Senior year is important to kids, all kids. I heard someone suggest we do away with this year as a way to save money, but, I vehemently disagree with this penny pinching way to educate.
Pushing graduation up a year would deprive some very hard working, deserving students of their best year in high school. I teach three classes of seniors and I do see the deterioration of their work ethic as we approach graduation in June. College choices have already been made and while a college may rescind its acceptance because of poor senior grades, this rarely happens. If junior year became the new senior year, we would see a new disease "junioritis" replace "senioritis".
Senior year gives many kids one last chance to grow up and mature before facing the responsibilities of college. Choosing a college is a big decision, one that has to be made with much care and thought. What is right at sixteen might not be right a year later. At this age, kids are not ready to live on their own, be responsible for their own meals and their own laundry. Kids need to be kids and are entitled to that one extra year. They need that extra year to grow up and mature.
Senior year is the year of the senior trip, the year book and the prom. It is the culmination of all the years of childhood and the beginning of adulthood. It is a special time and students need to embrace it and enjoy it before they are sent out into the world. For many, it is the first time they relax and enjoy school without the worry of regents exams and report card grades.
And, with all this, let's not forget the education the kids get during this year. Many take advanced placement classes and fourth and fifth years of math, science and foreign language, courses that will help them succeed in the future.
Saving money is all well and good but saving it at the expense of children is not.