Thursday, December 20, 2007

Not-So-Great Expectations for NYC Students

Amidst the scandals surrounding many schools over principals who apparently encourage teachers to "dumb down" their standards, I am left thinking about how unfair it is that students who do not work as hard out of pure laziness are being lumped into the same category as students who stay up all night studying.

Honestly, isn't the point of school to learn so that you can challenge yourself and achieve success, not to sit at your desk staring at the ceiling while your teacher continues to pass you for no reason other than keeping up the school's appearance?

Principal Bennett Lieberman of Central Park East High School is in trouble for telling teachers that if they were not passing 65% of their students, they should lower their expectations in order to pass more so that the school would fare better in its progress report. Teachers who help students cheat when they are proctoring tests or principals who artificially boost regents scores also give a bad name to the institution of education.

It is time for the enormous emphasis on test scores and progress reports to come to an halt, because, in the end, the students are the ones who suffer. They are the ones who are going to be behind when they move to the next grade up or go to college and cannot grasp the material. They are the ones who are going to wonder how they passed a certain subject when they had no idea what they were even learning about.

This current situation would horrify the generations of old, who attended school when passing grades were earned based on merit. Let's bring that concept back to the NYC public school system.

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