Utah May Have Cure for ‘Senioritis’

When I was a senior in high school, my teachers often jokingly accused my fellow classmates and I of having "senioritis" when our motivation seemed to wane. I’m sure they do this with every class but, in their respective defenses, our particular class was exceptionally apathetic at times — like, refusing to cheer at pep rallies apathetic. (Not proud of it, just saying it happened.) I believe "failure to thrive" might be an appropriate medical term to apply. But now it seems the Beehive State may have a cure for these academic duldrums: Eliminate the senior year. The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Sen. Chris Buttars isn’t talking about dropping 12th grade any more.

Now, he’s talking about making 12th grade optional for those students who finish their required credits early — and some lawmakers are listening to the idea with interest.

"I like thinking outside of the box like this," said Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, who co-chairs the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee. "I think it really makes us examine what we’re doing."

Now, instead of trying to eliminate 12th grade, Buttars, R-West Jordan, is proposing the state save up to $60 million by giving students the option of graduating from high school early. Students who finish their high school requirements early are already allowed to graduate early, but Buttars’ proposal would provide more incentives for students to do that and make that option clearer, he said.

Buttars said he’s working on a bill on the concept.

"There are some [students] that really have a great 12th grade, but you talk to 100 kids and their parents, and I believe the majority of them will say, ‘Well, my kid didn’t do much in the 12th grade,’" Buttars said. "Everybody wants to talk about change … But to tell you the truth, they’re scared to death of it."

So what do you think? Cerebral move to save money or is it costing students valuable education time? Shouldn’t we be pushing more time in the classroom, not less? And what about the point made in the article about the burden this puts on higher education in the state? Let us know your thoughts.