A list of the common complaints about graduations from K-12:
- Not everyone deserves to graduate.
A more detailed subset of that list:
- At this rate, should we have to make special accommodations for our kids when we’re trying to raise the rigor of all curricula?
- Better yet, can everyone just get an intervention plan so we can stop lying to ourselves that every student who graduates gets the same criteria?
- If the student is late and / or absent more than 70% of the time, must they be promoted?
- If so, what does that say about the value of our diplomas?
- How many of the kids who’ve openly defied class rules find their way across the stage, despite our most earnest attempts at assuring they don’t?
This and more questions always taint the graduation some. Teachers all over the country have pondered this, and wondered aloud why it seems, for some, that graduation isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.
I honestly don’t know how to answer the question, but if ever asked, I always say, “Just because they’re all on the same boat doesn’t mean they’re all going to the same destination.”
For the handful of kids who we believe don’t deserve to cross the stage, we often have many more who do, who tried their best to achieve, and earned every bit of the pomp and circumstance. In our line of work, we have to deal with the adult nonsense far too much, and that includes the ways in which we promote children to the next level.
The only comfort is that perhaps “middle school” was a phase, and that separation from their friends would actually help them see themselves as better students. Many times, eighth graders get into high school and find themselves academically, and if that’s so for some of our children, that’s great.
In the meantime, let’s not ruin it for those who we rarely talk about. They deserve our praise and congratulations. Besides, we’re on this boat for the long haul.