PD*Poll: How big a deal should we make of eighth grade graduation?

Filed under: In The News, Playground Bureau, Day Care & Education

In a time when American schools seem to be failing students in so many ways, celebrating the students who finish and graduate would appear to be a good thing. After all, as parents we all know that positive reinforcement is the key to raising successful kids. So what's wrong with congratulating kids who graduate with parties and proms and awards?

Nothing really, if we're talking about college graduation, or high school. But do kids finishing eighth grade really need to graduate?

Educators are saying no.

An article in today's New York Times looks at how eighth grade graduation has gone berserk, with students partying it up in fancy dresses and limousines. Andre Cowling, principal of Harvard Elementary, one of Chicago's worst performing schools, say that eighth grade graduation is "a big business event: everyone has on a new outfit, manicures, pedicures, the hair. And then," he said, "kids go to 5, 10 parties in the neighborhood, in hotels."

But it's not just the pampering and party hopping that causes concern; it's the sense that graduating from eighth grade is somehow the end of your education. Presidential hopeful Barack Obama puts it this way: "Now hold on a second - this is just eighth grade. So, let's not go over the top. Let's not have a huge party. Let's just give them a handshake.

"You're supposed to graduate from eighth grade."

Educators blame parents for the hoopla, saying that every year the bar is raised higher, with moms and dad hiring party planners and sending out elaborate invitations for dinner cruises and other over-the-top festivities.

What say you: is finishing the eighth grade an excuse for a big blow-out or is a handshake enough?

Is a big elaborate celebration appropriate for eighth grade graduation?
Sure -- they're graduating, let them party!38 (16.4%)
No way -- it's EIGHTH GRADE!194 (83.6%)

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.