are enrolled in community college courses or doing internships," said Rudrud, who estimates 40 percent of the school's 400 seniors take a full complement of high school classes. "There is a point when seniors realize they are beyond high school. It's not that they shut down, but that they are ready to move on."
The trouble with students avoiding or skipping classes or even entire school days, the panel said, is that many are not taking the courses they need to get the best jobs or stay afloat in college.
Wreath of many colors
Today marks the beginning of Black History Month, a perfect time to celebrate our diversity. You can make a multicultural friendship wreath to represent people of all skin colors.
Supplies you will need:
8-inch to 12-inch cardboard wreath
Construction paper in assorted skin tones
Clothespins and snapshots
Place a dinner plate on a piece of cardboard and trace around it with a pencil to make a wreath. Use scissors to cut around the outline. Cut the center from the circle, leaving a wreath about 2 to 3 inches wide.
Trace the outline of your hand onto a piece of cardboard and cut it out.
Fold sheets of construction paper into thirds and trace the hand pattern in three or four places on the paper. Trace and cut out six or eight handprints in each color you have chosen for your wreath. Glue each hand randomly onto the cardboard wreath, overlapping them to cover the cardboard surface.
Attach snapshots of your friends and yourself with clothespins.