Schools and Culture — The Laying of Blame

As the class I have been tracking over the last three years prepares to enter its senior year, and prepare for graduation a year from now, I begin gearing up for the frankly onerous task of managing the complex process of making sure all students are guided properly in the vagaries of graduation credits, projects, and testing. It is spread sheet making and maintenance. I hate it; it will drive me out of this game, has little to do with counseling as I think about it, or with motivating students. The senior counselor, which I will be, is more akin to a chief accountant.

Which leads me to reflect – is this another way we enable and infantilize our students, and by extension their parents as well? We make available all the information needed for students and their parents to make informed decisions and chart their path to graduation, but the wheel has so turned that it is our fault when a mistake gets made that puts graduation in jeopardy. Granted, the ins and outs of the various rules of graduation from high school can confound those who do not deal with them regularly. But those of us in such a position live in fear of the inevitable mistake that happens where there are literally five figures of data bits that go into a high school senior class’ graduation. Angry parents, seniors in tears. It has become our fault, inexorably, and we become the focus of ire. Where was the student, where was the parent in the making of the error? Intimately involved, of course. But it is primarily our fault. The social system prescribes it. Something is wrong with this picture.

 

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