The Traditional System...
1. Serves only to isolate and divide students by labeling them solely on "honors" or "non-honors" status. "Honors" students sometimes feel superior, while "Non-honors" students do not make a concerted effort to excel. In the end, both groups stagnate.
2. Over-saturates well-roundedness with a basic curriculum consisting of math, science, English, and history. This results in a defeatist attitude among students due to an absence of purpose.
3. Does not allow students to make the connection between the courses they take and their desired future, which results in a negative connotation towards structured education as a whole.
4. Indirectly encourages students to defer college/career exploration until after the majority of their high school experience has already passed.
5. Hinders success of the "undecided student" by failing to provide opportunities to discover passion in specific fields of interest.
6. Relies too heavily on extrinsic motivation, (trying to convince students to 'see the big picture'). which never works. Intrinsic motivation ("I made this choice to be in this particular Academy," "I like the skill I'm learning; it makes me happy and confident," "I want to be at the same level as my peers") works SO much better!
7. Fails to include students with special needs by largely isolating them from the general student body, which has become an issue in many schools.
8. Is "late to the game" on education innovation. The top 9/10 schools in New Jersey (U.S. News and World Report) have already adopted Academy-style systems.
9. Encourages peer pressure instead of peer unity. By grouping students into Academies based on similar interests, hierarchical social groups will be discouraged and students will be made part of a team, with peer emulation replacing peer pressure.
10. Does not work, according to the Federal Government as well as research data. Directly from ed.gov: "The 2012 Gallup Poll asked students how involved and enthusiastic they felt about school. Nearly 8 in 10 elementary students reported engagement. By high school, only half that many did."
As much as a high school in the "traditional system" attempts to perfect itself, it will never reach the status of an Academy-style system because these issues are impossible to address without the new system.