I have never been accused of being the most informed person on the planet. As an educator, one is supposed to be a “continuous learner” and feel bad when they don’t know something, especially something in their field of “expertise”. Yet, for reasons of personal psychological health I guess, I’ve never fretted too terribly much about the seemingly infinite number of things I know zero about.
Which gets me to the modern high school.
It’s funny that I teach 8th Grade, yet have little to no understanding of what goes on at the very next institution my students will be academically imprisoned within. I do talk with quite a few ex-students currently housed in such prisons, and they tell me things. Little gossipy things, mostly, about how Teacher X is horrible and Teacher Y is great, and the “stupid” new schedule and how they have to wear special vests now to go to the bathroom.
Really, I have no idea what goes on in those places.
Take this morning, for example. Until about 17 minutes ago I had no idea that the New Mexico PED had changed the rules for graduating from its fine school system.
Students are now required to have four “units” of Math, instead of three. They now have to be proficient on their 11th Grade SBA tests (okay, I knew that already) to receive a “Diploma of Excellence”.
I still don’t know what a “Diploma of Excellence” is.
Or, if not proficient on the SBA, the student must “demonstrate competence through portfolio of standards-based indicators”.
Yup, you guessed it…I have no idea what that means either.
They must also get at least one credit (or “unit”) in an AP, honors, dual enrollment or distance learning class, have two lab Science classes instead of one, and, thusly, end up with at least 24 credit/”units” instead of the previous 23.
All of which leads me to ask…how are high schools, in this wintry economic climate, handling all the staffing/infrastructure changes necessary to implement these new requirements?
Trust me, that’s one question I’m glad I don’t have to know the answer to. I think I’ll just cocoon more deeply in the safe, delusional world of “middle school” and focus on vital discussions of whether it is discriminatory for the school to make “Nerd Day” part of “Spirit Week”, and whether teachers should be able to say “ass” or “hell” in their lectures.
Have a good, deliberately naive, weekend everybody…