Graduation Ideas

In Sunday’s WaPo DC high school teacher Lisa Guido and I discuss the problem that arises when there are not common signals and expectations around high school completion for kids. Meanwhile, today, Jay Mathews puts out a pretty radical Michael Goldstein idea on graduation.

One Reply to “Graduation Ideas”

  1. Andrew,

    As usual, I agreed with your words in published articles or reports. Teachers chafe under the ridiculous “one size fits all” mandates on public schools. But then we want to impose our policies on charters? Holding those kids hostage will not free our regular public schools. As you imply, charters are working under advantages. They can have a rational disciplinary policy. They don’t have to impose non-stop pressure on teachers to lower their standards. They can enforce attendance policies. And yes, they have advantages in dealing with the most ineffective teachers.

    Even though we constantly complain about the silly procedures that teachers and administrators have to follow, I also think that there is an “escape from freedom” attitude by adults and students alike. As long as children and families are stricken by physical and mental illness, addiction, incarceration, and the other tragedies, there will be a full range of behavioral and academic standards in various schools. As long as we are playing under these restrictive rules, inner city public school teachers and schools will not be able to meet the challenges of the 21st century. But too many of us are too comfortable with being hamstrung because of the excuses it provides.

    After agreeing with your words after they have been submitted to the editorial process, I can then turn to your blog rhetoric and then take the high ground … except, this time I can’t. You then link us to a another great article. I have long wrestled with the issues explored by Goldstein, but he has the better idea. Approaches that frequently fail with immature younger teens will often work for a 19 or a 24 year old. This should not be an excuse to ease up on the quest for solutions for middle and high school. We still need many more interventions for public school students and we don’t want to create excuses for adults giving up too easily on students. But for college students, society is assisting them through age 22 and beyond. Public education should invest from pre-birth to at least the mid-twenties. We can play the blame game forever, but if sixty is the new forty then it is equally true that 20 something is the new 16 or 18. Given the extreme failure of adults to properly raise their children, we can’t be surprised that students often mature more slowly.

    I’d like some discussion of the other radical proposal – vouchers for preschool and early ed.

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