Hacking No Child Left Behind

It’s hard to describe how awesome it is to see that my former high school district is manipulating No Child Left Behind in such innovative ways.  I’m almost proud.

Basically, NCLB school evaluation in Califnornia is based on the percent of 10th graders who pass the HS Exit Exam.  It doesn’t matter if the student passes the test in a later grade; the 10th grade rate is the key statistic.  The Kern High School District has therefore taken an ‘assume a can-opener’ approach to this challenge and eliminated sophomores.  Or at least the low-performing ones.

Here’s how it works:

The Man: We have decided that you have ‘failed’ your freshman year by not earning enough units to be advanced.

You: Fuck me.

The Man: Hey! Language, please.

You: Sorry. That sucks.

The Man: Yes, well, so do your grades. Now you will redo your freshman year and make up the classes you failed so you can rejoin your class.

You: Hmph. What if I fail again? Do I stay a freshman?

The Man: No.

You: Oh. Do I become a sophomore?

The Man: No.

You: Ok…well what?

The Man: You’ll be a junior.

You: Even if I fail? Again?

The Man: Of course. We don’t want to hold you back, we just want to give you more time to succeed.

You: Wait, wait, wait. So you’re saying you’re going to keep me locked in hear for 5 years now?!

The Man: Don’t be ridiculous. If you can’t graduate in 4 years, then there’s nothing we can do to help you.

You: So how is that ‘more time to succeed?’

The Man: Well, it’s more time to prepare for the exit exam, which you won’t take until you’re a sophomore, or in your case, a junior.

You: I’m never going to take that fucking test.

The Man: We know sport.  And it’s ok.

You: What?

The Man: Well, I shouldn’t tell you this, but let’s be honest. You’re not going to pass the exit exam.  I mean, you might, eventually, but certainly not next year. Not as a sophomore. And we can’t have that. If our sophomore pass rate dives, it’s means lost funds, lost promotions, worse education for all you kids. And that wouldn’t be fair, would it? It’d be better for all of us if you just skipped next years test. I trust you’re agreeable?

You: Maybe. IF I take your test, what if I fail junior year?

The Man: Nothing! It would be unfortunate for you, but rest assured it won’t affect me, and I won’t be on your case. No one will look at that statistic!

You: You guys are gangster. I feel suddenly full of school pride.

The Man: Um, thank you. See you at freshman orientation.

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