"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Four Year Expectation

Sent to the Miami Herald, January 22, 2013

To the editor:

The US Department of Education’s announcement that the nation’s high school graduation rate is the highest since 1976, but more than a fifth of students are still failing to get their diploma in four years, (“Study: High school grad rate highest since '76,” Jan 21) sends the message that those who take longer than four years to finish high school are somehow failures.

Graduating in more than four years often requires perseverance and determination. Many students need to work after school, and a longer stay in high school makes sense for them. We must allow working students to take a reduced course load or even an occasional leave of absence. Susan Ohanian has commented that the four year high school expectation is an assault, intended or not, on the working class.

During the depression, the father of a colleague of mine alternated working a year and going to high school a year, because his family needed the money. Another colleague told me that she and her dad graduated high school at the same time. These are not cases of failure but of heroism.

Stephen Krashen

Original article: http://www.miamiherald.com/search_results?aff=1100&q=graduation#storylink=cpy

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