[LCSD] A thought on Beyond LHS

One of the things that always gets looked at in higher ed at the state level in times of economic crisis is how well the various state institutions and levels overlap (or fail to overlap) as well as how integrated and aligned they are.  For example, how effective is the AAOT degree one can get from Oregon’s community colleges in moving students to a four-year school and getting them out in two more years?  Or (as is rumored to be happening now) what kind of programs are overlapping among Oregon’s seven higher ed universities that might be susceptible to redundancy elimination and budget cuts?  (Want to study English?  Go to UO and nowhere else!  Needless to say, I think this is a mediocre-to-terrible idea.)

Basically, I bring up the last two examples because they inform my thinking around Beyond LHS.  For me, part of the draw of Beyond LHS (besides the fact that it brings in money and get capable students doing college-level work for college credit, thus helping them transition to higher ed after finishing HS) is that it, ostensibly, allows LHS to focus on what it can offer students that other institutions do not.  Yes, I’m referring to, among other things, a welding program.  I’m not suggesting that the welding program at LHS be cut by any means (I believe I am on record supporting it, but if not, consider this a statement of support), but I do think that the LCSD should be considering the relatonship between the LHS program and the LBCC program, and that the two programs should be coordinated to provide the most and best opportunities for students – and that means decreasing the overlap, and therefore redundancy, of the two programs.  After all, from a financial point of view, it’s inefficient to fund two programs so close to each other to do the same thing.

I think the same holds true of the relationship between LBCC and LHS in general – in those programs and subjects where there is overlap, it would behoove someone (and that someone should probably be the Oregon Department of Higher Education, not some combo of the LCSD Super and the LBCC leadership) to align the programs and subjects in such a way that minimizes or eliminates redundancy.

Note that this DOES NOT mean cutting any LHS class that has a similar counterpart at LBCC.  That’s overly simplistic, and at some point would become inefficient anyway in terms of moving students to and from multiple campuses for classes, as well as crippling for students who simply aren’t going to move on or can’t otherwise handle community-college-level classes.  Nor does it mean that similar classes can’t be offered under certain (perhaps many) circumstances; there are enough differences between a high school and a community college to justify some amount of curricular overlap.  But curriculum alignment also makes sense in terms of moving students through the K-12 system AND BEYOND in a way that doesn’t skip too many steps or make them senselessly repeat classes.  In other words, it makes it easier to get more education, which I consider a good thing.

I’ve already expressed my belief that Alexander’s alleged targeting of Beyond LHS is a bad idea.  This is another reason, from an educational perspective, that it’s a program worth having and defending.

Moreover, I still don’t really understand why Alexander would target Beyond LHS.  Can someone who is familiar with Alexander’s thinking on this issue explain it to me?

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4 Comments on “[LCSD] A thought on Beyond LHS”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Rick is not trying in anyway to do away with the Beyond LHS program. There are many of us who would never let that happen. But after speaking with many people about the program we have come to the conclusion that there are flaws in it that need to be addressed and that is all Rick is doing.

  2. LT Says:

    ” But after speaking with many people about the program we have come to the conclusion that there are flaws in it that need to be addressed and that is all Rick is doing.”

    Why the use of the term “we”?

    Why is Rick doing it in secret?

    Why does Rick think it is his job, rather than the board’s job, to do this?

    Why is he speaking for the entire board at high school site council meetings?

    If there are problems with the Beyond LHS program, then why is Larry Anderson shut out of the process?

    Why is Larry learning about “investigations” at staff meetings?

    Why are investigations being conducted without doing any fact-checking with the people running the program first? Perhaps this is just a series of misunderstandings that have gained traction through the gossip circuit?

    It is certainly possible, even probable, that there are ways that the Beyond LHS program can be improved. We are not opposed to improvement. We welcome improvement. But one of the rumors circulating is that Rick wants to limit student options in order to “rebuild” the high school welding program. We don’t think that the district can afford to rebuild the welding program at the high school, particularly at this time. Certainly there is a place for introductory welding classes at the high school.

    Do we want to spend huge amounts of money to produce a state of the art welding lab when there are options for our students to take advanced welding courses through LBCC? Why?

    Would that be gender discrimination? Welding appeals overwhelming to males (not exclusively, of course). But what state of the art facilities is the district going to create to offset the male bias in creating an expensive welding lab?

    Another rumor is that Rick wants to keep jobs for teachers at the high school. When the program first started, there was little discipline applied to course selection and students did frolic off to LBCC to take courses they could take at the high school. Now there are much stricter rules for selection fo LBCC classes. But are we going to impose new rules without even asking Anderson what the current rules are?

    If you child is seeking to participate in Beyond LHS, what do you want the rules to be? If he needs economics from the high school, but he wants to start the college-level sequence instead, do we tell him that he has to take the high school course and not get college credit?

    Or let’s take it to another level: you have a student who wants to start on general ed requirements at LBCC. She can create a schedule that really is a good fit for her, offering several classes that she needs for a legitimate program of study. However, one of the courses she needs is Writing 121, which is offered at the high school. But the time Writing 121 is offered at the high school conflicts with another course (which LHS does NOT offer) which this student wants and needs to take. Do we tell this student, “Sorry, you can’t take Writing 121 at LBCC?” Seems like it makes sense in this case to let the student take Writing 121 at LBCC.

    We think that the needs of students should be more important than protecting teacher jobs.

    Why not take the gossip to Anderson, check out the reality, find out if there is a problem or even a better way to do things, and then create rules?

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I am not understanding something here. How would limiting access to Beyond LHS help to re-build the welding program at the HS? Students cannot simply elect to participate in Beyond LHS and then take welding at LB. There are many other classes which need to be completed first.

  4. anonymous Says:

    The questions:
    …”Why does Rick think it is his job, rather than the (entire) board’s job, to do this?
    Why is he speaking for the entire board…?

    are extremely important ones.

    Why does the rest of the School Board allow Rick Alexander to intervene with the running of the School District without going through the Board established process?
    When will they tell Rick Alexander to stop?

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