Words ‘at standard’ a hollow reward

As a parent of three children in the Everett School District I feel it must be said that the graduation requirements put on the class of 2001 are wrong. For those that are not involved you would have no idea what I’m talking about, but to others the words “culminating exhibition” put chills up our spines.

Four years ago at the freshman open house we were told what would be required of our children to graduate. Our children would not only have to pass all their classes but would have to write a paper equivalent to those at the end of their freshman year of college and would have to present an exhibition equivalent to a business person’s presentation for a corporation. They said not to worry; they would teach them a new kind of writing. No one ever dreamed that every year they would change the rules for the culminating exhibition and in their junior and senior year the rules would be changed almost on a monthly basis.

Parents never dreamed they would have to buy the latest computer equipment, pay for tutors, purchase even more specialized computer programs, all for the culminating exhibition. For some parents it became too much and they sent their children to live with relatives in other school districts so they wouldn’t have to deal with this added stress in their high school years. Other parents got their children to graduate early. The loyal few left trudged on – but the words “at standard” written on a computer screen are a hollow reward for the pain it has caused.

The school district has spent thousands on organizing this and educating staff and volunteers. They have kindly added more graduation ceremonies so that when these children are “at standard” they can be graduated. Of course no one is going to refund the parents’ money for the graduation announcements they bought last fall before they found out that these kids may not pass the culminating exhibition and may graduate later. To add insult to injury they send out weekly letters to the parents telling them that their child is not “at standard.”

I’m sure if a study were done, they would find that this whole ordeal has brought every child’s grade point average down because all they do is work on “the culminating exhibition.” After all this, these children still have to pass their finals.

Last week I asked my daughter’s second grade teacher why they were doing all these end of the year projects and she replied that they were teaching culminating projects to get them prepared. I started laughing but my eyes were tearing for that little happy girl that in the not so distant future will have to endure the pain of the culminating exhibition.

I salute the Class of 2001 whether they at are “at standard” or not.


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