New America Media, Commentary, Matt Amaral
Walking around a high school campus at this time of year you will notice the air floats a little lighter and the sun reflects off smiles a little brighter. Everyone is looking forward to the last day, and the mood can aptly be described as celebratory. Seniors can’t wait for graduation, teachers can’t wait to sleep in, and even the students with straight Fs are showing up again just to tighten up their game for the summer.
You also cannot help but notice all of the end-of-year celebrations. Senior Awards Night, Hispanic Awards Night, Grad Night, AVID Banquets, Band and Choir concerts, Dance Shows, Leadership Rallies, and to top it all off Graduation. Everyone is getting awards and being recognized. Students are getting scholarships and teachers and counselors are being lauded for their work with these amazing students. The only people you don’t see celebrating are, well, the students who aren’t amazing and the teachers who teach those kids.
There aren’t any Sheltered Awards Nights at my school. We don’t give out anything to the Juniors who read at a 5th grade level. And for the kids whose parents don’t make enough to feed them three meals a day, and therefore get free lunch at school, we don’t add cake to the menu at the end of the year. The sad reality is that the only teachers on campus who aren’t being recognized with balloons, and awards, and gift certificates, and thank yous, are the teachers who teach the toughest classes at our public schools.
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