Career Planning for 12-Year-Olds
Isn’t it about time your 6th graders finally got serious about what they're going to do with their lives? Some lawmakers and education leaders in Florida apparently think so. A new bill in the state’s legislature would mandate intensive career studies for middle schoolers. The measure is part of package of reform proposals put forth by a task force assembled by Republican Governor Jeb Bush. Under the recommendations, kids would also be required to develop an academic and career plan for their high school years. Advocates argue the career-studies requirement would add rigor to the middle school curriculum and give kids a better understanding of real-world expectations. Critics worry that it would inevitably take time away from less patently practical courses like art, music, and physical education. Some educators, meanwhile, question whether the idea is developmentally appropriate: “I’ve taught in middle schools for 21 years, and few to none of my students have ever come to me to talk about a particular career,” observed one Florida teacher. “At that age, they just want to learn and absorb.” And, perhaps, they just want to be 12-year-olds.