All eighth graders at a middle school near San Diego marched in graduation ceremonies even though one fourth of San Ysidro Middle School’s class didn’t meet graduation requirements, reports the San Diego Union-Trib. After all, they’re all being sent on to high school anyhow. The high school principal says 70 percent of incoming ninth graders are working below grade level.
(San Ysidro Middle counselor Rosemarie)Ponce said she’s heard administrators say that all students should be able to walk in today’s ceremony because it might be the only graduation ceremony they’ll ever have. Such low expectations won’t help them earn a diploma four years from now, she said.
“We’ll never know what they can do unless we raise the bar,” Ponce said.
The principal — the fourth in five years — says the “problem is that low expectations are being communicated daily in classrooms.” There’s little effective help for students who fall behind, and no consequences: Not a single student at the school is being held back.
Most local districts promote nearly every eighth grader; some high schools now have special programs for ninth graders who are working far below grade level.