A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A Simple Solution

CNN News: Report: High school exit exams pressuring limited-English students:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Huge numbers of students who don't speak or read English well may be denied a high school diploma based on graduation tests that do not fairly measure their skills, a study suggests.

Many states are struggling to help those learning English as a second language. Such students -- mainly immigrants -- pass graduation exams on their first try at least 30 to 40 percentage points less often than other students, the Center on Education Policy found.

That performance has big implications, as almost nine in 10 limited-English students are expected to face such a high-stakes test in their state by 2012. (emphasis added)
Call me crazy, but I don't think students in our schools who can neither speak nor read English should be given high school diplomas. Of course, that fairly eliminates the majority of students, if one considers the current state of our schools.

Seriously, though, why should students who haven't met the requirements be given high school diplomas? They haven't earned them and a high school diploma is, at least, supposed to mean one has accomplished something.

I can sympathize with legal immigrants who have just come here, whose parents are hard-working taxpayers, and just want to learn English and become educated. They deserve some measure of forbearance on our behalf. But what about those who don't even try or ought not even be in the schools because they are not legal? Further, how does one get to the point of graduation without being able to read or speak basic English?

If these kids don't learn English in school, how can they expect to learn the proper grammar once they have left?