Graduation Time: Another Reminder of the Politicization of Graduation

During Public Comment at the May 21 School Board meet­ing, a mother ap­peared to com­plain about the fact that her son would not be al­lowed to walk in the grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony for his high school, be­cause the re­sults of the lat­est round of exit ex­ams won’t be known un­til af­ter the grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony. Our school dis­trict is un­usual in re­quir­ing pas­sage of the exit exam and not just com­ple­tion of the re­quire­ments for grad­u­a­tion.

I have writ­ten be­fore about the his­tory of this pos­tur­ing by our School Board on this is­sue. I ac­tu­ally sup­port try­ing the exit exam as a re­quire­ment for re­ceiv­ing a diploma. In fact, I think the re­quire­ment should be ex­tended to pri­vate schools for fair­ness and to get in­for­ma­tion on com­par­a­tive stu­dent achieve­ment in all schools. What I don’t be­lieve in is us­ing the grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony as a way to rub things in. Students who ful­fill the re­quire­ments for grad­u­a­tion are grad­u­at­ing with or with­out a diploma. In some cases, the stu­dents who are be­ing banned from grad­u­a­tion cer­e­monies missed the exit exam thresh­old by a few points and may very well pass it in the last round of ex­ams.