When there is difficulty with students who don't succeed in elementary and secondary schools, often despite heroic efforts from teachers and other professionals, many schools are closed or redesigned and educators are forced out. We are the scapegoats of school reform. We are easy targets.
Students have a right to an education but in the 21st Century, that right has been expanded in certain schools so it seems now there is almost a right to a high school diploma. If too many students fail, even if they do no work or don't show up, teachers are held accountable.
Whether the kids themselves, their parents, the school system, politicians, philanthropists, poverty or institutionalized racism are the true culprits is not my central focus in this piece. I clearly don't believe the vast majority of teachers are responsible for students not ending up ready for college of adult life. Teachers have been exposing the grade fraud in many schools with the help of NY Post reporter Sue Edelman.
What is clear is way too many students receiving a grade inflated New York City High School Diploma are unprepared for university study. Please don't tell me to look at the college or career ready statistics. Instead, look at how many pupils receive a college degree.
Let's go to the numbers from the City University of New York, where many of our high school graduates in NYC attend college, to see what the on time graduation rates are.
First, the community colleges:
As of the fall of 2018, 9% of students who entered CUNY two year colleges in 2016 had earned their Associates Degree. That's 9% who earned a two year degree in two years. Go to the link above to verify.
How about the four year CUNY colleges?
Of the cohort entering as freshmen in 2014, by 2018 26.7% had earned a four year Bachelor's Degree in four years.
I am not criticizing the colleges or CUNY as an institution for not graduating more students on time. Many of the high school graduates who are entering CUNY, mostly from New York high schools, are not ready for college. Obviously, there are still standards at the City University as students are not pushed through. College degrees still mean something.
Despite these statistics, there is no call to privatize CUNY or turn the colleges into charter schools. I don't think they are retraining all of the professors either or threatening to redesign the low performing colleges by replacing the professors and making them Absent Professor Reserves at other colleges.
I am not advocating for high school to be like college but we do need reasonable standards (for example, we used to have a 90% attendance requirement) and if students don't meet them, look beyond blaming teachers and schools to see what we can reasonably to to change things.