Making high school diplomas meaningless

If New York State’s Board of Regents goes ahead with the proposal to eliminate the Regents exams, it will be the last straw in destroying public confidence in the value of a high school diploma (“The push to make New York high school diplomas completely meaningless,” New York Post, Jul. 26).  These standardized exams that for more than a century were administered to students in academic subjects were a minimal check on what teachers taught and what students learned.

But because the tests didn’t result in more than 80.4 percent of students graduating, reformers want to abolish them.  Doing so will no doubt boost graduation rates, but at what cost?  There was a time when a high school diploma was a sign of real achievement.  If the Regents exams are eliminated, a diploma will cease to have any value.

When I was in high school in Long Island, N.Y., Regents exams were a rite of passage.  They measured basic skills and knowledge in such subjects as English, foreign languages, math and science.  Past copies of the exams were readily available.  In fact, I still have “Reviewing Spanish” by Amsco School Publications, Inc, (copyright 1939).  Anyone who was even a mediocre student would have no trouble passing.

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4 Replies to “Making high school diplomas meaningless”

  1. Going 100% the wrong direction. The NYS Regents exams were/are exactly the kind of standardized testing that serves the public interest while minimizing adverse impacts. The Regents scores let students, parents, teachers and administrators know how well a student had learned the material. A school’s Regents scores let voters, taxpayers, and homeowners/renters know how well students at the school as a whole were learning the material — so that the voters, taxpayers and homeowners/renters could make informed decisions re school policies and purchasing/renting decisions. But, the NYS school systems did NOT (at least in years past) use a teacher’s or a school’s test scores to reward or punish the teacher or principal.

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  2. Labor Lawyer: Regents exams were a fair way of determining what teachers had taught and what students had learned. Yet because they don’t produce the desired racial outcomes, they will likely be eliminated. It seems that anything even remotely related to merit is under attack in this country, particularly in New York City, the home of the nation’s largest school district.

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  3. Strangely, the Dem presidential primary candidates — including DeBlasio — have been largely silent re K-12 education issues.

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  4. Labor Lawyer: Mayor DeBlasio and Chancellor Carranza will destroy whatever excellence exists in the New York City system because of their obsession with engineering equal racial outcomes. Middle class parents, with few exceptions, will eventually pull their children out and enroll them in private and religious schools. Yet residents continue to elect the same type of politicians. It’s pathetic.

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