It’s that time of year, again. It’s graduation time for the high school seniors. This year, I have one student who is walking across the stage. You might recall a student who used to inhabit this blog who went by the name of Taz. Like the cartoon character of that name, he rarely simply walks anywhere. He is like a tornado the way he moves, which has the potential to be a bit unnerving to people looking for an occasion that is more solemn than cartoonish. That would be the administrators who are only now getting nervous. I was nervous from the minute I knew his mother wanted him to walk this year. So we’re walking the tight rope between allowing him to have his moment on the stage while keeping him from being the proverbial twister in the trailer park.
But he’ll be back. Unlike his peers, he will be returning for post-graduate studies for 2 more years (he’s already 20). I wish I could say that we had much more to offer hime than custodial care. I really wish that was the case. But NCLB has turned us into an academic factory. The product is a finished assessment and the raw materials are academic standards, technology and creativity. Since the general curriculum is aimed at college, that’s where we have to aim, with considerable leeway, of course. But school resources have been totally diverted from vocational instruction to college prep.
Will any of my students go to college? with IQ’s in the single digits…what do you think? Are they going to use the algebra, geography and literature I’ve spent all these years teaching them? Remember, it’s the law. So what happens to my students when they graduate? Where do they go?
The exit door from my program leads to only two paths. One, is a funeral. I’ve done that one too many times. The other is a waiting list, which all of my graduates end up on, if they don’t take the first path first. And with funding drying up all over, the waiting lists are going to just get longer and longer.