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Shouldn’t a high school diploma carry meaning?

July 26, 2012
Gary Andersen, Lee Smith , Fairmont Sentinel

Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius has put together a task force to address a rather alarming problem: Thousands of state waivers going to students who would not have received their high school diplomas without them. The students repeatedly failed Minnesota's math graduation test. At some schools, as many as one-third of students need the waivers to graduate.

While we applaud Cassellius for trying to address the problem, we are concerned about the fundamental attitude of those - like her - who have been handing out the waivers to begin with. Cassellius says:?"You cannot just deny diplomas. There needs to be a Plan B solution."

Well, you could deny diplomas. That could be Plan B. Yes, employers generally require that applicants have at least a high school diploma, but they will also accept a General Educational Development (GED) certificate. If the worry is that denying students diplomas will cut them out of the job market, why not put the onus on the student? They can keep working to pass the math test, or they can complete the GED coursework on their own.

We cannot understand why it is necessary for the state to corrupt its own educational system by instituting a lie about the aptitude of some graduates.?Diplomas cease to have meaning if they do not represent an actual level of accomplishment.

If the state wants to continue granting waivers, it should stamp a big asterisk on the diplomas of those students who get one. That way, employers will know which kids actually achieved something and which kids received the nanny-state seal of approval.



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