The HiLite, Carmel High School's student newspaper, published its reaction to the film Two Million Minutes on March 14th.
"Carmel High School students were recently featured in a documentary titled “2 Million Minutes,” a film that follows six students from around the world as they prepare themselves for college. The project, while it may be rooted in some basic truth, wrongly focuses the importance of high school education on regimentation and long hours of studying. Although this is an integral part of a successful student’s life, the documentary fails to show the importance of being well rounded and socially aware for a career in the working world. In this way, the two Carmel students in the film were unfairly categorized as not serious and unprepared for college and their future. But before Carmel community members jump headlong into fixing this perceived problem, they need to pause and take a deeper look into the reality of our educational system and take time to realize the benefit of Carmel’s type of high school experience.
Despite the uneven interpretation of our high school life, the film does make valid points concerning the future global economy. Students from the United States will be made to compete with not only other students within the country, but students worldwide as the economies and businesses of the world continue to mesh and collide. But although this maybe true, statistics indicate that CHS students will be fine. Last year 701 students here took one or more AP tests with a total of 1,347 exams total. During the 2006-07 school year, 86 percent of students who took an AP exam passed with a three, four or five. Impressively, 88 percent of students who attend Carmel end up going to college.
Additionally, Carmel has proven itself as an achieving school in all areas, even math and science. For example, students here have been honored with the Siemens Award, which recognizes students who achieve top AP scores within the state and nationally. The opportunity for our students to be in AVID, a college preparation program, is further proof of our concern for the advancement of our students.
The documentary raises an interesting point about the importance of being cultured, socialized and well rounded in order to succeed in the international economy. However, it puts too much emphasis in students’ future success by their ability to do well only in math and science courses, work long strenuous hours and sacrifice other aspects of their life in order to complete tasks. This is a narrow and impractical way to look at the future for young adults. It is an advantage, not a detriment, that Carmel provides the opportunity for its students to expand beyond these requirements. To get to the working world, of course, our students will have to be competent enough to complete the necessary skills; but to have success in this world other skills, skills that our students will have had the opportunity and time to acquire, are essential.
It is important for our students and the community to retain confidence in our form of education despite questioning from the documentary. Different is not necessarily bad, and in this day and age, different just might push our students ahead of the rest."
Much like the faculty at Harvard, Carmel's editorial staff is confident that the U.S. education system is more than adequately preparing its students for the knowledge-intensive, globally competitive careers of the 21st century - by producing the mythically powerful "well-rounded , socially aware" American.