Sunday 20th January 2019

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Can You Read Your Diploma?

January 30, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By MIKE MANNO

Several years ago, while still teaching college, I usually tried to arrange the semester schedule to include at least three tests, and if the subject lent itself to it, a research paper. That should be enough, I reasoned, to evaluate each student’s understanding of the material.
Not wanting to be an overly demanding professor, and since my students were mostly non-traditional and held jobs and supported families, my tests were usually multiple choice and the questions were taken right from the textbook; sometimes I would intersperse the test with a few short answer questions, but by and large, they were designed so that any student who read the textbook could answer them.
Thus students with extensive family or job considerations who could not make all the classes were not seriously disadvantaged.
One of my teaching tools was to go over each test with each class after the tests were corrected. I would start at one corner of the room, ask the student to read question one, give his answer and why. We would usually take an entire class period for that and I found it to be an extremely helpful teaching tool, since every student had the opportunity to challenge the “correct” answer, and, at times, I found a question misleading and would adjust scores accordingly.
At one point I was offered a job teaching a business law class at a local community college. It was first thing in the morning three days a week, and, unlike my “adult” students, this was populated with younger students, most of whom had just graduated from high school within the last year.
Things went smoothly until the first test. We had good classroom discussions; they laughed at my jokes, and many would stay after class with questions. Well, most of them. Many had done well, but a significant number only barely earned a passing grade, and much of that was due to a very lenient curve. I was baffled as to how a number of the students didn’t seem to be catching on.
Then I found out. It came when we were going over the test.
I started at one corner, asked the first student to read the first question so we could discuss the answer. He couldn’t read the question. Oh, he tried and came close to some of the words, but it was clear to me that he could not read at college level and I wondered how he had passed out of high school. And he wasn’t alone; a number of the students — those with the lowest grades — had the same difficulty.
It taught me something that day. While my adult students had, in one way or another, achieved a reading proficiency for college, a significant number of my morning students had not. I considered the matter, came to no earthshaking conclusions, but adjusted the class a bit to help the poorer students catch up and referred some to the reading lab for individual tutoring.
Since that time I’ve visited with numerous other college instructors who had come across the same or similar problems, but we all seemed to find a way to get the students through the rough time and on to a hopefully more successful academic career. So with the foregoing in mind, I was immediately attracted to news reports about the Washington, D.C., schools.
Townhall, The Washington Post, OneNewsNow, and NPR, among others, are all reporting on a continuing scandal gripping the D.C. school district. There, the mayor, chancellor of schools, and other local officials are feigning outrage that District high schools are graduating seniors who are functionally illiterate, unable to read, and have missed up to half their high school classes.
It was only a few months ago that the school system was trumpeting that every one of the seniors at Ballou High School, a notoriously underperforming school, had a 100 percent graduation rate and — get this — every student had been accepted to college. Now, however, the true story is emerging.
NPR reported that half the “graduates” missed more than three months of school and that one out of five students was absent more than present. One teacher quoted said that while students were chronically absent, the gym was always full — of students skipping classes. NPR and WAMU also reported that in April, just two months before graduation, only 57 students were on track to graduate, yet in June 164 students crossed the stage to receive their diplomas.
The culprit at Ballou, and other schools in the District, seems to be a permissive attitude of school administrators who pressure teachers to provide passing grades to students, regardless of whether or not they are earned, and to ignore school policy that requires teachers to fail students who miss class 30 times; and students missing 15 or more days without an excuse were to be referred to court services for possible truancy.
Last year Ballou only referred 25 seniors to court services and, according to the NPR report, all but 11 of the 164 graduates should have been so referred.
There was also a financial incentive for teachers to cooperate with these high jinks. Under district policy, teachers were graded on student evaluation scores and could receive bonuses of between $15,000 and $30,000, according to the NPR report. Additionally, teachers who complained were often given bad performance reviews that led to their termination, and hindered them from finding a new teaching position.
Needless to say, these problems were not limited to Ballou. Townhall reported that “students across the city graduated despite having missed more than 30 days of school in a single course, findings from the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent investigation found.”
Of course excuses abound. Chancellor Antwan Wilson, head of the District’s school system, says that schools can’t ignore other things going on in student lives such as family responsibilities, jobs, and the “effects of trauma.”
And D.C Mayor Muriel Bowser was “shocked” that students were given the lesson that they can move on without effort. She told Townhall, “Our biggest responsibility is knowing that showing up half the time doesn’t work anywhere in life. The huge investments we have made in our schools only work if students are sitting in the seats.”
Adding, “I hold the chancellor accountable.”
This is not new in the D.C. system. Less than a decade ago it was found that teachers were caught helping students on standardized tests, since a financial incentive was also available to teachers when students did well on the tests. And more recently, it was reported that the mayor herself had manipulated the school placement lottery, which awards coveted placement in the public schools, so that her deputy mayor, Courtney Snowden, could enroll her child by jumping the waiting list of over 1,000 names.
The bottom line is that this represents more civic corruption that is costing taxpayers millions of dollars and is only benefiting a small number of — do we call them cronies? In this case teachers and administrators who will do as they are told, collect their bonuses, and go on with their lives while condemning the next generation to ignorance and illiteracy, much as the public pension planners I wrote about two weeks ago (“Taxation Migration,” January 18) who have cheated both pensioners and taxpayers but have made out well themselves.
As I mentioned before: Voters need to pay attention to these offices. If not, we’ll sadly find that their rosy promises will come with all too many thorns.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Wow—first, Dreamers shafted by Obama, who enforced DACA w/o congressional approval & failed to ensure them a permanent path to citizenship, and now they’re left hanging by Pelosi & her ilk. Maybe Dems don’t care about them as much as they pretend to?

BBC Breaking News on Twitter

“Trump offers Democrats deal on immigration in bid to end shutdown but top Democrat Pelosi calls it "unacceptable" https://t.co/edz3WEREm3&#8221...

twitter.com

it is striking how so many advocates of abortion in public life cling to their frayed fabric of fantasy and repeat the mantra — “I’m personally opposed but. . . .” https://t.co/TwIrf7G6GT

Load More...

Priest gives pulpit to homosexual partners to share ‘witness’ story prior to Sunday Mass

Update Jan. 18, 2019: St. Joan of Arc pulled the video this morning of the two homosexual men giving their pre-Mass presentation. We are now using a source for the video provided by Complicit Clergy.  MINNEAPOLIS, MN, January 17, 2019…Continue Reading

China’s crackdown on Christians continues

Beijing, China, Jan 15, 2019 / 02:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A campaign by the Chinese government to ‘Sinicize’ religion is ongoing, with detention and indoctrination of Muslims in the far west of the country, and the closing of underground churches…Continue Reading

Cdl. Wuerl will not celebrate youth Mass prior to March for Life

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 16, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Embattled Cardinal Donald Wuerl will not celebrate the Archdiocese of Washington’s January 18 Mass for Life, which is scheduled to occur before the annual March for Life. Instead, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to…Continue Reading

Support Archbishop Viganò on his 78th birthday!

January 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, turns 78 years old today. Born in northern Italy, Archbishop Viganò was ordained to the priesthood in 1968. He spent the next several…Continue Reading

Cdl. Burke: Pope Francis’ response to abuse crisis is ‘more confusing than anything’

January 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke told German TV in a January 8 interview that Pope Francis’ response to the abuse crisis is “confusing.” Cardinal Burke stated that Pope Benedict was “very clear on this [matter of abuse],”…Continue Reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Trashes Pro-Life People: You’re “Not in Line With Society”

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s radically pro-abortion prime minister, blasted pro-life advocates Wednesday amid a nation-wide outrage about barring pro-life groups from a federal grant program. “An organization that has the explicit purpose of restricting women’s rights by removing rights to abortion,…Continue Reading

Cardinal’s trial puts French Church in glare of Catholic abuse scandal

The Roman Catholic archbishop of Lyon goes on trial on Monday charged with failing to act on historical allegations of sexual abuse of boy scouts by a priest in his diocese. Cardinal Philippe Barbarin is the highest-profile cleric to be…Continue Reading

Trudeau to issue new coin commemorating decriminalizaton of gay sex

OTTAWA, January 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau has granted the Royal Mint permission to release a new one-dollar coin designed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his father’s decriminalization of homosexuality. Trudeau’s government approved the coin…Continue Reading

CARDINAL CUPICH KEYNOTE SPEAKER FOR DISSIDENT PRIESTS’ CONFERENCE

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (ChurchMilitant.com) – Cardinal Blase Cupich is slated to be the keynote speaker at the annual conference for a notorious dissident priests’ organization. The annual assembly of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP) will take place in June 2019, and…Continue Reading

Vatican spokesman, deputy, resign over strategy differences

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The Vatican spokesman and his deputy resigned on Monday over disagreements on strategy, ending a year of upheaval in the Holy See’s communications structure. A brief Vatican statement gave no reason for the resignations. Spokesman Greg…Continue Reading

Chinese city bans public displays of Christmas, cites ‘clean city’ as reason

LANGFANG, China, December 19, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A city in China has issued a sweeping ban on Christmas-related decorations, public celebrations, and advertisements, claiming it’s necessary to keep the city clean for an upcoming awards contest. Christmas is not an…Continue Reading

Priest: Pro-LGBT rainbow rosary promoted by Fr. Martin ‘comes from the pit of hell’

December 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – During a radio interview about the pro-homosexual “social justice” rosary that Fr. James Martin has been promoting, Fr. Donald Calloway prayed for Martin’s “radical conversion” and that the Jesuit might “repent of the things he has…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Pope Francis issues decree suppressing ‘Ecclesia Dei’

ROME, January 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – As had been anticipated for several weeks, Pope Francis has formally suppressed the pontifical commission charged with keeping traditional Catholics united with the Successor of Peter, and has transferred its duties to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). In a “motu proprio” signed on Jan. 17 and released today (see full text below), the Pope decreed that the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei be abolished, but that all of its work “of vigilance, promotion…Continue Reading

Trump promises to veto any abortion legislation in March for Life address

trump

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In a surprise appearance, President Donald Trump addressed pro-life advocates at the 2019 March for Life, telling them that “every life is worth protecting” and that he will veto any legislation that crosses his desk that “weakens the protection of human life.” “Today, I have signed a letter to Congress to make clear that if they send any legislation to my desk that weakens the

How to watch March for Life 2019 LIVE

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Today, marchers will gather on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for a series of speeches and music before marching to the Supreme Court building, where Roe v. Wade forced all 50 states to allow abortion in 1973. EWTN is offering live coverage of the 20

Vatican: Abuse summit to help bishops know ‘what they need to do’

Vatican City, Jan 16, 2019 / 06:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Just over a month ahead of the much-anticipated February meeting on sex abuse, the Vatican said the summit’s goal is for bishops to leave the meeting knowing clearly what it is they need to do to stop the abuse of minors. According to a statement by papal spokesperson Alessandro Gisotti Jan. 16, the February meeting “has a concrete purpose: the goal is that all of…Continue Reading

Archbishop Viganò urges McCarrick to publicly repent in new open letter

ROME, January 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — With a tone of fraternal and priestly charity, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has written an open letter to former-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, encouraging him to publicly repent of his sins and thus to save his soul. In the brief letter, dated January 13, 2019 and published in English and Italian (see full text below), Archbishop Viganò has also sought to persuade McCarrick that he has a unique opportunity to greatly benefit the Churc

Advertisement(2)

Is Bolton Steering Trump Into War With Iran?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN “Stop the ENDLESS WARS!” implored President Donald Trump in a Sunday, January 13 night tweet. Well, if he is serious, Trump had best keep an eye on his national security adviser, for a U.S. war on Iran would be a dream come true for John Bolton. Last September, when Shiite militants…Continue Reading

Pope To Diplomats . . . Remember Transcendent Dimension Of Human Persons

By HANNAH BROCKHAUS VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) — Upholding the dignity of the human person and the rule of law are essential for good politics, Pope Francis said January 7 to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See. Such politics promote the common good and establish and maintain peace between nations, he said, by…Continue Reading

An Answer To A Sedevacantist Wannabe

By FR. JOHN T. ZUHLSDORF (Editor’s Note: Someone who is “seriously considering adopting some form of sedevacantism” wrote recently to Fr. John T. Zuhlsdorf, and Fr. Z posted his reply on his January 7 blog. The question and answer are reprinted here with permission.) + + + Quaeritur: Father, I’ll get straight to the point:…Continue Reading

Critics Warn… New Mexico Bill Could Allow “Suicide Tourism”

SANTA FE, N.M. (CNA/EWTN News) — Proposed legislation in New Mexico could legalize assisted suicide in the state, and may even allow for the prescription of deadly drugs outside the state via telemedicine, and by health-care professionals other than physicians. Deacon Steve Rangel, associate director for the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the…Continue Reading

The Case Against The Sign Of Peace At Mass

By REY FLORES O Lord Jesus Christ, Who said to Your Apostles: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give you,” regarda not my sins but the faith of your Church, and deign to give her peace and unity according to Your will: Who live and reign God, world without end. Amen. — At…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Theological Virtues — Charity

By DON FIER As we reflected last week on Pope Benedict XVI’s brilliant critique of the crisis of hope in the modern world as set forth in his 2007 encyclical Spe Salvi (SS), we saw that for many, “hope in the Kingdom of God has been displaced by hope in the kingdom of man, the hope of a better world…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. It is my understanding that if a priest is removed from active service, the bishop continues to support him financially. Am I right? Is there a similar obligation if the priest is laicized? I would suppose there is no such obligation of support if the priest decides he doesn’t want to be a priest anymore and walks away. Does…Continue Reading

His Bride Is The Church

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Isaiah 62:1-5 1 Cor. 12:4-11 John 2:1-11 In the readings for the past three weeks, the Church has given us the three traditional events which manifested our Lord’s divinity. The word Epiphany means manifestation. These manifestations took place thirty years apart, but were celebrated together because they point…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… The Wall And Abortion: No Moral Equivalency

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The March for Life event each January draws thousands of pro-life Americans to Washington, D.C., to witness for the weakest and most defenseless among us, preborn boys and girls who cannot speak on behalf of the sacredness of their lives in the face of legalized abortion which, in some cases, threatens their existence at every…Continue Reading

The Authority Of Bishops . . . The Hierarchy Of Orders In The Catholic Church

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 8 It is a well-known fact that the Church today is going through a crisis, especially in faith, as can be seen as early as 1985 when Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger allowed the publication of The Ratzinger Report. I believe that Benedict XVI was the only Pope in Church history whose mind was already well-known…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. John Calabria

By CAROLE BRESLIN St. Teresa of Calcutta answered a call within a call by founding the Missionaries of Charity to help the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, India. Soon her apostolic endeavors to serve the most destitute of persons spread throughout the world, while she said that the greatest poverty is in the West where people do not know…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Of Egypt, Abbot

By CAROLE BRESLIN While we can understand that God is infinite, it is difficult to comprehend the stretch of such infinity. Certainly our finite minds cannot begin to comprehend it. Hence, since our minds are finite, the more we have cluttering our minds with worldly affairs such as possessions, relationships, and activities, the less time and room we have in…Continue Reading