You’re failing a class. It’s not like you’re not doing well in it. You are literally failing and are going to have to take it again next year. Your parents will be mad. You won’t be able to go to State with your basketball team. You wish you could bring your grades up, but they are too low for any new work to make an impact. Now what if there was a day where you could write a short essay or some other small assignment, and your teacher would give you a passing grade. A D-minus, but a passing grade no less. Sounds great, right? But is it really that great?
At my local high school, this is the opportunity given to students who are failing a class. But is this chance extended to other students who have a C, B+, or an A? The answer is no. So this is not like extra credit, where all students have a chance to raise their grades. It is singling out a group of students and giving them an advantage. This is unfair to all students. It is cheating students who have higher grades out of a chance to make their grade even higher. And it removes the incentive for students who might struggle with a subject to put in the effort to learn. Why would you work hard just to get a C when you could essentially do nothing all year and still pass the class?
Why then does the high school offer this opportunity? There is a single enormous effect. One fundamental change happens when a student goes from getting an F to getting a D-. The F student does not graduate or pass, but the D- student does. The result of this program is that more students graduate. This is what allows the high school to graduate 95% of their students, much higher than the state average of 88%. While being at only 30-34% proficiency in English and 25-29% proficiency in math, much lower than the state average of 43% and 41% respectively. With these proficiency percentages, the graduation rate of 95% is greatly exaggerated. This is a dishonest attempt to make the high school look like a better place to attend.
The high school should focus on getting grades up by giving students a quality education, instead of inflating graduation numbers by passing students who don’t quite grasp a concept yet. The school should not be afraid to fail students who may need another year in that subject. This would help those students to gain the full benefits of an education. The program puts all students at a disadvantage. Abolish D-minus day!