Failure With or Without Tiers
The idea of a tiered diploma system is causing much teeth-gnashing in Tiverton and elsewhere. My Patch column, this week, explains the effect of the proposal and points out that a related topic really ought to be the controversy to which every School Committee meeting is dedicated:
In light of that change, a cynic (or, the cynic would say, a clear-eyed observer of Rhode Island politics) might suggest that the “certificates” are being introduced to ensure that non-proficient students receive something for their efforts, with the new diploma tiers layered in to disguise the fact that Rhode Island’s public educational system has failed to live up to its own standards. Those resisting both the tiers and the certificates are (by this interpretation) effectively playing chicken with the Board of Regents, holding them to their prior, more-dramatic regulations in order to force the Department of Education either to be lax in judging exceptions to NECAP proficiency or to postpone or scrap the current reforms altogether.
Rhode Island voters and parents should look beyond the blurry bureaucratic dances and focus on the truth behind all of the rhetorical agreements and semantic disagreements. When it comes to high scores on standardized math tests, Rhode Island trails the nation of Turkey.