This next item is no surprise: high school students think school is boring. That’s the result o f a survey conducted by the Indiana University Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, which says:

  • Only two percent of students said they’d never been bored in school.
  • Just 41 percent of the students in the 2009 survey responded that they went to school because of what they learn in classes.
  • Only 23 percent said they went because of their teachers.
  • Around a third said they went because they enjoy being in school.
  • Students who have thought about dropping out continue to cite a lack of engagement with the school as a reason: 50 percent said they considered dropping out because they didn’t like the school (51 percent cited this in the 2008 survey); 39 percent said they considered it because they didn’t like the teachers (40 percent in 2008); 42 percent said they thought of dropping out because they didn’t see the value in the work they were asked to do (45 percent in 2008)

A press release has other items drawn from the survey, including the fact that 49 percent of students are “bored every day.” You can read the entire report (PDF), here.

Maybe it’s time to redo the high school experience. Better yet, rather than develop a nationwide, statewide approach, decentralize education and let schools, public and private, differentiate themselves in a marketplace, with public money following the student to whatever school the child and his family thought was most appropriate. For example, some students favor discussions, others favor hands-on projects, while still others are comfortable with a lecture format. And that’s just one way of slicing the ways in which the high school experience can vary. It’s true that people within today’s public schools can try to shake things up, but sometimes you need new institutions if you want to do new things. Unfortunately, high school as an engaging experience is, for too many students, one of those “new” things.

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