01 May, 2012

The Ends Don't Justify the Means..

The graduation rate of New York students has been lower than desired for several years now. The latest plan from the Board of Regents may solve the problem on paper.. but it will do more harm than good.

Years ago, New York high school students had 2 options or tracks to choose from when planning out their education, a local curriculum, or the state wide Regents. The Regents diploma was more in depth, and therefore, it signified a more thorough education.

Later, the Regents option became the only choice. This requires a set of state wide standardized exams. This isn't a bad idea.. make NY graduates smarter.. better qualified students makes them better suited for the workforce.

The problem is, not all students are up to the higher standards the Regents exams set.

What is the BoR's idea to fix the falling grades? Lower the standards. When I was in high school, a passing grade was 70% during the year, and 65% on the Regents. learn almost 2/3 of the material.. that was good enough. Now 65 is for over achievers. 55% is now the passing grade. A proposal to let students borrow points from 1 test they did well on and apply them to another they did less well on.

Another thing holding back graduates is the Global Studies exam. It is the most failed of the Regents exams. How do you solve that? Don't make them take it.. The proposal is to let students take an extra math or science exam, or some vocational training.

Lowering the standards is not the answer. Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it. If they don't teach it, how can we learn it?