Graduation events are significant rites of passage because they represent academic success. For a job well done, years of hard effort are recognized; typically four years if you’re in high school or college, possibly longer if you spent more time drinking beer and eating pizza than at the library.
However, things are different in Marin, Texas. The customary May graduation celebration in the little hamlet of 5,400 people southeast of Waco is being moved to June. It’s not due to the need to extend the school year or the severe weather, for example.
Instead, it’s because just 15% of the senior class was qualified to receive a diploma.
An audit at Marlin High School revealed that 28 out of 33 seniors do not meet the requirements for a diploma, according to a report on Thursday by KWTX-TV.
The Marlin Independent School District is giving the remainder of the senior class one additional month to complete what they previously had four years to do, despite the fact that a number of additional students have qualified after the audit was first carried out.
“We hold firm to our belief that every student in Marlin ISD can and will achieve their potential,” said Superintendent Darryl Henson.
“Students will be held to the same high standard as any other student in Texas.”
However, they will have more time to accomplish so, unlike the other five students in the class, who managed to do so without postponing graduation.
I’ve heard of receiving a term paper extension, but this is absurd.
28 of 33 seniors at a Marlin, Texas high school did not meet graduation requirements, and their attendance records and grades are to blame. https://t.co/gV8vuXmVzV
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 25, 2023
Why can’t the 28 pupils join the class of 2023 in walking? Although there are additional difficulties that appear to be at play, attendance and grades are two of the key factors.
For example, Salvador Guerrero is not qualified. He told KWTX that he would need to wait until the summer to take a state-mandated assessment test for an online course in American history.
“It’s a bag of emotions, anxiety, and a bit of disappointment,” Guerrero said.
Alondra Alvarado, one of the initial five who actually completed the prerequisites for a diploma, should be taken into account if he finds that to be a letdown. It was explained to her that graduation would have to be postponed because, get this, rewarding her and four other students for following instructions would be inappropriate.
“They told us that because of the students that didn’t meet the requirements it wouldn’t be fair for only five students to walk the stage,” Alvarado said.
Yes, you’re right: It’s unjust to get rewarded for, say, merely passing an academic exam rather than for academic achievement. It appears that teachers working for the Marlin ISD are equally adept at imparting life lessons as they are at imparting curriculum-based courses.
The institution is now working hard to organize its academic affairs.
NPR reported that “[s]chool officials worked with students over the weekend and this week to help an additional 12 students resolve missing credits and other issues as of Wednesday evening, Henson said. But the district opted to call off the ceremony until more than those 17 students can graduate.”
You get a diploma, but one thinks the end result may be similar to the “Oprah” episode where the entire audience received cars they didn’t pay for!
You get a diploma! And you get a diploma! And you get a diploma!
In addition, Superintendent Henson used Twitter to further demonstrate how Marlin ISD is failing its children by refusing to acknowledge their failures:
Our district will grow from this setback. Let this be a lesson learned for all. As we continue to go through our annual graduation audit, it’s our obligation to ensure that all students have met all requirements. Support, accountability, & integrity will remain at the forefront. pic.twitter.com/Pm1B2m1W9Y
— Dr. Darryl J. Henson (@DrHenson2) May 25, 2023
“Our district will grow from this setback. Let this be a lesson learned for all. As we continue to go through our annual graduation audit, it’s our obligation to ensure that all students have met all requirements. Support, accountability, & integrity will remain at the forefront,” he wrote in a Thursday tweet.
If Henson cared about accountability at all, he would have allowed the five students who completed the requirements to graduate and then ensured that the teachers accountable for this colossal failure left their positions, either of their own volition or through the termination procedure.
But let’s not limit our criticism of Marlin High School’s instructors and counselors to just that. The parents weren’t around. There ought to be a support system outside of school that addresses the issue if these kids’ grades and attendance are poor.
It is known as Mom and Dad. Evidently, too many parents didn’t care if their children received a diploma. They won’t, then. That should be how easy it is.
And to make matters worse, NPR reports that Marlin ISD has decided to lower the bar even further as a response to failing its children.
“The school and others in the Marlin district will convert to a four-day school schedule next year, under a plan adopted last month. Nikisha Edwards, the district’s chief academic officer, said the change should reduce absentee rates,” the outlet reported.
“The district also hopes the four-day week will make it easier to attract and retain high-quality teachers. Under the plan, students will attend class Monday through Thursday of most weeks. But they’ll also go to school on the first Friday of every month, and every Friday in three months: August, January and May.”
In other words, decrease absenteeism by limiting the number of days that students can miss class. Fantastic. Next, what? fewer pupils will fail if D and F grades are eliminated and everyone receives an A, B, or C?
It’s true that this is just one incredibly broken school district.
But if you were looking for a metaphor for the shortcomings of American education in the twenty-first century, I doubt you could find one better than a school that has to delay graduation in order for its undereducated pupils to graduate — and then has the nerve to claim it’s done for “fairness.”
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