25 May 2018
Mira Costa High School is a renowned public school with many accolades. The students at Mira Costa are taught to strive toward academic excellence, taking every AP they can and earning the school awards for student academics. When most people think of Mira Costa they think of our academics and our test scores; however, there are a percentage of costa students who go unnoticed under the radar for their skills not pertaining to academic excellence.
Not all students have the finances, grades, or academic stamina to graduate with a college degree. About 19% of students at Mira Costa either go into a trade after they graduate or a two year school. These kids are more interested in going to a trade school and working hard to earn real money starting at age 18. Mira Costa students have a reputation of creating the ideal resume that is not truly reflective of their actual work ethic. For instance, it is know that many Mira Costa seniors go off to UCSB and are more concerned with their alcoholic intake than they are with their studies, yet Mira Costa has dumped all of their resources to create these responsible, college bound students as oppose to assisting their students in recognizing their passion with trade for a real world job opportunity that is within their reach. To avoid the national high school dropout rate, which is 25%, Mira Costa needs to generate an internship program that helps students discover and experience job opportunities, which will help them be prepared for the real world. This type of program will help establish values, work ethics, and the value of a dollar. To be clear, the major problem I will be discussing today is how Mira Costa panders to the kids who fake their way through AP’s to make the school look good rather than provide the essential tools to help students who want to get straight to work out of high school.
Many of the students at Mira Costa come from the West Side of Sepulveda and drive cars that their parents bought them the day they turned 16. However, often unnoticed, there are students such as Jack Brunskill who have been enrolled in the afterschool program SCROC for a number of years, which helped him realize his passion for welding. Jack has been in SCROC the past two years and has excelled in the trade of welding. However because he does not fit the perfect mold of what Mira Costa wants Jack does the bare minimum in his classes just to pass. He feels as if it is a waste of his time and energy to aspire for A’s and B’s when he knows all he needs is a D to pass and graduate to move on with his life. Unlike most students Jack already knows what he wants to do for the rest of his life and has a plan on how to get there. He has been working for his dad’s construction company since he was 14 and has already payed off his own car, which he claims he will never trade up because it’s all he needs. Jack is a person who only needs the essentials to live a happy life and does not value material items like almost every student at Costa. He already has multiple job offers from different welding companies and plans to join the union once he is 18.
Something Jack doesn't understand is why he isn't allowed to leave school now with a diploma and the correct amount of credits to graduate to pursue his career and start making real money at age 17. He believes if the opportunity to start a career at the age of 17 is given to any student at Mira Costa they should be allowed the chance to start working while completing high school. “I already structure my schedule to make it easier for work so I might as well be able to leave, especially if the work is relating to what I want to pursue as a career I feel I should be able to better my chances.” Of course he understands the students would have to have obtained enough credits to graduate to be eligible for this. Jack already has enough credits to graduate as a junior he just needs to take his required classes left such as government, economics, and english. He thinks it would be smarter and more efficient if he was allowed to leave school during lunch after he finishes his required classes in the first half of the day.
With responsibility comes the inevitable possibility of encountering dangers or exploited. Technical theatre director Cary Jordahl. Mr. Jordahl understands that students are eager to work and start learning their specific trade, as he did in high school, but now understands that there are too many regulations and laws involved in employing a minor that would make this very hard to do. Specifically a job such as welding, which is very dangerous could end up injuring the student and putting the whole company that employed the underage worker at risk to lawsuits. “If you’re 16 or 17 you’re technically a minor, so there are laws that protect minors especially in a job that is potentially dangerous. Legally the minor is not able to make decisions. If you hire someone underage who is not legally allowed to make decisions you become liable for anything that pertains to them during their work.” In his senior year of high school Mr. Jordahl left school at lunchtime everyday to go work “My senior year I left after lunch and worked into the night but in retrospect by the time I was 25 I regretted doing that. I wish I had somebody giving me advice telling me to just enjoy school and take more resourceful classes.” He was eager to work and start making money to afford to move out and start his adult life. As he reflects now, there is a nostalgic piece of him that wishes he treasured his youth and innocence. He thinks it is more valuable that kids take advantage of the learning opportunities provided by high schools to explore electives.
An article printed by the school newspaper La Vista titled “SCROC proves more beneficial for students than traditional schooling” (Thue) talks about the ways SCROC is more of a benefit for students since it allows students to take classes of their choice. The motto of SCROC is “Education with a purpose” which is meant to showcase how they want to give an education that will be useful later in life when students enter the working world. Taking SCROC is viewed by many as better than traditional schooling because it puts you on the path toward what you want to do with your life rather than completing required classes. Most believe the only methods of schooling are homeschooling and traditional schooling but a lot of students do not fit into either of those categories.
There is glaring issue about student services that resides at the heart of Mira Costa’s mission, one that is not inclusive for all students success. The academic vision that Costa creates an environment for all to be successful is misleading since it caters to a particular population that is college bound. With that being said, programs in place at Mira Costa are not creating competitive citizens that can compete worldwide within the job market. Due to the lack of internship programs being offered through Mira Costa, students are not able to develop the skill sets to make themselves marketable in a highly competitive job market post college. Moreover, students are not able to establish roots within the community to help boost the economy. Below is a chart exploiting the problems within Mira Costa and what are believed to be the root causes.
Mira Costa doesn’t provide the fundamental tools for these students to get a jump start on their careers
The school focuses too much on the “Chads” who will get into UCSB or U of A by faking their way through AP’s
The students at Mira Costa who are often not talked about that are enrolled in SCROC fly under the radar at school and barely pass classes just to graduate and move on
Students who feel this way only aspire for D’s in their classes because they know all they need is a passing grade
Students are dropping out of school without a high school degree due to lack of focus and fostering of passions.
No option to earn high school graduation credits through internship programs
Classes are academic based and not enough electives available to students to diversify their interests
Students who want to go into a trade after high school feel as if their time at costa is a waste of energy
Said students believe they should be allowed to leave school to pursue their careers and start working in the field they plan to go into
Students want to start earning real money or salaries for their skills and get a head start in their careers
When offered jobs already these students want the option to start taking advantage of their skill sets
The lack of student services is not one that is set in stone but can become a fluid process that grows with each it is implemented. The core of the issue is that Mira Costa does not offer electives or other trading classes within the school day that appeal to students that are looking to have a career within the trading industry. Jack Brunskill is one among the 20% of Mira Costa’s population that desires to have a portion of their academic day be dedicated toward a more meaningful learning experience that will help them financially in the future. What started as a problem that only impacted one population of among many within Mira Costa can actually be beneficial for many other student populations. As a compromise to both sides, implementing an internship program, that have been approved by the school board, would give students the opportunity to leave school early and gain credits to graduate.
The school could start establishing internship programs with local businesses to help prepare students for the work world and help them get their foot in the door by gaining field experience within the passion of their choosing. The students enrolled in the internship program would still have to meet as a class twice a week to discuss a new topic under the direction of a teacher, in addition to written assignment like resume building. Many students at Mira Costa have parents that would provide an allotted amount of internship spots each year for students enrolled in Mira Costa. If the internship program a student is seeking is not currently working with the school, they could simply submit a form getting the school to approve the program to ensure the work is safe and the program is authorized. Students would still have to maintain passing grades within their core classes in order to be eligible for the internship program. The elected advisor at the internship would have to sign the student in and out each day they reported for duty to ensure the validity of the experience. This precautionary step is to avoid “fake” internships and students skipping school. The advisors of the students will need to provide the school with a weekly attendance report, in addition to feedback about the student, which students will incorporate into their weekly class discussions. This measure is so students cannot use the “I don’t remember” tactic to avoid work.
The advantages of high school internships go beyond high school and can directly impact your success post college graduation. 83% of employers around the country have agreed that having an internship on your resume will better your chances of obtaining a high paying job. Having a program with the school allowing students to leave at lunch will better graduates chances of employment in the field they plan on pursuing. The companies employing the students would have to adhere to california labor laws ensuring the students are receiving a safe and legal internship. All students participating in the internship program would have to maintain a good attendance, absences will only be excused if “personal reasons requested by the parent and approved by the principal including, illness, court appearances, religious observances and retreats, funerals, or employment conferences.” (California State Labor Laws) The students must stay enrolled in school to continue the internship program, ensuring they receive their education while also building their resume.
Enabling students to participate in internships will allow them the chance to explore multiple career paths without the daunting idea that they must stick with their first career choice. Internships are a non-threatening way for students to realize their passions and future career paths without stunting their potential growth as an individual. For those like Jack that have realized their potential are fortunate enough to cultivate their talents at a young age. “An estimated 20 to 50 percent of students enter college as “undecided” and an estimated 75 percent of students change their major at least once before graduation,” indicating that most young students are unaware of what they want to do with their life (Freedman, 2013). To help make college more meaningful and career driven, internships in high school help students narrow in on what they’d like to do with their lives. It also gives them the opportunity to develop life skills such as time management skills, critical thinking skills, leadership skills, conversational skills, and monetary value skills.
“SCROC Proves More Beneficial for Students than Traditional Schooling.” a1-News, www.lavistamchs.com/?p=22168.
Cary Jordahl - Technical Theatre Director
Jack Brunskill - Mira Costa student
“Http://Ljournal.ru/Wp-Content/Uploads/2016/08/d-2016-154.Pdf.” California Child Labor Laws, 2016, doi:10.18411/d-2016-154.
“The Pennsylvania State University Division of Undergraduate Studies.” The Mentor, dus.psu.edu/mentor/2013/06/disconnect-choosing-major/.
“Employers, Students Benefit from High School Internships.” SHRM, 11 Apr. 2018, www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/organizational-and-employee-development/pages/high-school-internships.aspx.
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