Washington, USA
Cog in Technological Machine
Middle-aged, middle-class, cultural iconoclast, INTP with a wife, 2 kids, 2 cats, dog, mouse, 3 gerbils, goldfish, and a growing pet cemetary in my yard. Majored in math and economics, lean toward the esoteric, dislike authority and doubt conventional wisdom. I'm rather detached, generally happy, and have a sneaky suspicion that we might not actually exist. I have a small social circle, hang with the kids and wife, golf, read, think subversive thoughts and suspect I could benefit from a mind-altering drug. I used to hang glide, suspect that in some alternate reality I have a double who is a criminal mastermind, and I can make a strange clicking noise with my tongue that I've never heard another person make.

Fins2theleft's Links
SEPTEMBER 18, 2009 4:26PM

The Apocaylpse is starting, right here in Washington State!

Rate: 2 Flag

First this:

 In order to increase graduation rates, the Seattle School District is considering LOWERING graduation requirements so that you can graduate from high school with a "D" average, instead of requiring a "C" as they currently do.

What's more laughable is that the woman heading the committee that came up with the recommendation (despite overwhelming disapproval from parents) said that they aren't watering down standards but are in fact, "increasing rigor" (whatever that means).  

And as an extra bonus, atheletes would no longer have to maintain a C average to compete in sports.


I'm pretty sure this wasn't what Obama had in mind! And in a humorous twist, opponents of the measure are calling it the "D for Diploma" initiative.  Ha!


And then in Today's Seattle Times, this totally Onion-esque headline:


Insane killer escapes on field trip to country fair


From the article: 

"Authorities have put out a statewide alert for a mentally ill killer who escaped during a hospital field trip to a county fair, leading to fears that he'll become more unstable and potentially dangerous the longer he is on the loose with no medication. "


Yup - two shining examples of my tax dollars at work!


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As a former teacher, I'm horrified by this idea. Declining expectations is never a way to improve student performance - all this will do/has done is provide students even LESS incentive to work hard.

That superintendent should be fired!
I agree - although i'm not sure if the superintendent is in fact, on board with this or not. It was a principal, in charge of some committee that came up with it an apparently a majority of high school principals in the district are in favor of it.

They SAY, that it will encourage kids to stay in school. But seriously, if a kid NEEDS that kind of encouragement are we doing them or us any favors by convincing them to take up a seat for an extra year or two?

Over the next few decades our country is going to have to compete in the labor market with the ever more educated populations of India and China. And unless we're just looking to export fast food workers to those countries, we need to RAISE the bar, not lower it.

Also, teachers only have so much time in the classroom. And if there are more kids there just taking up a seat because they think they can squeak out a D average, their taking more of the teachers time away from the kids who actually want to learn. And they're also taking away more of the school district's resources.

Do if you get a D+ you're valedictorian?

I notice that the Seattle Times has now changed the 2nd headline so that it says, "Mentally Ill" instead of "Insane".

That in itself is kind of funny and I wish I knew what prompted the change!

Maybe if you graduate with a "C" now, it's considered graduating WITH HONORS.

It should also be mentioned that about 10 years ago Washington State came up with our own standardized test, called the WASL (Washington Assessment of Student Learning) and decided that in order to graduate from High School (as of such-and-such) year you would have to pass all four parts (Math, Reading, Writing, Science) of the 10th grade WASL.

So, you could take the WASL in 10th grade, and then whatever parts you didn't pass you could try again in 11th grade, 12th grade and even arrange a special sesssion.

But as the appointed year drew closer (I think it was last year when it was supposed to go into effect) it became apparent that this requirement was going to cause a lot of kids to not graduate. And so, the issued a bunch of weasel words and got rid of the requirement before it could become any more of an embarassment.

It's interesting to note that in rich areas, like Mercer Island the percentage of students passing all four parts of the WASL is always like 90% or higher, while in the poorest areas in Seattle it is down near single digits.

This really points out the relationship between socioeconomic status and educational performance, but it doesn't exactly point out the cause and effect behind that.

But I'm guessing that in more affluent areas, parents have higher expectations for their kids, are more invested personally in their kids' educations and spend more time with their kids reading and doing homework.