The comprehensive high school is a unique product of efforts intended to serve the educational needs of a modern democratic society. Comprehensive high schools are designed to educate students and prepare them to adequately navigate employment, the duties of citizenship, and other facets of adult life. In comprehensive high schools, students have access to a vast array of course offerings (e.g., foreign language, home economics) and extracurricular activities (e.g., sports, clubs) resulting in a diploma. The diploma serves as a standard, signifying minimal competence to enter postsecondary education or to obtain competitive employment. This entry discusses the development of comprehensive high schools and their current configuration.

Historical Background

For a number of years, secondary education was confined to particular geographic areas (i.e., urban centers). The creation of ...

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