A small high school with a college-like set up would provide an improved learning environment for many students. A small school would provide more one on one time for students and less of the clique behavior mentioned in Leon Botstein's "Let Teenagers Try Adulthood." A more college like set up with longer classes meeting fewer times a week, rather than 7 hour days spent in a single building five times a week, would also address the main issue mentioned in Botstein's essay. Older students would find the freedom they crave, instead of being treated like children, they would find the time to invent themselves and learn to take on the responsibilities of adults, being held accountable for their work and attendance. The combination of smaller and fewer classes would allow students to take the time they need to really learn a topic and seek the needed help to understand concepts. A heavy course load may not be much more time in class but students struggle to find the time outside of school to dedicate the needed time all of their classes. If a student were to take fewer classes they could immerse themselves in what they're learning, and smaller class sizes would allow each student to get the one on one time they need with the teacher.
Students would also benefit on a school where academics are as, if not more important then athletics. While many schools claim this to be their policy, they still poor huge amounts into athletic budgets, buying new uniforms year after year for football teams and shamelessly recruiting students for their athletic abilities. While a well rounded student is great, requiring sports creates difficulty for some students, this issue is highlighted in Edward Koren's piece "Two Scoreboards." How can a school be claim to be equally invested in education and sports, if a school really wanted well rounded students it would not let art departments struggle from being under funded. While sports are important to students the score they earn on tests should be more celebrated then the score board at a game.
That being said, an ideal high school would also not put so much pressure on students to achieve on tests that they become like the students described in David Barboza's "Shanghai School's Approach Pushes Students to Top of Tests." While testing is crucial students need at have the skills the Shanghai students lack to achieve in life. An open mind with problem solving skills and critical thinking is a thousand times more important then the ability to memorize and spit out facts on a test. Students should learn how to learn effectively so they can excel in but they should also learn to think so their success will continue throughout their lives.
In order to help the next generation do the best they possibly can schools should allow their students responsibilities, strive for academic excellence over athletic, and teach how to study and take tests without crushing students thinking skills.