JEROME, Arizona –
A school board in Jerome, Arizona has voted to pass all students through each grade, regardless of the student’s grades or abilities, each year up to, and including, graduation senior year. The school says that it is in an effort to “decrease student drop-out rates” and “increase morale amongst the kids.”
According to the Jerome Gazette, the drop-out rate for students in their school district is a whopping 63%.
“Most kids here, they make it to about 7th or 8th grade, then they drop out. It’s really frustrating. We have good teachers but bad students, basically,” said school board president Larry Moore. “They start leaving when they realize they’ll never graduate anyway, so they’d rather start working at their fast food job then, rather than waiting and feeling sorry for themselves.”
School superintendent Florence Simms says that they decided to just start passing students regardless of their level of comprehension of a subject, and regardless of grades, so that more kids might be tempted to stay in school.
“It doesn’t matter that they know we’re passing them even if they’re completely stupid,” said Simms. “What matters is they’re staying, coming to school for the 8 hours each day, and eventually, something might sink in. I’d rather that they have a little bit more education, even if it’s just learning their times tables or how to write in cursive, before heading off to the world of work than having almost no education. Plus, we sometimes had kids who did apply themselves, and graduated for real. One with honors, even. So how does that make the rest of the kids feel? Horrible. We don’t want to hurt their feelings.”
Students seems mostly pleased with the new rule on automatic passing, saying that they are happy they will end up with an actual diploma.
“I was pretty much ready to drop out,” said 14-year-old Michael Davidson. “My dad dropped out. Grandpa dropped out. Mom dropped out when she got pregnant with my sister. Oh, yeah – my sister dropped out, too. Guess I’ll be the first one in my family to get a high school degree. Shit, maybe I can go to college now, too!”
Simms says that the program is one that she hopes other schools with high drop-out rates will consider, modeling their programs after what Jerome has done.
“It’s a real winner,” said Simms. “This year, we’ll have 14 graduates! That’s 12 more than last year. By 2035, we anticipate having a graduating class of over 200. Mostly because all these idiots who we’re passing through will be boning like mad and having more idiot kids. The cycle is strong, here in Jerome.”