Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Does 8th-Grade Pomp Fit the Circumstance?

With June being well over, many parents spent the past month attending year-end events of all kinds: award ceremonies, talent shows, graduations, even chaperoning proms. To quote Barack Obama "Are we overprasing what's expected?" Do you think kindergartners, 5th graders or even 8th graders should have "graduations" or better yet "proms"!!!

Most schools including PS 161 refer to the kindergarten ceremony as a Stepping Up, basically stepping up to 1st grade. The milestone is acknowledged because many children start kindergarten not knowing how to read and write, yet they leave with increased confidence and independence. While perhaps it's cute to take the child out afterwards for ice cream, does the entire extended family need to attend this event as if this is the only graduation that this child has to look forward to? The same holds true for 5th and 8th grade - while we should reward our children for doing well, working hard and moving to the next level, the bacchanalia that is has turned to is out of hand.

The New York Times asks the same question, click here to read the article. I invite you to leave your thoughts or comments.

Having just attended an 8th grade "prom" as an observer, I think that early exposure to some rituals takes the specialness out the real deal, ie high school prom, high school graduation, college graduation. We should want our children to aim higher. So in a couple of years when my first born is in 5th grade, I think we will bypass the prom, and Mom and Dad and student will go out for ice cream and we'll save the graduation tickets for relatives for the medical school graduation!

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