“New York City gave me a diploma I didn’t deserve,” 18-year-old Melissa Mejia told the New York Post.
She frequently cut her first-period government class at a Queens high school, didn’t turn in homework and skipped the final. To her surprise, she earned a passing grade and a diploma.
Teachers are under pressure to pass students and keep up their school’s graduation rate, said Andrea McHale, who taught Mejia at Bryant High in Queens. “If we don’t meet our academic goals, we are deemed failures as teachers. . . . I thought it was in her best interest and the school’s best interest to pass her.”
A Virginia mother in an affluent Virginia suburb is complaining that her chronically truant daughter passed English, reports Jay Mathews in the Washington Post. The girl skipped the final exam, but earned an A for the fourth quarter, bringing her F average up to a D.
The teacher admitted the girl hadn’t earned an A, but said she “participated in several class discussions and demonstrated that she understood the bulk of the material throughout the year,” despite poor attendance and lack of effort. The final counts only if it raises the student’s grade.
“I complained recently about D.C. schools’ giving D’s for no work to get as many uncooperative students as possible graduated so the schools wouldn’t have to deal with them anymore,” writes Mathews. It’s an issue in the suburbs too.
The Fairfax student was delighted with the results, telling her parents she might hold the world record for getting passing grades despite doing nothing. Her parents want her to grow up. They wonder why the school system won’t help.
“If she still hasn’t mastered the skills or tackled the assumed requirements for a high school diploma — such as writing a paper, exploring historical periods, reading the classics and presenting a project — she will never succeed in college,” the mother said.
The mother is planning to send this kid to college? The girl sounds like a good candidate for a competency-based alternative program. If she’s so smart that she already knows it all, let her prove it. Or she could try to get a job that doesn’t require showing up.