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Walking the Stage to Never-Never Land

A few final thoughts about the much debated subject of access to the graduation ceremony.

It appears that a decision has been made to allow the Superintendent to determine if students who are short of units may cross the stage at graduation. Let me stir the embers a bit about that choice.

This seems untenable on several fronts. It will saddle Superintendent Hogan with a task well below his pay grade. To make a well considered decision, he will have to consult with the school principal, and perhaps the student, his or her teachers, parents, school deans and past records of the student's academic and behaviorial issues. This will have to  be done in the last two or three days of the school term. This process could be multiplied by five, or ten or twenty students from the two schools. Is this what we want our Superintendent doing near the end of the school year? Having to decide who walks and who doesn't in this short time period could wind up with a blanket decision that all walk or none walk.

More importantly perhaps is the question of what happens to the behavior of two distinct groups affected by this process. Marginal students on the cusp of graduation may ease off given the option of being included in the ceremony regardless. They may not have the same incentive to pass that last class or two that has historically existed. Likewise their teachers may not have the same push to work with these youngsters to overcome their academic difficiencies, or ennui, or fear of failure, or home difficulties or whatever has led them to their precarious position the last week of school.

Lastly, if given a free pass across the stage, too many of these students who, under traditional standards would have made the grades and received their diplomas, will now fade away into the less structured arena of self motivation to attend summer school or adult school. That's a precarious scenario given that a fair number of these youngsters weren't as motivated as their peers to, you know, do the required work when they had to attend school.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Tess April 20, 2012 at 03:44 AM
Gene - take a second look at the updated policy - The Superintendent DOES NOT have total say so. The School Board and the Committee assigned to come up with the new policy were right on target in my opinion. Take a second look and hope you see things differently. BTW - it was good to see you at the "Hats off for Education" dinner - Shirley sure remembers you and so do most of us longtime SSF residents.

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