Saturday, June 06, 2009

Eighth Grade Graduation

A friendly local reporter, who is probably friendly but not local, and who isn't a reporter anyway, recently did a piece in the newspaper about the growing trend of eighth grade graduations. He was actually a columnist, one of those people who gets paid to write down what they think and always take pot shots at those people who sit in the overstuffed leather chairs in government office buildings and make big decisions. But not this time. This particular columnist took aim at the growing trend of eighth-grade graduations, and how he thinks they are nonsense.
Now, this particular columnist is African-American and he was looking at eight-grade graduation from a sort of African-American cultural standpoint, and that's okay, but the point is that he took on this ridiculous idea of the eightth-grade graduation, and so I am going to do so as well. We are going to be brothers in arms (please excuse the unintntional pun) against this practice. Are you ready?
Here's the deal, Company, you don't graduate from anything when you are done with eighth grade. No. In many commiunities you don't even move to a new school. You haven't finished anything except the eighth grade, which is just like the seventh, sixth, fifth, etc. I hate to break it to you. If you live in a school district that is having elaborate, walk-across-the-stage shirt-and-tie graduation ceremonies for its eighth graders, but is constantly crying about spending caps and losing state funding and not having money for textbooks, home school your children. Because you obviously live in a district with comically misguided priorities that is run by people who shouldn't be qualified to be teaching other people ANYTHING. Not even how to open a bottle of ketchup, okay? You find a private school somewhere, or mayber a boarding school far away. Then you would get twice as much for your money because your bratty kids would be out of your hair, and I assure you that you wouldn't have to go to their eighth grade graduation because they wouldn't have one. At the very least you need to school choice your kids the hell out of that school district because the only things they are learning is how to drool and what time lunch is.
This particular columnist whose opinion I was reading did have the sense to talk to some people who are pro-eighth grade graduation, one of whom was a teacher. That's why I like this guy, he hits all the angles. So here's what the teacher said: "With the way things are now and the new generation of kids, I think it's good to celebrate accomplishments on any level to encourage their positive behavior." Wow, now if that isn't a loaded and damning statement on today's society. But he/she makes a good point. Kids don't learn the same way now that they did back in the day. They learn to do things because they will be rewarded, not because they won't be punished. So kids today need a reason to go to school and try, other then you telling them that if they don't they are going to be ditch diggers for the rest of their lives, and not the cool kind that use big old machines to do it, the kind who are out there with a shovel with the hot sun.
Then again, to quote the great movie Caddyshack "The world needs ditch diggers too." So I guess I can see both points. And I can see both sides of the issue on this whole eighth-grade graduation. I still fall on the side that says that they should grow the hell up and not expect to get rewarded for doing the things that they are supposed to do, but I sympathize with the teachers and parents of the kids who are all about this stuff. I really liked what one school in the ridicu-district was doing. They weren't have a ceremony as such, the type at which this columnist had seen kids arrive in limos in complete formal dress, but they were doing a "recognition dinner" at the school, which I think is way more appropriate. Give the kids a special event they can only attend if they make it on to ninth grade. But let's keep it real. A little dinner, a pat on the back, and then enjoy your summer vacation. Next year you are going to be a freshman, and the seniors are already shining up their paddles. ;)

1 comment:

Mikealicious said...

I just had a conversation on this topic today with a friend. (RANT ON) I thinks it part of the whole, everyone gets a trophy everyone is a winner thinking. When I was in sports and we lost a game we did not get a trophy. We felt like crap all the way to dairy queen, then it didn't matter. What did matter was figuring out learning to lose is just as important as learning how to win. Being rewarded on things that are expected, like making to 9th grade just sets the bar too low. Why strive for greatness when you are satisifed with being a mouth breather. ( RANT OFF )