Utah Has An Idea To Cut Education Spending: Eliminate The 12th Grade

Nope, not kidding. This is what I get for reading Drudge on a holiday:

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.”

Several lawmakers praised Buttars on Monday for his creativity in trying to think of ways to ease the state’s budget troubles.

So, this guy has been trying to convince Utah to drop the 12th grade because it’s ineffective. Now he just wants to make it optional. It already is optional. Those that don’t complete it are called “dropouts”.

I can see us pushing this here, only under the guise of lowering the dropout rate. After all, if we can eliminate the stats of those that drop out their senior year by moving the goal posts inward, then we’ve made major progress and saved a lot of money, right?

If we’re going to cut out a grade, I’d suggest cutting out 8th grade, myself. Can’t remember anything good coming out of that year.

Given that this isn’t an active political discussion going on in Georgia (yet?), consider this a snarky President’s Day OPEN THREAD:


  1. Lawton Sack says:

    I only needed to take two classes in 12th grade to graduate. I had to take 4 classes each semester, though, to meet the minimum attendance requirements. Ridiculous.

    The only problem in Georgia, though, is that they require 4 credits of some subjects to be able to graduate. I guess they would have to get real creative in how to fit four credits worth of material into three years or change the requirements again.

    Students must have 23 credits to receive a diploma, which include:
    – Four (4) credits in Mathematics
    – Four (4) credits in English/Language Arts
    – Four (4) credits in Science
    – Three (3) credits in Social Studies
    – One (1) credit in Health/Physical Education
    – Three (3) credits in Foreign Language and/or Fine Arts and/or Career/Technical/Agricultural Education.
    – Four (4) electives

  2. ByteMe says:

    So, this guy has been trying to convince Utah to drop the 12th grade because it’s ineffective. Now he just wants to make it optional. It already is optional. Those that don’t complete it are called “dropouts”.

    Those that don’t complete it could also be called “early admission students” or don’t they allow that around here? I took advantage of that all those years ago and spent my “senior year” being an uncertain college freshman at UF instead of the near-certainty of getting in trouble in high school.

    • Bucky Plyler says:

      In your case it ruined you. You should have never gone Gator. However, your point is well taken. Many including homeschoolers have gone your route.

  3. Technocrat says:

    Obviously a thread supported by the Handel Campaign, why not do away with the 11th, also.

    Seriously with 40% of the so called High School Grads requiring remedial studies to function in even low rigor mediocre colleges maybe we need a 13th and 14th year in High School………then straight to Votech.

    If only 3-4% of population are suitable for Advanced Technology/Science/ Math Degrees why even mingle those with the masses in the first place.

  4. John Konop says:

    We would get a bigger bang for buck if we cross utilized faculties and teachers with colleges and vocational/tech schools. And we let the requirements come from the colleges and

    Why not use existing classrooms at night for colleges and vocational/tech schools at the High schools? Why not match students with the proper instruction via aptitude and subjects?

    In tough times especially we must promote cross utilization or we will see massive cuts with poor quality. The interesting part is we can save a massive amount of money and create a system that will lower the drop out rate and produce a work ready skilled work force as well top level university students.

  5. Since this is an open thread, I’d like to say thanks for the bar at the top telling me my browser is outdated. I understand that it’s outdated, but that’s controlled by the very large company I work for. It’d be kind of nice if I could have that screen real estate back so I don’t have to scroll down to see the rest of the recent comments column.

    • Technocrat says:

      So your company doesn’t mind you surfing Peach Pundit Porn during supposed work hours using their equipment?

      • Not as much when you work more than the standard 8 hours a day… I work a bit more than 40 hours a week, so a minute or two break here and there isn’t an issue. I also have times where I have to work on a weekend or while I’m on vacation to fix a data import that for some reason or another didn’t run correctly. For instance this past April I was sitting on the deck of a beach house we rented with some family for a week, laptop on and connected via VPN, re-running data imports for a few hours because our data warehouse went offline for some emergency or whatever.

  6. Diana says:

    Some of us were actually intelligent enough to graduate high school early. But that was back when school was challenging and no remedial classes were required to start college…

  7. Bugs Dooley says:

    I was one of those bored 12th grade students; at my small (graduating class of 62 students) Washington state school you could get by barely knowing how to read or write. Fortunately that state had a program called ‘Running Start’ where you could go to a local community college and take classes there while simultaneously getting high school credit to graduate and college credit that could be transferred to a 4 year program later. Probably kept me out of a lot of trouble that year, and getting enough credits to graduate in only 3 years from the state university I attended later definitely saved me from a bunch of debt

  8. John Konop says:

    This is a real issue that politicians better look at ASAP! Parents are mad as hell and they will take it out on politicians regardless to party! This is just one of many groups forming around the state. This group is from North Fulton attacking a Republican candidate Kathy Cox. Trust me this issue breaks any party loyalty!

    Parents against Georgia’s new math take battle to public

    Concern over Georgia’s new math curriculum continues to grow, and the parents leading the charge are now asking the public to push the state to stop using the integrated math program. Here is an e-mail plea being sent out by Georgia Parents for Math.

    Please join together to request help from our elected officials….we need them to force Kathy Cox to stop mandating her integrated/reform math program across GA.

    As we near our primary elections, followed by November elections, we need to think about the cost of Kathy Cox’s reform/integrated math program….especially at a time when we do not have money to waste on programs that have already FAILED in other states. As we consider cost, we must not only consider the millions of dollars wasted on poor quality textbooks, GA DOE training of “self discovery” teaching methods, and tutoring, we must also think of the cost to our students.

    As Kathy Cox continues to fail to provide taxpayers with data to demonstrate the value of her new math program, our counties are collecting data and there is no reported evidence of improved performance.



  9. Mozart says:

    Wouldn’t it be cheaper if we just eliminated the Governor’s and School Superintendent’s positions? Who would miss these?

  10. John Konop says:

    Is this not crazy the fox guarding the henhouse investigation!

    CRCT probe: Districts are defendants, judges and juries. Can we expect honest verdicts?

    Perhaps, the governor has a greater faith in human nature than I do, but I wonder about the plan to allow districts with high number of suspect CRCT results to investigate themselves.

    Sonny Perdue told us in a meeting that he trusts districts will follow through with sincere and honest probes for the sake of their students, but his comments reminded me of a recent conversation I had with an art teacher about a frustrating meeting with a parent and student.

    The student had turned in half-hearted efforts but still maintained that he deserved an A and the parent agreed. When his teacher looked him in the eye and listed all the ways his work fell short of the standard set for the class, the teacher then aked one last time, “Do you really think this work merits an A?” “Yes,” the student told him. “I do.”

    Perdue also told us that he expects local districts to pick up the tabs for the investigations, which poses a problem at a time when systems are broke. I think the state has to be very careful with the next phase of this CRCT review or we could end up with more problems and allegations of cover-ups.


  11. IndyInjun says:

    All manner of interesting ideas are in play on the part of states and municipalities.

    Harrisburg, PA zeroed out its line item for debt service on an incinerator. (oh, the irony)

    Colorado Springs closed public facilities en masse and is selling its helicopters.

    Nevada is cutting the number of adult diapers allowed Medicaid recipients.

    Central Falls, Rhode Island fired all high school teachers after they refused to take a pay cut.

    Donkey Kong, where are you? Your old ‘doomsday’ bud wants to hear you ‘splain things.

    The sky really was (and is ) falling. The US ponzi scheme isn’t Greece, but it is the path of falling dominoes.

    As far as Georgia goes, look what is known. Medicaid costs up $100’s of millions, a bigger slice of the $20 billion unfunded health care liability comes due this year, the teacher’s retirement lost $20 billion the last 2 years, revenues down ANOTHER $400 million, real estate values subject to property tax projected to go down statewide another $13 billion, and the UI fund spent $1.5 billion last year and is now in deficit.

    Georgia seems to tinkering around the edges instead of making the required cuts.

    I don’t think 20% would prove too aggressive.

    • IndyInjun says:

      The teachers retirement fund lost $10 billion, not $20 billion.

      However a recent Forbes article indicated that state retirement plans are overstated and put the combined per capita liability in Georgia at more than $9000.

      Legislators just as well go back to chasing bimbos for all of the power they have to change the unfortunate numbers.

  12. Hrmm.. cutting eduction spending…

    Perhaps we could cut the amount spent on buying actual library books and instead turn to this new technology called the Internet? Every school these days has at least a few computers, right?

    Set all school owned computers to automatically power down after a set time of no usage or during certain hours? (For instance, there’s no good reason for a computer to be on at 2 am when there aren’t students around.) Same with lights… set timers on some and motion detectors on others. Electricity is expensive.

    Cut down on printing expenses. Do teachers really need to make as many copies as they do? I remember getting lots of useless handouts to simply put in a folder as reference should I ever choose to look at them. Sure, a pack of paper is cheap… say $3 per ream of 500 sheets? But multiply that by the approximately 100,000 teachers in Georgia (GPPF said 98,000 in 2003… not sure if it’s gone up or down) and you’ve got an instant $300k savings (yes, it’s a drop in the bucket, but it’s a start) just by each teacher eliminating the need for one ream of paper in a year. Imagine if they could do that every month. That’s $2.4M for 8 months of copy paper savings.

    In tough times you sometimes have to look at the necessities and ask what is really necessary.

  13. Rick Day says:

    Actually, this is not a bad idea. I can speak from experience. Or at least, my sister’s.

    In Dallas TX back in 1974, I graduated from a public school after 12 years. My sister (two years younger) did it the following year, by the end of her first semester of her 11th grade. She did it by taking college-entry honors courses that awarded higher class points, which allowed her to graduate three semesters early.

    This then allowed her to get her Masters in Education in the same calendar time it would have taken to get her Bachelor’s. She married out of high school and they raised two kids while she graduated, then he attended college and graduated (he works for the Department of Forestry now). They are still married and she has been an elementary school teacher for almost 3 decades.

    What was the problem here, again?

  14. polisavvy says:

    Back in the days of my parents, they finished high school at the end of the 11th grade. Also, I believe that my parents education is equal to what the kids are coming out with today — maybe a little better because they still taught the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic. They were very intelligent and well read.

    Stop and think about it, how many useless classes do kids have to take these days? I know my son had to take art (did an ashtray and a pot holder), music (listened to rap and oldies), and a few others that had absolutely nothing to do with his success in college. Believe me, in order to get his degree in politic science, he did not have to draw or sing. When I was in high school, I needed one credit to graduate going into my senior year (senior English) — one credit, that’s all. Of course, back in the 70’s if you or your parents wanting you taking music, they paid for private lessons.

    Technology classes? Get serious, these kids know so much about technology by the time they reach high school that they are really bored in the actual technology classes. As for P.E., that’s pretty much a joke. If you add up all these types of classes kids have now, you could quite possibly do away with this stuff and have the kids graduate in 11 years, provided you provided them with an excellent foundation. It could be done.

    • Mozart says:

      It’s not necessariy what one learns, it is the process OF learning that makes taking some of these courses a worthwhile investment of time. (ducking from all the rotten tomatoes to be hurled my way)

      • polisavvy says:

        You are so funny. The garden is not planted, yet, so tomatoes will not be come your way, yet. I was just saying that there is a lot of needless crap that is “required” for graduation that really doesn’t amount to much knowledge especially given the manner in which it is taught (or was taught to my kids, anyway).

        • polisavvy says:

          Of course you could have the process of learning what needs to be learned, i.e. English, sciences, maths, histories, foreign language. That’s what gets a child better prepared for college than basket weaving or dumb art projects (like, scribbling on paper and then coloring the design – which my kid did).

          As for the children who aren’t college material, then you gear their education towards skills. Back in the day, you could either get a college preparatory diploma or a general diploma (the general diploma involved skill classes like typing, woodworking, welding, etc.).

          That’s the point I’m trying to make, that education needs to be geared towards success either by preparing the kids for college, trade school, or allow them to develop skills to go straight into the workforce upon graduation. Spend time teaching them the basics for success and do away with some of the “busy work” courses they take now. By doing so, it is possible to have kids prepared for success without having the 12th grade. These are just my humble opinions.

  15. Ramblinwreck says:

    Or, you could use the model where education is compulsory only through the 8th grade. At that point you give them a test to get into 9 through 12 and if you pass you still get a “free” education. If not, go get a job or stay at home with your parents. If kids get to the 9th grade and they still can’t read or write you’re probably wasting your time, and theirs, continuing to hammer away at them at the expense of the other kids in class who actually want to learn.

    As I’ve said it before, the only way to fix public education is to get it far away from politicians. As long as politicians control what happens you’ll always get a political “fix” instead of one that will work.

  16. Obis_Sister says:

    My mom was in the first class in Georgia that had to complete the (new) 12th grade. She was a senior two years in a row and not terribly happy about it. Still.

    If kids stay on track, the 12th grade is a wasted year – cruising to graduation when they could be starting college.

  17. seenbetrdayz says:

    Having been a recent graduate of the public school system in 2005, I’ll have to say there was practically no difference in what I was taught in the 12th grade and what I was taught in the 11th. It seemed more like the 12th grade was spent desparately preparing for the graduation exams, but that was a wasted effort on many because if you haven’t learned your three-R’s by then, you probably won’t unless you take a lot of initiative on your part to work to educate yourself in sub-par areas.

    For me, one of the best classes I took in the 12th grade was something called an “advanced placement” class. Students could receive college credit for an advanced placement course (in my case, it was European History; and different school districts offered different courses. I had a friend in the Houston county school system who chose Music Theory), if the students took the year-long course and passed the exam at the end of the year.

    I like the idea of getting early college credit for what would have been an otherwise wasted time in the 12th grade. By the time you get to 12th grade, you don’t need “busy work”. Anything that isn’t preparing you for the real world, is holding you back.

  18. GOPGeorgia says:

    My last quarter of high school was concert band, symphonic band, jazz band, advanced independent study of music theory, tennis and a study hall. To be fair, I was a music major for a while. I used what my high school offered, and even made up an independent study, to get prepared for college as much as possible.

    I’d like to see high school go from 9 AM to 4 PM with an hour after for an extra curricular activity. That way, kids would get used to working from 9 to 5.

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