Skip

No plans, no graduation.
May 7, 2002 2:59 PM   Subscribe

No plans, no graduation. An LA County school district is forcing students to reveal their post-high school plans to participate in their high school graduation. If they refuse to provide evidence of further education or training (college, military, internship, etc.), they will not be allowed to participate. If I was a student, I'd sue. What do you think?
posted by MikeB (44 comments total)

 
"I don't know if it's going to make a difference. I think the students who were already going to college will, and the students who weren't, won't."

That's so true. Talk about putting disadvantaged kids who have to work in an embarrassing position.

Though one can make the argument that almost any job requires training, whether it be for a couple months or just a week, so I'm seeing a big loophole ready to be exploited.
posted by geoff. at 3:17 PM on May 7, 2002


i think the graduation ceremony was a long, boring waste of my time w/a speaker that provided no value. they'd be doing everyone a favor by giving them an excuse not to go. waiting through 300 people to get handed a piece of paper and my picture taken. yay! save me the hassle and mail the diploma to me.
posted by suprfli at 3:18 PM on May 7, 2002


Oh. I'd sue, and someone definitely will. Slacker discrimination. This will definitely make some lawyer's reputation.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:25 PM on May 7, 2002


I think the notion of making sure that 17-19 year olds have a cohesive plan for the rest of their lives makes no sense whatsoever. I wasn't even exposed to the web, which is where I (try) to make my living now, until I came to college. Why is everyone being so bass-ackwards?
posted by bryanzera at 3:25 PM on May 7, 2002


I don't even think it's fair to call it slacker discrimination. Sure, a college education is valued in this country, and rightfully so, but that's ridiculous saying that other people that choose not to attend college, or have other interests aren't deemed "acceptable," and they're cut off. I forgot that people are supposed to be able to make their own choices in this country.
posted by gramcracker at 3:29 PM on May 7, 2002


Three Birmingham High School seniors who wanted to be chefs recently were persuaded to take culinary courses, and a Cleveland High School student traveling in France was declared eligible because he planned to learn French.

They're not forcing anyone to really do anything, except *plan*. How is this bad?

Read the above excerpt from the article. It tells me that they're going out of their way to help students meet the requirement. It sounds like they just want to establish a pattern of setting goals in youth. I don't think that's a bad thing.

Those goals don't necessarily have to pan out: the simple act of setting them helps one get some perspective.
posted by rocketman at 3:29 PM on May 7, 2002


Sounds like a ploy to boost the percentages - from 54% to 90-95% in a year? And there are admittedly a lot of kids who just get acceptance letters to be able to participate, so, those numbers really don't say anything anymore. What if you want to take a year off? This is totally not conducive to what high school is about - it's about finishing and then deciding what you want to do.
posted by merkuron at 3:31 PM on May 7, 2002


I don't even remember the speaker at my graduation. I think it might have been another student. I would still like to be in it though.

For people who might have looked forward to Highschool as the end of the education and dreamed of graduation day, it would certanly feel like the shaft.

Anyway, kids are just going to lie about what they're doing anyway (about 40% or so anyway, post highschool enrollment whent from 54% to 95% after introducing this rule)
posted by delmoi at 3:32 PM on May 7, 2002


Sue? No. I was an excellent student. They gave me a microphone at graduation and let me give a speech. I would have done better than sue. Hopefully a student at the school in question will do the same.
posted by Nothing at 3:36 PM on May 7, 2002


Hmm...here's my question. How much of this posturing by the District has to do with state and federal aid?

Also, is there a right to perform in graduation that I'm missing, or is that completely under the school's discretion?
posted by BlueTrain at 3:36 PM on May 7, 2002


So, there's no problem with having students set some goals and plan for the future. Why are we forcing them to do it just three months before they graduate?

If you aren't planning for college, or whatever, sooner than that, your plans will likely fall through anyway.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 3:41 PM on May 7, 2002


rocketman, why the school need to know anything about your future apart from what you need to tell them to get transcripts out? This isn't a country where we're constantly asked for our "papers" for no reason. Students deserve the right to some privacy and they certainly don't deserve to be discriminated against. Heavin forbid the girl who isn't sure if she's going to school, can afford school, etc actually gets to attend her own graduation. All this is doing is encouraging lying and deception. Heh, two things you'll really need to get ahead in the rat race.

This is simply a half-assed and very inconsiderate attempt to save money on graduation ceremonies.
posted by skallas at 3:43 PM on May 7, 2002


To me, people who are not going on to college or some other formal training program are the people who deserve most to go the graduation ceremony.

The ceremony is meant to be a rite of passage of sorts. It symbolizes your moving from one stage of your life to another. The graduation ceremony is probably less significant to someone who plans to go to college than it is to someone who plans to terminate their formal education after high school -- or even to take a year off to make some money or travel or decide what to do with their life. (That "learning French" bit -- yeah, right.)

There's no way students should be forced to disclose their post-high school plans in order to participate in the graduation ceremony. It is an elitist policy. It also encourages lying. (on preview: exactly, skallas.) Finally, Ramona Ripston of the ACLU makes a great point:

"I approve of the aim, but I think it's unrealistic, because many students probably are in families that are looking forward to their children graduating so that they can get a job and help make ends meet," she said. "It would be great if everybody could go to college, but that's not always possible."

Of course, encouraging students to pursue higher education is a noble goal; this school district, however, is taking entirely the wrong approach.
posted by gohlkus at 3:44 PM on May 7, 2002


"i'm going to stay out all night and drink lots of beer" - h. simpson
posted by quonsar at 3:50 PM on May 7, 2002


quonsar, you must have read my mind.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:05 PM on May 7, 2002


This is bullshit. Since when has forcing a teenage to do anything amounted in anymore than them digging their heels in?

Rocketman: I am nearly incapable of "planning" of this sort. I simply don't operate that way, and I've tried. My "plan" during college—which I didn't complete, but I didn't want to go anyway—was to take courses I was interested in until they amounted to a major. I was obviously headed in that direction, no?
I wouldn't have bothered making something up. I've never had much interest in lying to keep other people comfortable.

Incidentally, my high school required males to wear ties for the graduation ceremony. If you didn't, you wouldn't be allowed to march down the aisle with the class to receive your diploma. Ever the master of technicalities, I wore a collarless shirt, which actually is my preference. I picked up my diploma the week after at the school office.
I was well-known at the school. During the cermony, I got to watch everyone look at me in confusion as I sat at the back of the auditorium and also refused to accept my awards, including the National Merit scholarship that sent me to college.
posted by Su at 4:09 PM on May 7, 2002


"What I did on summer vacation" -- "What I plan to do after high school". It looks like just another school project to me.

If they only installed this policy in the last couple of months, then the timing is unfortunate for this year's graduates. Otherwise, how much damage is caused by making students perform an exercise of planning for their future? They don't have to follow up; they simply have to make a plan and get some of the pieces (e.g., acceptance letters) in place that would enable them to carry out that plan.

With all the Holistic Flower-Fondling type of courses that are being taught today, this policy might even be a refreshing change: the student learns something as practical as planning for the future.
posted by joaquim at 4:15 PM on May 7, 2002


Graduation is a rite of passage in acknowledgment of knowledge gained and past deeds done. Where you go from here is of no consequence.
posted by schlyer at 4:30 PM on May 7, 2002


"The ceremony is meant to be a rite of passage of sorts"...It's not fair to deprive the kids of this, nor to encourage some of them to lie just to be allowed to attend a ceremony honoring what they did themselves. This really falls under the umbrella of big-brotherism, the government nitpicking their way into every little crevice of our lives. Taken in small enough steps it won't even be recognized as such.
posted by Mack Twain at 4:41 PM on May 7, 2002


Does going to rehab count?
posted by adampsyche at 4:43 PM on May 7, 2002


Absolutely ridiculous. Gohikus has it exactly right -- for the people who earned the degree but are not going on to higher eduction or the military for whatever reason, this is their big moment. It is elitism at its worst and completely unfair to discriminate against them because of a lack of future plans. Those are likely the people that fought hardest to get to graduation, and who are likely to be amongst the first in their families to graduate from high school at all. It really makes my blood BOIL that the school would kick that accompishment in the face by essentially saying "you're not good enough." That's not the right message at all. I hope someone does sue.

persepctive -- I graduated from H.S. at the top of my class and went on to an Ivy League school, but I was the second (after an older cousin) in my family to go to college at all. The chick next to me in line for commencement was just as proud of herself as I was of myself, and probably had more reason to be -- she completed H.S. only one year late after having had and while caring for two babies. Her whole family (including aforesaid babies) were in the audience. Who's to say her accomplishment was any less real than mine?
posted by IPLawyer at 4:54 PM on May 7, 2002


I think it's nice when a high school actually cares about the future of its graduates, assuming this high school is acting sincerely. But, I still think that the students' plans (or lack thereof) are none of the school's business.

As far as suing, there is no constitutionally guaranteed right to march in a graduation ceremony, last time I checked. Moreover, there is nothing in the law requiring the high school to even have a ceremony. Marching is a privilege, not a right.
posted by epimorph at 4:55 PM on May 7, 2002


[Heh, my grammar sucks…]
posted by epimorph at 4:57 PM on May 7, 2002


My mother would have beat the bejesus out of the school principal if my school had had this policy. My high school paper (900 in our graduating class) published everyone's college plans. It was bad enough being listed with 10 others in a big bold "NOT GOING TO COLLEGE" column, I can't imagine how furious I'd be with this compulsory bullshit stab at "youth enrichment." Now, if they were having bakesales or fundraisers to support poor students in going to college, that'd be something different...

Anyway, I'm proud I never went to no college.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 5:10 PM on May 7, 2002


Graduation is a rite of passage in acknowledgment of knowledge gained and past deeds done. Where you go from here is of no consequence.

Exactly. If I were to choose to inhabit a cardboard downtown the day after graduation, it is no business of my high school. I met the requirements for a diploma, and it is churlish to deny me the pomp & circumstance attendant to receiving it. Damned autocratic busybodies!!
posted by rushmc at 5:21 PM on May 7, 2002


Marching is a privilege, not a right.

A privilege earned by fulfilling a set of reasonable and stated requirements, not one to be dispensed on the whim of petty tyrants who delude themselves that they have been granted the shining vision of the ONE TRUE PATH in life.
posted by rushmc at 5:23 PM on May 7, 2002


Is it no graduation, or no graduation ceremony? Personally, I've yet to encounter a graduation dreaded attending. And then I was disappointed that there was not graduation ceremony at the Sorbonne or Paris II.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:30 PM on May 7, 2002


No, don't sue. There's a simple solution. The students should band together, with no one providing evidence of future plans. The school district would be a horses' ass holding a graduation ceremony with no graduates in attendance.

Remember, the students still graduate, they simply don't get to walk across the stage. The students should then organize a huge party and invite everyone who would have attended their graduation.
posted by fleener at 5:52 PM on May 7, 2002


And then the marching band is detoured into an alley, and the members of another all slip on 10,000 marbles...
posted by ParisParamus at 5:58 PM on May 7, 2002


And then the marching band is detoured into an alley, and the members of another all slip on 10,000 marbles...
posted by ParisParamus at 5:59 PM on May 7, 2002


...and sorority girls run around in their underwear while killer parade floats ream out the bleachers...
posted by metrocake at 6:19 PM on May 7, 2002


Now THAT would be a graduation.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 8:17 PM on May 7, 2002


So how long before we see this exact story line on Boston Public?
posted by ssheth at 9:27 PM on May 7, 2002


I don't see what's wrong with making seniors jump through a new hoop to attend their graduation. It's not like they could've gotten through the preceding 12-13 years without learning how to comply with numerous bureaucratic requests whether or not they made any sense.

How could this represent the first step towards totalitarian "Big-Brotherism" when anyone who got that far has been on a long forced march since early childhood?

The end result -- a 40 percent jump in the number of students making a commitment to pursue secondary education -- justifies the annoyance. Even if 2/3rds of those hassled students breaks the commitment, it's still 13 percent more students trying higher education the following fall.

As for the notion that it encourages lying, no kidding. But so does the college admissions process and any job application.
posted by rcade at 10:26 PM on May 7, 2002


As for the notion that it encourages lying, no kidding. But so does the college admissions process and any job application.

No, this is a big boldface lie. Registering for community college classes that you will never attend is not the same as exagerrating about your skills on a resume. As for lying on college applications, well that's stupider than this policy. You can't change things like GPA or class ranking and if you want to risk any of your chances of getting into your school of choice you probably shouldn't list yourself as the center of your basketball team, mathelete champ, and honor society student unless you're really are. One little verification check and you can kiss that school away.

The end result -- a 40 percent jump in the number of students making a commitment to pursue secondary education -- justifies the annoyance.

You already admited that some are lying. That big 40 doesn't sound so impressive now does it? School boards are where the well-intentioned idiots go. Here in Chicago you have to spend 40 hours doing "public service" before you can get your diploma. That means a good amount of kids get to scrub toilets and other work no one at some charity wants to do. That's exactly what my brother did. He cleaned toilets from a Catholic charity and had to staple anti-abortion handouts (he didn't like that but was already on his way to getting all his hours). I'm sure some other high school student dying to graduate passed these out to unsuspecting kids. In fact these papers were part of a college campus bait and switch. "Come to our free lunch at the Catholic center!" Yeah, you got your free lunch, but you also got your propaganda and dead fetus photos. Ugh. Nothing like free labor for the fucking marginalized.

There's no simple solution to getting kids that don't or can't go to higher education. This policy is espcially laughable in one of (or is it the only) western nation not to offer free higher education.

While I'm at now that all the local community colleges are expecting a few thousand new students who will never attend or will drop-out after the first couple weeks out of apathy, what will happen to the kid who wants to attend but finds that registration is full and most classes taken by fake students who wanted to throw their cap in the air one summer day?
posted by skallas at 1:56 AM on May 8, 2002


If the whole point of this exercise is to require students to "plan" for their future, then why don't they simply mandate a session with the guidance counselor prior to graduation, wherein said counselor explains the many options available (trades, military, college, etc). Then counselor & student sign a form that testifies to the fact that the student is aware of his/her options following graduation.
But to require students to actually begin the process of enrolling in college, or talking to a recruiter, simply in order to buffalo the school district into letting them walk the stage, is a waste of time & resources.
posted by davidmsc at 5:23 AM on May 8, 2002


That big 40 doesn't sound so impressive now does it?

As I said, even if two-thirds of them are lying or will drop out prior to the first semester, that means an additional 13 percent of the students at that school are going to college. At my high school, that would've been 169 more seniors going on to higher education.

To me, this is not appreciably different than requiring all high school students to take the SAT. The policy is irritating, but it helps combat the directionless that many of us experience after high school and encourage more people to try college, junior college, or some other vocational training.
posted by rcade at 6:54 AM on May 8, 2002


I don't see what's wrong with making seniors jump through a new hoop to attend their graduation.

Your cynicism turns even MY stomach.

People do not choose not to attend college because they "forgot to apply." The reasons people do not choose to attend college are many--social, financial, lack of interest, to pursue other opportunities, scholastic inability--but it is NOT because they are procrastinating or being willful and require some high-minded muckety-muck in their high school to bully them into applying.
posted by rushmc at 7:03 AM on May 8, 2002


As I said, even if two-thirds of them are lying or will drop out prior to the first semester, that means an additional 13 percent of the students at that school are going to college....The policy is irritating, but it helps combat the directionless that many of us experience after high school and encourage more people to try college, junior college, or some other vocational training.


rcade, why is this necessarily a good thing? "Trying" any of the options you list can involve considerable expense - which many of these students (or their parents) can ill-afford. Its possible that those who do follow through will end up with no degree and a mountain of debt. (Our downstairs tennant is fighting to defer $30,000+ in student loans for a specialized degree program she never completed and will never use, but which she now makes marginally too much money to defer.) This series of three recent NYT articles (via Yahoo, no registration required) (1), (2), (3) makes the case for this, as well as for the fact that three months before graduation is simply too late to impose this kind of requirement and actually mean it.

I have an impressive degree from a great university, which I am proud of but which cost me a fortune and which I don't really use in my "regular" job (although it does make people sit up and take notice when they see it on my C.V.). I don't regret having it, but I am also frustrated by the common American idea that "everyone" would be better off going to college. The fact is that everyone isn't better off on that road. Some people need to find their feet first, and others were simply never cut out for the journey.

I also find myself wondering if the special needs students in the class are being held to this same standard.
posted by anastasiav at 7:46 AM on May 8, 2002


How many of this extra 40 percent do you think are applying to four-year colleges to meet this requirement?

Somehow I don't think these last-minute collegegoers are getting into Stanford. My guess is that most of them are signing up for the nearest junior college or comparable institution, which isn't prohibitively expensive to try for a semester.

As for the notion that people don't "choose not to attend college because they 'forgot to apply,'" in my personal experience a lot of high school students finish school without the slightest notion of what they're going to do with their life the day after graduation.

I certainly didn't. I went to one school because my friends did, followed them back home to another, ended up at a third because it was near my first decent job, and moved to a fourth because my girlfriend was angry with our journalism department. It took me 6.5 years to graduate because I kept losing credits with each transfer.

I don't think it's stomach-turning cynicism to recognize that some of people could use an additional nudge towards college or some other career training at graduation time. The administrator who instituted the policy has been experimenting with it since 1987, according to the article. Maybe it's still around because it helps.
posted by rcade at 8:40 AM on May 8, 2002


My guess is that most of them are signing up for the nearest junior college or comparable institution, which isn't prohibitively expensive to try for a semester.

Depends on how you define "prohibitive". Here's the University of Maine, Augusta Campus as an example. UMA is a very typical community/commuter school. Yet even a 6-credit course load for a single semester could easily end up costing over a thousand dollars. Yes, sure, you can get loans to cover the immediate costs, but often that leaves students paying down the debt on a failed experement for many years. Or they default, which will also come back to haunt you.

In my personal experience a lot of high school students finish school without the slightest notion of what they're going to do with their life the day after graduation....It took me 6.5 years to graduate because I kept losing credits with each transfer.

Which exactly proves my point ... how much money would you have saved had you waited a year or two to start your secondary education until you had your feet under you and knew (more or less) where you wanted to be and what you wanted to do.

What saddens me most is that, as gohlkus so ably expressed above, "people who are not going on to college or some other formal training program are the people who deserve most to go the graduation ceremony". Graduation should be a reward and celebration for what the student has already accomplished, not a privilege taken away from those who choose not to live their post-high-school life in a certain way.
posted by anastasiav at 9:30 AM on May 8, 2002


better yet, why even bother with graduation and just force kids to go to school for 2 more years, until they're 20! and THEN they can get their diploma! and they'll be so much smarter.
posted by witchstone at 9:52 AM on May 8, 2002


I don't think it's stomach-turning cynicism to recognize that some of people could use an additional nudge towards college or some other career training at graduation time.

I would suggest that it is the student's OWN responsibility to do whatever research or seek whatever counselling he requires in order to decide what to do with the next phase of his life. It's HIS life.
posted by rushmc at 5:21 PM on May 8, 2002


Graduation should be a reward and celebration for what the student has already accomplished, not a privilege taken away from those who choose not to live their post-high-school life in a certain way.

That's what I was trying to say; you said it better.
posted by rushmc at 5:21 PM on May 8, 2002


« Older THE CITY DOES NOT EMPLOY INDIVIDUALS WHO NOW USE...   |   Rush Limbaugh whines about Ozzy Osbourne Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post