Meaningless Diplomas

I am also saddened and confused about how the quality of a high school education is so unequal, dependent upon the community in which the school building sits.  To complement Noel’s comment, I found this one in “Transforming Urban Education”:  “…most graduates of urban high schools serving primarily impoverished minority students have not read and explored the same literature as their counterparts in suburbs and small towns, have not gotten as thorough a grounding in science and mathematics, have not moved into the more sophisticated areas of social studies, have not gained as much proficiency in foreign languages, and have not had as wide an exposure to art and music.  The cruel joke is that most of the dropout prevention programs intended to keep them in school set them up to obtain nothing but a meaningless diploma.”  I am a graduate of an urban, inner city high school and I can honestly say these words are as true to me as the sky is blue.  My “college preparatory” courses were nothing of the sort, as I struggled through my undergraduate work, graduate work, and struggle to this very day to try and compensate, keep up, and catch up with knowledge others at this level have known for years.  Lack of exposure to a rigorous, well-rounded curriculum sets students up for failure and an inability to compete in higher education environments.  An educational program devoid of high standards and high expectations is a recipe for problems in motivation, inner strength, confidence, and committment.  I think our focus needs to shift from just getting students to graduate, to graduating well-prepared, goal-setting students with a quality education.


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