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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Soapbox: Special Ed Diplomas

Arrrggghhhh!  I am going to try to be calm as I write this entry.  In my state, in my town, as in many states and towns, there is an increasing demand to hold children to high specific standards of accomplishment.  This is a good thing generally.  However it sometimes shows a lack of sense, not to mention empathy or kindness.  "Someone" decided that receiving a high school "Diploma" would require meeting specific state standards of minimum accomplishment.  Still sounds good right?

However, no one apparently thought it through in terms of those who are intellectually incapable of meeting those minimum standards regardless of effort, due to  congenital or developmental impairments.  In some committee room somewhere they decided that for those students who have tried their darnedest and worked their hardest but who still cannot achieve those minimum standards a different document will be issued.  In their infinite lack of psychology and motivation they decided to call this document a "Certificate of Attendance."  Their document certifies that the individual attended high school for four years and is finished because they put in their time, put their bodies in a chair for a series of sufficient days to earn this demeaning, demoralizing document.

I have seen kindergarten diploma certificates like the one above. I have seen elementary schools use documents, like the one at right, almost as elaborate as my college diploma. Why can't they label as a "Diploma" the certificate given these children, some of whom put in more daily effort than those receiving "real" diplomas? If they want to distinguish it from the college prep diplomas, then do so.  Make one a "Diploma with Distinction" or "Diploma with Honors" or something! New York State used regular diplomas and "Regents Diplomas" for those who qualified through rigorous standardized state tests called "regents" exams. That was more than 50 years ago!

After struggling to keep my kiddos in school until they could finish high school, I [and they] expected more than an acknowledgement of their attendance in class as recognition.  They are ostracized and isolated and demeaned enough without the administration adding insult to injury in this last parting shot.
Give them a "diploma"....          
Come up with a solution!

Anyone out there have similar problem or other solutions used in their states????

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