Education Opinion

‘Remediation Tax’ Caused by Unearned Diplomas

By Walt Gardner — September 22, 2017 1 min read
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I’ve written before why I believe that too many students are given high school diplomas they don’t deserve. But there’s another side of the scandal (“ ‘Worthless diplomas’ cost NY kids $63 million a year,” New York Post, Sep. 124).

According to a report by StudentsFirstNY, it costs $63 million a year in remediation when these students find out they’re not prepared for college-level work. The amount is likely worse because it does not count the number of students who enter the workplace without necessary skills. Overall, 35 percent of high school graduates are not college- and career-ready. That’s an appalling number. Yet school officials in New York try to detract attention by pointing to the increase in the number of students who graduate.

A high school diploma used to mean something. It no longer has much value. Even students have expressed doubt whether they have earned what they are given. That’s one reason standardized tests are still defended. I can understand their appeal, even though I have great reservations about their fairness. They’re seen by many as a reality check. I’m glad that more students are graduating on time. But I remain deeply skeptical about what they have actually learned.

The opinions expressed in Walt Gardner’s Reality Check are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.