Make students take responsibility for their graduation

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 18, 2003

The State Department of Education and many school districts are doing an admirable job of making sure that students are informed of new graduation requirements that take effect in 2004.

Starting next year, high school students must pass at least six Standards of Learning exams or acceptable alternatives during high school or risk not receiving a diploma.

Officials say they cannot repeat the new rules often enough for this year’s juniors, the first who will need the tests to graduate.


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Guidance counselors in many districts have been sending letters to parents detailing requirements and acceptable alternatives to passing grades on six SOLs. Some school systems have put together PowerPoint demonstrations and posters to hang in high schools.

The Department of Education produced a video, along with brochure and a score sheet, to help students chart their progress through the requirements.

While the efforts are commendable, they are misguided.

Schools are right to make sure students are informed of the changes. But whatever happened to writing it on the chalkboard? It certainly would be less expensive.

At a time when schools are struggling for funding to be able to pay teachers more, it seems like a waste of good money to have to forcefeed graduate requirements to students.

Students, particularly those with plans to graduate high school, should be responsible enough to write down something so crucial to their futures and be expected to remember it.

If they are unable to do that, or count up to six tests without the aid of a scorecard, then they probably aren’t ready to graduate anyway.