Left behind

Do kids fail anymore? Iím not trying to be sarcastic, Iím honestly curious about the way that the education system works these days.

When I was in school, it seemed like things were cut and dry. Weíre not talking about some time decades ago. Iíve been out of school for less than 10 years, but it sometimes seems like the entire system of education has changed over the course of the last few years.

When I was in school, Iím pretty sure if you scored lower than a 65, you failed. You had not gained sufficient knowledge of the subjects you were required to know, and therefore you had to repeat the grade or the class in some fashion or at least do something to demonstrate that you had the sufficient knowledge to pass to the next level of study.

Today it seems like that is no longer the case, at least not until the ninth grade. Today, things are more centered around being politically correct and the factors that dictated passing and failing seem to have changed so that no one will have hurt feelings. I remember seeing students held back in primary school or put in to remedial programs between kindergarten and first grade if it was determined that they werenít ready to go to the next grade, but in my more recent dealings with schools, I havenít seen anything like that.

What I have seen are a lot more kids being pushed through the system even though they have low scores, with excuses like, ďhe knows the material, he just doesnít do his homework,Ē or ďitís not that she canít do the work, she just doesnít apply herself.Ē

I think itís wonderful that educators seems to be getting involved with the students and are trying to understand what they are going through, but I think pushing kids through grade levels, even if they donít get passing grades, is setting a bad example. If someone had told me in middle school that I could skip homework assignments, and skate through grades with minimal effort, I probably would have spent a lot less time studying. Passing to the next grade level should be an accomplishment. It should be seen as something to achieve, not something everyone is entitled to regardless of effort.

I know a lot of focus in schools today is on state testing and legislative mandates. Educators have to follow the requirements and guidelines handed down to them, but it seems those guidelines cover a lot, except for the basics. In my opinion, guidelines for passing or failing a student, for example, should be the same at every school and students should know that if they donít do the work, they are going to fail. Having something to fear isnít always a bad thing. Sometimes it provides the motivation needed to get kids and adults heading in the right direction.

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