3-Year Format Battles Apathy

Rachel Szymanski, Staff Writer

Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill is the only 3-year high school in the Bay Area.

There should be more.

While a year less of school would mean a year’s worth of government funding lost, the potential increase in graduation rates would be well worth it.

According to governing.com, in the 2014-2015 school year, California had a graduation rate of 82% for all public school students. According to the National  Center for Education Statistics, in 2014 the dropout percent was 6.5 %.

To say that the typical teen has a hard time concentrating is an understatement. Some students just can’t keep their focus through 4 long years of high school, where content is sometimes needlessly extended even though students have reached mastery.  Condensing the high school experience to just 3 years would undoubtedly reduce the drop out rate, inspiring otherwise board, unsatisfied students to complete requirements and be eligible for college or trade programs.

According to the California Department of Education, the dropout rate declined by just over a single percentage point from 2014 to 2015.  This is hardly progress.  The 3-year high school option should be more accessible if educators truly want to provide pathways to success for all students.

The 3-year format would help to address the feelings of apathy some freshmen and sophomores develop in the traditional 4-year structure by making the college application process or career preparation a more immediate issue.

Opponents might say that with only 3 years, students won’t be able to learn the same materials as they would in 4. Cutting down the time forces the prioritization of content however.  In other words, it would force educators to cut out superfluous, unnecessary “busy work” and encourage students to be more thoughtful and targeted in their course selections. Rather than providing a broad, general curriculum, a 3-year high school would provide a career or college specific pathway.

For those who worry about needing more time to develop self awareness, rather than another year of high school, the 3-year format would allow for a “gap year” where students could travel or take up an internship.

While Campolindo boasts a 99% graduation rate, its students may still be suffering under the yoke of a 4th year of high school.  Let’s lighten the burden by dropping a year.