Sunday, August 2, 2009

Louisiana aims to lower its drop-out rate BY LOWERING THEIR GRADUATION STANDARDS!

What in the world is going on? First California, and now This!

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal recently signed two bills that aim to reduce Louisiana's school dropout rate by lowering educational standards and creating a new "career track" high school diploma. The bills: House Bill 612 and Senate Bill 259, require school districts to establish a "Career Track" diploma to capture those students who are not succeeding on the standard educational track, lower their academic requirements, and provide them with more vocational and technical courses.

Under the new law, students opting for the new alternative track diploma, could still pass the eighth-grade LEAP test and be promoted into the 9th grade, even if they fail the English or math portions.

As an educational advocate, I find this deeply disturbing. The world is becoming increasingly high tech and the job market of tomorrow will require higher and more sophisticated skills than we've seen to date. Lowering the bar and lessening educational standards is absolutely a step in the wrong direction; NO school district should be issuing diplomas to students who are woefully unprepared and ill-equipped to compete. No district should improve their educational outcomes by suspending the normal rules for failure. No district should de-value the diplomas they offer by diminishing the standard it represents. If students are not achieving, then we should provide them with the necessary assistance and support they need in order to achieve. But to simply remake the rules so that what once was failure will now be acceptable may help the stats in the short term, but it will certainly hurt the children in the long run.

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