Should high school students declare a major?

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    Alfred Thompson

    I had a major in high school -  aeronautics - at a school that required all students to have a major. I understand that the school is now thinking about dropping the major requirement and I'm not sure that is a good idea. But I don't think it is for everyone or for every school. I went to an engineering magnet school and I think majors made sense there. I did change my mind and didn't go into aeronautics because I discovered computers in college. A lot of people change t heir minds after college too. But I enjoyed that all of the courses I took were tied together. The math applied to the physics which tied to the drafting which tied to the shop classes. It all revolved around the major and helped me to learn that everything was related. If you don't have special courses for each major then there is no real point to the major though.

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    I believe declaring a major is not for high schools. Rather more career paths need to be presented and offered. Drawing on my own experiences, I remember the only career offered at high schools, for those that wanted a job right after high school was the military option. It might be better to have more career paths offered for high school graduates not going into traditional college. What I mean by that is there are corporations that have entry level job openings for high school graduates (think mail room). Given time, they will have benefits where the company will pay for them to go to traditional schools to further their careers or learn a new career.

    It's impossible for "students" to ever choose a career path by declaring a major, especially in high school. Everyone needs a taste of a career after high school to help them make good choices for college instead of getting a Liberal Arts Degree where you can't get a good paying job anywhere.

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    Pat Phillips

    A solution to the problem would be to include career education into every curriculum area giving students a sense of the kinds of careers that are possible in science, CS, English, math, etc. This is what a comprehensive secondary education should be all about.
    Here's an opportunity for members of the community to step to the plate by offering to make short visits to classes to talk about their career and job shadowing experiences.
    I remember that the hardest unit I ever taught was on "Career in CS." I concluded that students are really afraid to think seriously about the responsibilities of adulthood. It is easier to blow it off as a joke than do the work required of self-analysis and researching possibilities.

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