The High Cost of Low Expectations
The high level of students allowed to graduate despite their poor performance is atrocious. In Mary Sherry’s essay, “In Praise of the F Word” she states, “tens of thousands of 18-year-olds will graduate this year and be handed meaningless diplomas.” (Sherry 564) Further, in Sherry’s essay she discusses the need for teachers and parents to instill a healthy fear of failure in these kids. If a child truly cannot complete the required schoolwork at an acceptable level, the educational system should fail the child. It is just the right thing to do. Graduating students who have not done strong work in school is unfair to the students themselves and it cheats the future employers of these students. Children need to have mastered the basic skills taught to them throughout their student years. According to Sherry, students who have graduated without truly earning their diplomas end up feeling cheated by the educational system later on in life. Student living conditions many times dictate how well children do in school and they may help determine if a child may be a risk for dropping out. Sherry admits in her essay that in the past, she herself has excused many of her students’ less than desirable academic skills due to poor living conditions such as drug use in the home, alcoholism, poverty, and divorce. After giving more thought to the issue, Sherry decided to look at these failing students more as personal and professional challenges. She realized she needed to stop making excuses for their failures and do something about it. Yes, poor living conditions can be a contributing factor in a student’s academic downfall but they do not have to. Children need to know that hard work equals success and that no one will allow them to just breeze through school. Children need to have a healthy fear of failure and know that failing is a real threat. Teachers can help by finding creative and interesting ways to gain their students attention and...
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