After 30 expansive and unique years in the school business here is my new theory concerning the high school diploma. Trust me, my opinion has evolved dramatically from the one held by the first year high school math teacher who trusted the conventional wisdom of “The Acceptable Failure Rate.”
Here we go…
If a student can put up with 4 years of the systemic humiliation, mindless drudgery and adult B.S. that makes up a large portion of the high school experience, then that student gets a BASIC high school diploma. Because, at the very least, that student has shown a level of persistence and has proven that he can work at a menial job with a difficult boss.
In addition to the BASIC high school diploma, I would have endorsements and/or certificates. Students could and should earn multiple endorsements and certificates. For example:
Advanced Academic Endorsements for completing advanced upper level English, math, science and social studies courses.
Advanced Foreign Language Endorsements for completing advanced upper level foreign language courses.
Fine Arts / Performance Endorsements for students performing at the top levels of fine art and athletic programs.
Career Certificates for completing industry certification requirements.
This would not cheapen the high school diploma. Instead it would validate participation and persistence while better recognizing exemplary achievements.
Think. Work. Achieve.
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