As much as I dread school sometimes, and as much as I am horrified at the idea that when I am finished all my education I would have spent 19 years or 76% of my life in school, I value education and recognize that it is a privilege that not everyone has. It is no secret that those from families who are socio-economically advantaged fare better at school and perhaps as a result, end up attending higher-ranked post-secondary institutions. A middle school in Goldsboro, North Carolina really wants to drive that point home by offering higher grades to students who make “donations” to the school. A $20 contribution will buy the student 20 test points that she can use on two tests of her choosing. This system was obviously met by criticism, to which the principal replied that last year they tried selling chocolates and generated no money. Furthermore, Susie Shepherd argued, additional points on two tests would not make a difference in the student’s final grade. I really beg to differ on that last point. Perhaps it wouldn’t make a significant difference but higher test grades will indubitably result in a higher grade – that is how math works, yes? Furthermore, the real problem with this is not that students who make donations will get higher grades, but that they’re learning at a young age that they can buy their way to success. I think there are enough people in the world who overvalue money.
Kids are just growing up too quickly these days. Maybe I spent my high school years with blinders on but I can scarcely recall anyone with a drug problem. This is certainly not the case for a high school in Doylestown, Pennsylvania where the vice-president of the school board was recently pressured to scrap plans of subjecting random students to drug tests. Originally, students who tested positive for drugs could continue attending class but could not participate in extracurricular activities or use on-campus parking. I am sceptical of plans like this. While it is admirable that a school is taking initiative to reduce a growing problem among young adults, I doubt that drug tests would reduce the number of students who use. And to refuse their participation in extracurricular activities sounds like a great way to socially isolate students who already have a problem. Then, there’s the issue of privacy. Students go to school to learn, not to have to randomly pee in a cup. Like in almost every other situation involving minors, I blame the parents.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from fifth grade, it’s that schools really like banning things. My school banned pogs, yoyos, crazy bones, Pokemon cards, regular cards, Tamagotchi pets, laser pointers, and probably a host of other things that I didn’t notice. Danvers High School took it up a notch and banned a four-letter word that anyone who watches a certain cartoon would be familiar with: meep. No, it doesn’t mean anything new now. Teachers at Danvers High felt threatened by the repeated use of the word and the principal eventually banned the word, stating that any student who utters it will be suspended. I say that the students should replace meep with a word like “read” so that when the principal tries to ban that, they can get teachers in trouble for inevitably saying it at some point.