In my last post, I discussed a bit about end of course tests, which many of you are finishing up in one form or another. But the topic of the Georgia high school graduation test (GHSGT) needs its own treatment, as this is a much bigger fish with it counting towards AYP for NCLB purposes. BTW, if you don’t like acronyms, a special ed. blog is NOT the thing to be reading!
A county that is very near Magnolia county has adopted a policy that any senior who has failed a section on the GHSGT can not walk on graduation day. (Here’s an article about another district that did something similar in 2003)This caused quite an uproar at a recent school board meeting where parents and students complained bitterly about how unfair this is. A student goes through 12, 13, 14, 15 years of school, gets all of their credits, pass all of their classes, does all of their work, may even make the honor roll and get a HOPE scholarship. But if they fail a single portion of the GHSGT, that’s it. No graduation.
They can still take the test every time it is given until they pass, but by then graduation day is over.
My attitude towards our test-crazy culture can be seen below. However there are more insidious things behind this policy that the board passed. They claimed that it was a policy designed to make sure that they were upholding the standard. The fact is, this is a graduation ceremony. Why allow someone to be a part of it who is not actually and truly graduating? A board member stated that this policy was set in order to be true to the standard and to insert some level of integrity into the system. They want to reward actual graduates, not those who hope they will get a diploma at some point in the future.
While this is all fine and good, that is not the real reason for this policy move. It has nothing to do with fairness or standards or moral integrity. It has everything to do with No Child Left Behind. If your child is left behind, and not allowed to walk across the stage on graduation day because of this test, it is because of NCLB. You see this policy is all about NCLB and AYP. A board member stated that he wanted to make sure that the subsequent test takers understood the seriousness of this test and would work harder to pass it.
And that is the real reason for this policy. It is the equivalent of chaining the galley slaves to their oars, so they will row harder knowing that if they don’t, they will go down with the ship. In this case, chaining the student’s graduation exercise to the test in hopes that they will perform better and so help the school’s efforts at making AYP. If the school fails to make AYP, there will be many students who will NOT be walking across that stage. They will go down with their ship. No matter how long or how hard they’ve been rowing, if they fail that test which is tied to NCLB, they will drown in their shame.
This is the sort of crap that goes down when politicians in Washington decide to get involved with something they really don’t know anything about. These folks are too busy raising money for their own re-election to raise their own children, and these are the folks you want deciding how your kids should be raised and educated?
NCLB is a terrible law created by beltway baboons in order to gain political points at little cost. Schools were institutions prone to doing silly things before, but NCLB has raised the standard of insanity to new heights.