the VOA Special English Education Report.
the United States, middle school is the period between elementary school and
eighth grade. Often this is a difficult period of change for children. If all
goes well, four years later, they are high school graduates.
is a term traditionally connected with high school or college. Yet there are
even kindergartens and preschools that hold "graduations." These
might be mostly for fun. But some people are concerned about the popularity of
Some families may have trouble paying
for costly celebrations organized by parents or schools. Yet they may feel
social pressure to take part.
criticism has been made for years about high school graduations and senior
proms. A prom, short for promenade, is a formal dance.
critics say that, more importantly, eighth-grade graduations may send the wrong
message -- that an eighth-grade education is enough. They are concerned
especially about poor communities where many people never finish high school.
The subject has even entered the
presidential campaign. Democratic candidate Barack Obama talked about it in a
recent speech at a Chicago church. The senator from Illinois said children
should be expected to finish high school and college. He reminded people
"you're supposed to graduate from eighth grade."
not have a huge party," he said, "let's just give them a
growing number of middle school administrators seem to agree. They are making
changes. For example, instead of graduation, some schools now call it a
James Williams is the superintendent of
public schools in Buffalo, New York. He is urging the schools in his district
to hold "moving up" ceremonies at the end of eighth grade. Families
would celebrate that students are moving up to the next level of their
school chief says graduation from high school should be the goal. And the
ceremony then, he says, should be an important, special and serious event in
parents in schools that are trying to limit eighth-grade graduations say
administrators are overreacting. They say graduation ceremonies are a good way
to celebrate success in school. And they say the recognition might make some
students more likely to complete their education.
that's the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Nancy Steinbach.
I'm Steve Ember.