High School Graduation and Beyond

       May and June is the time in the school year when we think and hear a lot of graduation.  High school and college students are graduating; completing one important life event and moving on to the next.  It's exciting, it's a happy time, it's a time to celebrate!

       As a nation, we have a lot to celebrate because we have seen a rise in the high school graduation rates over the past few years and that's a very good thing for our nation.  In the 2013 - 2014 school year, the high school graduation rate was 82.3%--an increase of over three percentage points from the 2010 - 2011 school year.

       Our society demands a workforce that is willing and able to continually learn and to use the knowledge of past learnings.  Students who succeed beyond high school are the people who understand that their ability to do a job is not dependent on the grades they earned in high school as much as it is on their desire to continually learn and to do their best.  We need thinkers and doers and believers.  While high school graduation is a big step (and an important step), it is still only one step.  Those students who were only successful in "playing school" and earning grades without any concern for learning will find it difficult to succeed in college or the workforce in places where thinking and problem solving is necessary.

       Sometimes it seems like we put too much on our schools.  We teach courses, but we also teach how to work together, how to get along with others, how to learn, how to struggle, how to accept responsibility.  No one gets a grade for these things; no one is denied a diploma for not attaining these traits.  But those that lack the ability to do these things often struggle to live in a society that doesn't always give you second chances; a place where breaking the rules have real consequences and no one is there to remind you what to do and when to do it.

       We all get one chance to make the most of our 13 years of K-12 education.  After that, the number of opportunities rise with the number of decisions.  It's not enough to do what you're told; just ask those that barely graduated high school.


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