Number 2 Pencil points to an entrepreneurial twist: Students who can’t pass their state’s exit exam can get an official-looking diploma from a private school, North Atlantic Regional High in Maine. Haitian immigrants are using North Atlantic to get around the reading portion of the Florida graduation exam, reports the Miami Herald.
Two years after arriving from Port-au-Prince, Edison High student Stephania Fourron had learned enough English to pass the math portion of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, but failed the reading exam three times.
She could not receive a diploma, could not start college, could not study nursing — until a community activist offered her a novel solution from 1,600 miles away.
For a $255 fee, a private school designed for home-schooled students in Lewiston, Maine, offered to accept her course credits from Edison and issue a diploma — even though she has never attended classes there. Within weeks, Fourron was able to begin classes at Miami Dade College.
Of course, without basic reading skills, it’s unlikely Fourron will understand college nursing texts.
This is a great racket for North Atlantic, but eventually students will wise up. They can claim to be homeschooled and award themselves free diplomas. The piece of paper will be worth nothing without the skills it claims to represent; ultimately, that’s true of all diplomas.