A Diploma Worth Having
There’s only one valid measure of the
high school curriculum: How well does it prepare
students for their adult lives?
Ihave a proposal to make: It’s time we abolished the high school diploma as we know it. In a modern, unpredictable, and pluralistic world, it makes no sense to demand that every 18-year-old pass the same col- lection of traditional courses to graduate.
Instead, we should do away with most course require-
ments, make all courses rigorous, and simply report what
students have accomplished from year to year. Students
should prepare for adult life by studying subjects that suit
their talents, passions, and aspirations as well as needs. They
should leave when they are judged to be ready for whatever
next challenge they take on—whether it be college, trade
school, the military, or playing in a band. Let’s therefore
abolish the diploma, if by diploma we mean that all students