Summertime, and the learning's easy

Summer is a glorious time, especially for students, who generally receive in June, July, and August a reprieve from schoolwork. For some high school pupils, though, the hotter months are a time to play academic catch-up. In New York City, for example, 7,500 seniors are wrapping up their summer classes; many of them have already passed New York State's high school exit exams and are simply making up missed coursework requirements. Jose David Bedoya, 17, routinely skipped class this past year to, according to the New York Times, "work as superintendent at an apartment building to help support his mother." This week, he'll finish his class requirements, sit for his exit exams, and "then wait anxiously to find out whether he will graduate." But while the Big Apple's summer school appears to maintain academic rigor, those in other locales do not. In Prince William County, Virginia, (suburban Washington, D.C.), high school students who have failed classes can earn their credits by taking, during the summer, a computer course that can be completed in days. Too bad. Pupils deserve second chances, but they don't deserve, or benefit from, free rides.

"Seniors See Summer School as an Opportunity to Get Serious and Graduate," by Jennifer Medina, New York Times, August 11, 2008

"School Program Puts Focus On Graduation, Not Grades," by Ian Shapira, Washington Post, August 9, 2008