Why have two general studies academies?

Posted: Monday, December 10, 2007

This is a letter in response to the letter "Student wants general studies academy" that appeared in the Nov. 29 Empire. The author, my fellow high school student Megan Behnke, asked for a general studies academy at both schools once Thunder Mountain High School opens next year. This is a common sentiment among high school students. Many of us aren't ready to pick a career path in our sophomore year of high school, and are doing just fine in the traditional setting Juneau-Douglas High School offers.

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However, I must ask, why do we need one general studies academy at each high school? Why not offer only academies at one school, and general education at the other, then let students decide?

The traditional school structure actually benefits from a larger learning community. For example, rather than having two of the same math classes being taught in two different schools, make one school and have two math classes at different levels. That way, the more advanced students aren't bored, and the less advanced aren't left behind. This depth of class opportunities is absolutely necessary.

I have heard the argument that we can't have one high school be "better" than another, but in this case the difference between schools would be determined by what the students wanted. And after all, isn't it all about what's best for us?

Nick Waldo


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