I feel that students should be able to choose a path of education that is best suited for their skills as well as their personal feelings. The more we try to force students into a box the more they will resist. Just as in the Universal Design for Learning you need to provide multiple means of expression and engagement. In this respect I feel that students should be able to have multiple options towards their own individual goals as opposed to the goals and standards imposed on them by the state and federal government.
These goals could be centered around 4 main areas, Industrial Arts, Technological Arts, Academic, and Collegiate. Each goal could have a minimum academic requirement and the rest be directed towards the students focus, just as in a college major. Industrial Arts could focus on construction, carpentry, electrical, etc. On top of the normal minimum standards there would be a focus on technical drawings, measurements, tools, and an apprenticeship program. Technological Arts would focus on all things computer, including software, hardware, firmware, open source projects, information technology. Classes in this focus would center on technological history, and futures, as well as programing languages, database, graphics, etc. Academic would be for the students that simply want to finish high school and start a job. It would compare to the standard diploma of today minus foreign language and advanced mathematics. This concentration would be for students not planning on attending college after high school. The Collegiate focus will bring together the best parts of each focus, with advanced classes intended to better prepare the student for the college setting. This early start directed specifically at their potential future could help keep at risk students focused while still challenging the higher performing students.
This vision could begin by completing a more in depth design and backing it up with research and statistics. Getting an administration to see the merits and have the flexibility to implement the design. In order for it to be successful, myself and other administrators would have to do their due diligence in making sure the school is having more students graduate, as well as competing for jobs in the workforce or going on to college. Likewise always include student input into how each focus is designed and implemented.