Marlin, Texas is a small town of about 5,500 population located southeast of Waco.
It’s appears that Marlin is a sleepy little town with an equally somnolent high school administration.
The crack professional educators at Marlin High School were busy preparing students and parents for the upcoming May graduation ceremony when someone decided it might be a good idea to run a head count on how many seniors would be receiving diplomas.
The result was an unpleasant surprise.
While many senior’s families would be receiving bills for graduation gown rental, graduation photos and graduation announcements, only five seniors would actually be receiving a diploma. That’s five out of a graduating class of 33.
This raises a number of questions for us.
Beginning with, shouldn’t the school administration have been keeping a graduation head count during the whole year, rather than waiting until the very last minute?
With an administration that incompetent, it’s not really surprising that only 15% of the senior class met graduation requirements.
National Public Radio (NPR) interviewed Marlin ISD Superintendent Darryl Henson and found, "a review of attendance, grades and credits found that only five out of 33 seniors initially met graduation requirements.
"The school tried to work with students and was able to help an additional 12 students resolve missing credits and other issues as of Wednesday evening."
That "work" was the panicked statistical records massaging that occurred when the graduation shortfall was first discovered.
Suddenly a galvanized school staff discovered to their dismay that emergency record alteration, affirmative grade crediting and finessing the rules can only do so much with a deadline bearing down.
The graduation ceremony was postponed until June.
As NPR described it ". . .despite their efforts, it was not enough and the district put out the statement to families about the graduation postponement to provide more time for students to meet necessary requirements for graduations, many of whom did not meet requirements due to attendance or grades."
With the school year complete, it is difficult to see how students, and we use the term loosely, can make up for class time that was missed.
Will they be forced to attend a weekend make-work class where attendance counts double or triple?
The same goes for grades.
How will failing students improve grades in a class that is over?
The superintendent gives us a hint. In a tweet he explained, "it's our obligation to ensure that all students have met all requirements."
We take that to mean the students can continue on their apathetic, disinterested way — along with their parents who appear to be as clueless as the school administrators — while the administration will use the delay to continue watering down graduation requirements until enough bodies qualify to make preparing a graduation facility worthwhile.
This is all too typical of government (read public) school failures. It comes in the same month the so-called red state Texas legislature failed to pass school choice legislation that would have allowed parents — who want their children to escape teenage daycare centers like Marlin High School — to take their children out of a failing government school and be able to afford a private school option.
Legislators are too dependent on teacher union money and teacher union volunteers to give a damn about the students trapped in failing public schools like Marlin High School.
Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere speaker's bureau. Read Michael Reagan's Reports — More Here.
Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher for the League of American Voters, and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian's Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)" Read Michael Shannon's Reports — More Here.