It is springtime and love is in the air. It is also the time I get a bunch of emails from frantic parents, students and counselors. Usually it comes from our senior parents and counselors and it ramps up in April and May. “Can (enter student name here) still pass and what do they need to do so?” Do I really need to answer this question? Okay, I will… show up and work harder. Try. Show effort. Stop procrastinating. I could go on and on.
Let’s look at what is really happening here (in my opinion of course.) If a certain number of seniors don’t graduate, that makes the school report card look bad. It looks as if we have a bunch of not so smart kids in the school and people don’t like that. Parents want their kids to move on. I know… I am one. Parents have been putting up with their teens for years. “God forbid little Johnnie doesn’t graduate on time. That would make me look like a BAD parent!” Counselors are not going to like being the one’s with the most non-graduating students on their caseloads. I get it.
"Make the student learn from reaping what they sew."
What if we looked at it another way… actually letting the kid fail. Make the student learn from reaping what they sew. Making people take their education a little more seriously. I have plenty of students who don’t try in class. They procrastinate. What if we as educators held our students to a higher standard? What if the kid failed and had to do summer school or go another semester? Why is that so bad? The way I see it… high graduation rates could mean that it is a great school…or it could mean that the standards have dropped. Colleges and employers know the answer. Unfortunately, it is more the second option.
"The way I see it… high graduation rates could mean that it is a great school…or it could mean that the standards have dropped."
There are many things employers say about recent grads. Too many to list here. I will name a few: Lack of tenacity. Poor writing skills. Grads are clueless about the job. Students don’t have the basic skills we are looking for. These are but a few. Let’s look at lowering standards and compare to these things. Seems like we have a match.
A suggestion would be to change the curriculum to better prepare high school students for reality. Another challenge along with that would be to change the worldview of a community on what a “great school” looks like. And lastly, parents remember exactly what you remembered in high school and if someone held you to a higher standard there. You would be better off. I know I would be. Another way to make our students better than us! #disrupteducation