High School Issues

Learn more about high school academics, discipline policies and other issues relevant to private schools. Here we cover dress codes, explain the difference between AP and IB courses and discuss teen suicide. You’ll also find information on study abroad programs, codes of conduct and the best graduation gifts.
View the most popular articles in High School Issues:
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Contract Cheating
Contract cheating is more common than most of us realize. Finding somebody online to write essays or term papers is fairly easy to do. The way we parents counter immoral behavior like this is to discuss it frequently with our children.

The college admissions scandal of 2019 proved that cheating is endemic throughout the secondary and tertiary levels of education. Nor is cheating restricted to college admissions tests and applications. We find examples of it in the classroom, on term papers, projects, and more. I will omit a discussion of cheating in elementary school in this essay and cover it in another article. 


In 2011, when I read about students paying another person to take their SATs, I was appalled. What were they thinking? And how did they pull it off? Looking back on my high school and university years, I realize now that it was tough to cheat in the 50s and 60s. That was because all of the examinations that I took required us to write out our answers in pen. We didn't have multiple choice exams. No punch cards. I did occasionally hear of students who wrote out formulas on the palms or who looked over at a neighbor's answer book. But that was about it. Fast forward to the age of smartphones, and cheating has gone digital.

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Corporal Punishment: 2019 Update
Did you think that corporal punishment in our schools was extinct? Sadly, it isn't. Here are some facts and some suggestions as to what you can do to help eliminate corporal punishment once and for all.

I have been writing about corporal punishment in K-12 schools since 1999. Frankly, I am appalled that 19 states in 2019 still permit corporal punishment in their public and private schools. As of 2019, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming have not banned corporal punishment. The United States does not have a federal law prohibiting corporal punishment in public or private schools, much less in the home. State and local laws govern education in almost every respect. Local and state taxes fund public education. Therefore, it has been the local and state authorities which make the rules regarding how students are disciplined. 


What is corporal punishment? 


UNICEF defines corporal punishment as “any punishment in which physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, however light. Most involve hitting (“smacking”, “slapping”, “spanking”) children, with the hand or with an implement "


How many children are involved with corporal

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College Prep: Are SAT & ACT Necessary?
Are the SAT and ACT essential for college admissions? The answer to that question depends on many things, not the least of which is your own personal philosophy of education. Some more answers here.

Should you send your child to a school which prepares its students to take either the SAT or ACT? That's a decision which you will face when you evaluate schools on your shortlist. At that point, you will have to choose schools which teach to the test or progressive school

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How To Enrich Your Child's Education
We parents are responsible for expanding our children's horizons. We are responsible for showing and explaining things, concepts, and places they have never thought of. This article contains my roadmap for enriching your child's education.

It doesn't matter what grade your child is in or, for that matter, if she has not even started formal schooling. We parents are responsible for enriching our children's education. We are responsible for expanding our children's horizons. We are responsible for showing and explaining things, concepts, and places they have never thought of. What follows is my roadmap for enriching your child's education. While I am not a psychologist, I have raised four amazing children following the principles which I lay out in this essay. I was raised this way. So was my late wife.  We knew our method worked.

The Early Years

Playing classical music and reading are the foundations of an infant's education as far as I am concerned. I never believed that classical music made my children smarter. Indeed, The Mozart effect: Classical music and your baby's brain debunks that notion. But I do know that the music of Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart, and Beethoven soothed my girls when they were infants. Furthermore, I continue to hear from listeners at the classical music radio station with which I am affiliated about how our classical music programming lulls their children to sleep.

In this video, Erica Goms fromeHow Health discusses how cognitive development in babies can be stimulated by simply playing with the baby and showing them toys.

Reading to your child develops her imagination. Those books which you read over and over to her become old friends. A lifelong habit of reading starts with

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School Safety
Seemingly never-ending school shootings prompted me to find out whether private schools were safer than public schools. Some answers and opinions on the matter here.

Wikipedia has a list of shootings which have occurred in our schools dating back to the 1840s. Sadly, most of the shootings in the past several decades since the mass shooting at Columbine High School have taken place in public schools.  That led me to ask why private schools seem to have been spared these senseless killings. 

Before we look at some of the reasons why shootings occur, let's find out what percentage of shootings occur in private vs. public schools. In Are Shootings More Likely to Occur in Public Schools? Corey A. Deangelis notes the following research:

"Hyewon Kim—a Cato Center for Educational Freedom Intern—compiled information on school shootings in the United States from 2000 to 2018 using the Tribune-Review database. The database is limited to legitimate school shootings; that is, shootings that occurred on or near a K-12 school campus while classes were in session or when students were present. The list also excluded suicide-only incidents."

"Hyewon found 134 school shootings from 2000 to 2018. Only eight of these occurred in private schools while 122 occurred in public schools. The type of school could not be definitively classified for 4 of the shootings. As shown in the figure below, about 94 percent of the shootings that could be classified occurred in public schools while only about 6 percent occurred in private schools."

This TEDTalk discusses how school shootings can be prevented.

Are private school buildings and campuses physically safer?

I don't think

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High School Issues


A comprehensive look at high school academics. We cover grades, AP and IB courses, and the post graduate year. Learn the secrets of A+ students. Explore summer abroad programs, read interviews with experts and get valuable tips on excelling academically.


A brief look into high school discipline policies. From codes of conduct to uniforms and dress code, we'll provide information on the latest practices in private schools.

Other Issues

From graduation gifts to preventing teen suicide, this section provides information on a variety of topics affecting high school students. Learn what to do when your child is expelled, you need financial aid or you’re looking for a teaching job. Get expert advice on protecting your teen from substance abuse, finding the right high school and handling personal technology on campus.