Monday, May 12, 2008

Meaningless diplomas

An editorial in the Sunday Oklahoman pointed out some of the problems at Douglass High School.
Solid data is elusive, but [school principal Brian] Staples figures only about half of the students who started as freshmen four years ago will walk the stage later this month. Worse, he says, is that the school's average ACT score hovers in the 15 to 16 range. Translation: Even with a diploma in hand, many Douglass grads aren't ready for college or a decent job. That's a disgrace for which many are responsible.

"The old way of looking at high school just isn't good enough," he said. "A diploma isn't good enough. It's got to be a diploma that means something."

In debating against the New Hope Scholarship Act on March 13, state Sen. Constance "Sinking Ship" Johnson reminded her colleagues that she herself is a Douglass graduate, indeed "a proud Trojan," and acknowledged that the New Hope legislation "would impact children in eastern Oklahoma County, northeast Oklahoma City in particular, the school system of which I am a product." And yet she voted against it.

The performance in some of Oklahoma's urban schools is indeed "a disgrace." It's time to put some of these students in lifeboats.

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