I will start by letting Debra Lynch, principal at Atlantic Coast High School, words do the talking for her.
It says right there and the implication is obvious, teachers lets get those graduation rates up or both the reputation of Atlantic Coast and your pay checks will suffer. I bet memos or conversations like this are taking place at high schools all across the county.
The pressure some teachers have told me they are put on is nearly unbearable especially for teachers not on a professional contract who are just year to year. Then to be honest with all the bending over backwards I am told teachers are required to do, I quite frankly am surprised our graduation rate isn’t 90 percent or higher.
As frustrating as this is, what is more so is the system we have set up. Schools and teachers are incentivized to do whatever it takes to have children graduate whether they are prepared or have earned it or not.
Teachers shouldn’t have to fight for bonuses, they should be paid a decent wage, and society and the media shouldn’t be so obsessed with graduation rates and instead should be obsessed with children being prepared to be contributing and responsible adults, even if it takes them a little longer to get there.
I believe the vast majority of kids at Atlantic Coast and at all our schools in fact are getting a great education, but I also believe more than a few are just being pushed out so the district can look better and schools can get higher grades. I also believe the powers that be at the Ivory tower know about this, subtly encourage it and are more than okay with it too.
Debra Lynch and our school system in general were dealt a bad hand but shame on both for worrying about reputations, rather than worrying about what is best for teachers and students alike.
Here is the full memo.