Unfortunately, the majority of adolescents in contemporary American culture ride on the surface of their education, drawing their cues from its industrial roots to view themselves as widgets in an assembly line that requires little of them beyond showing up and doing as they are told. The high school must figuratively grab them, demand that they become engaged, develop their minds, stretch them, and make it clear that they are expected to become full members of a learning community whose goals are intellectual maturity and college success. (College Knowledge, p. 103).
The first time I read this, I had a gut reaction that the first sentence was too harsh. And maybe it is, but I'm not sure it's too far off. (And recall that this book is based on an extensive three-year research project soonsored by the Association of American Universities and The Pew Charitable Trusts, and carried out by The Center for Educational Policy at the University of Oregon in collaboration with the Stanford Institute for Higher Education. The above paragraph is obviously what they've concluded about the "majority" of high school students.)
I know "learning communities" is a buzzword at the moment, but I really like this concept. That's really what AHS is - or should be. Are we - and our students - so jaded and cynical that we're afraid to even talk about this for fear of being met with a tremendous amount of eye rolling - from students and staff alike?