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THE FINAL YEAR- Part II

by captain on May 16th, 2013

 

OK, I’m a short-timer, I get it.  However, for some reason some people at this location feel that BECAUSE of that reason,  I should just, NOT CARE, and disregard any standard or expectation I’ve ever had.  I’ll get into the specifics in a bit, but I was actually told by a co-worker, “You’re leaving in 15 days, why do you care?”

What I am told I shouldn’t care about is grades, and specifically passing students in one of my courses.  For whatever reason, I’m not able to just simply pass people or look the other way if they haven’t completed the right work.  I CAN’T.  To give you an idea of HOW bad I am when  it comes to this, when I was in high school, I was a TA for an Algebra class (I hate math.) I could’ve given my friend marks off on completing his homework, so he had a little easier go of it.  I didn’t.  He got a D-

I’m able, for some reason, to not let things like, whether or not I like someone have any outcome on the grade I give them.  I’ve given F’s to some of my favorite students…because they’ve earned it.

I guess I’m just a stickler for the fact that PASSING something means you really passed it, and learned it…not that you just were such a pain in the ass that people got tired of you and moved you along.  The ill effects of letting people pass that should NOT have passed is evident EVERY DAY of my life here.  How does a kid with a 3rd grade readling level make it to high school and STILL have a 3rd grade reading level?  I can see one or two kids over decades somehow being able to foil the system….but rows of students EVERY year, in MULTIPLE schools?!

Call me crazy, but I have a real problem with dumb people getting a diploma, how is that possible?

I know the answer,

“Well, no child left behind, bro! That’s important!  Everyone has to graduate.”

This probably sounds mean, but I’m all for leaving children behind at some point.  That point is high school.  If the kids are still functioning at a 4th grade level at the age of 17….well, sorry, you’re DONE.  You just don’t need a diploma.  I’ll clarify, I  mean, you NEED a diploma, you’re just not getting one…enjoy Taco Bell.

There’s too much pressure on schools now…not the pressure you’d think either.  There should be pressure to keep high standards, and push students to be the best.  The problem is that there’s no opposite side of that coin.  We expect EVERY student to pass.  IF they don’t it affects our scores that the public can see, and the opinions of politicians, and other schools, we can’t have kids being dropped?  They have to graduate…even if that means we just push them on, so they can get out of school with a diploma.

I’ve been in public education for nearly 2 decades, and I’ve seen plenty of kids graduate, who have not earned the diploma they are getting…it was given to them to move them on, and get them out of the system.  I have a high school diploma, my kids are going to get them….I think that to a certain level it means something.  It means 4 years of hard work, and passing classes….the right way.

OK…here’s the specifics of what happened.

Kid A graduated yesterday…but funny thing, he didn’t pass my class. 

“Well then how did he graduate?”

Let’s backtrack….

This kid is a pain in the ass. He’s socially inappropriate 95% of the time.  Fighting and smoking pot are the only things I’ve ever heard him discuss in class. He’s a bully. He belches loudly while I’m in the middle of a lecture.  He sleeps.  He does basically whatever he wants.  He acts like a fourth grader…but that’s fitting because he has a fourth grade reading level.. .Somehow he managed to buck the entire system long enough to GET to high school, and then buck it even more and get close to graduating.   That’s when he ended up in MY class.  He needed 5 credits from me to get out of high school with a diploma.  I intended to make those credits he ACTUALLY earned. 

Well he slept, and basically told my class to Eff Off with his actions.  He failed all of the tests I gave (which were open note by the way) Then when he realized he’d have to get the credits to graduate from my subject, he opted to try to do those credits on our accelerated computer learning program.   This program is far more difficult than what I do in the classroom.

He chose this method, like most of our kids do, because they think they can just cheat and look up all the answers online and pass the assignments and tests.  I can’t babysit them all the time, so at home, they cheat and get the answers.  The only way I have to combat this way of trying to circumnavigate my class is to give a final that must be passed in order to get those computer generated course credits.  You did the work online, great…pass this test and prove it.

Well it should come as No surprise that the kids do NOT want to take this test, as it will open up the glaring fact they have NOT done the work…they either cheated or had someone else do it for them.  Such is THIS case.

This student did NOT want to take my final..he avoided it, missed two appointments to take it, and then found a co-worker who felt sorry for him, and notoriously feels sorry for EVERYONE and buys all their bullshit.  She, in my opinion had given him all the answers in the first place, so when he went to her and said…”boo hoo, Captain is gonna make me pass this hard final to get my last 5 credits.”  She knew he wouldn’t pass, because in my opinion she DID the work for him.  Rather than come to me and discuss it, she went AROUND me and had someone else sign off on his credits, and lo-and-behold…high school graduate.

This led to a slew of events this past week and ultimately ended with a few generic type summaries.

the first being, I am too hard of a teacher, I need to lighten it up, and make sure these kids can pass. There are 3 kids in particular down to only my class necessary to pass.  These 3 kids are NOT very bright..and somehow they have been allowed to get to this point with low ability.  They are not special ed either, and have no special plans in place. 

Well if it’s the last 5 credits, we can’t just KEEP them from graduating?!?!? It must be YOU Captain, you’re the issue.

See, I’m fine if the kids don’t graduate because they won’t do what’s needed to complete my EASY, open note tested class.  If they can’t jump through THAT hoop, I’m fine if they have to come back and take it the following year, hell, I’m even fine if they don’t GET a diploma…they haven’t earned it. 

Not everyone thinks that way though.

I get told all the sob sotries about their home life.  “He/She has SUCH a hard life at home though!”

I’m sorry about that, but that’s not a reason they can’t pass an open note test, nor is it OK for them to act like an asshole to me because of it…nor should they get special treatment for it.   75% of the  world has a less than awesome home life.  It’s PART OF LIVING in most cases.  DEAL WITH IT.

“Well they have a low reading level…just such a low performing student…can’t we just find something?”

I did, it’s called dumbed down, open note tests….that even some of the LOWER performing students can get a B on with MINIMAL effort.  If they can’t do THAT.   I can’t be of any more help.

Anyway, it’s a problem, not only here…but EVERYWHERE.  Until we cut loose the ones that won’t or can’t, it’ll always cheapen the efforts of those that can…and make the system flawed.  I think anyone can see that….even if you only have 15 days left

 

 

 

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