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Working students, the teacher reported, and her colleagues agreed, are a major problem at Sherman High. Perot said he had heard the same thing all over the state. Students work late into the night, not to help support the family, but to buy a car. It’s the parents who give tacit permission by co-signing the note for a car loan, a principal pointed out, and too often they have no more respect for education than their children. It was not uncommon, the English teacher said, for teachers to build a day’s lesson around a homework assignment, only to have one or two students come to class with the assignment completed. “I don’t think the majority of them have to work,” she repeated. “They do it for the money.” Perot thought out loud about keying the receipt of a drivers license to grades; an A student, in other words, might be able to get a drivers license a year earlier than less accomplished peers. He also wondered if the twelth grade was necessary. “Or should we cut it out and put that money back into kindergarten and first grade and get a better return on our investment? All around the state I hear complaints about twelth-graders going to school an hour a day and just hanging around the rest of the time.” Not in Sherman, the English teacher assured him; her colleagues around the table agreed. Will Davis, state board of education member, asked the English teacher, “What would you teach that bored, apathetic kid in English?” “The basics,” she said, “literature and everything, but I want to tell him why, and maybe that’s the key: why we’re teaching him what we’re teaching.” “Aren’t there too many kids in the ninth grade who can’t read?” Davis wanted to know. “If they can’t read, won’t they be listless?” The teacher agreed. “You’re getting 25 % from the eighth grade who aren’t reading. Why are you getting them?” Davis asked. There were nervous laughs around the table; for a moment no one answered. “We have social promotion, and we’ll always have it,” Superintendent Wendell Hubbard said, “because we don’t want a 17-year-old on the third-grade level. . . . We have a custodial responsibility, and we do a very good job of it.” Carl Parker, who heads the Senate Education Committee, wanted to know what kind of certificate, or diploma, the “less-than-proficient” student gets. The same as everyone else, Superintendent Hubbard told him. He said he would like to change that but can’t because of Texas “That’s wrong,” Davis said, explaining that there were no such TEA requirements. “I resent the term ‘social promotion’ in the first place,” Hubbard continued. “There are kids who don’t have the ability to learn. We hold them two years and then pass them on.” “Not special education?” Davis asked. “Right.” “Why can’t he learn?” “Because he doesn’t have the ability to learn.” “Is there anyone on this panel who does not believe that the state should commit more resources to education?” “The reason why we’re having so much trouble persuading folks out on the street and people down in my district who raise hell about raising taxes is you’re committing a hoax on the public by giving a student who can’t read the same kind of diploma as everyone else. We will have to show taxpayers we’re making a substantial improvement in the product we’re certifying as educated. . . . Let’s get really innovative. How do we deal with it?” A middle-school principal pointed out that without social promotion, he would have twenty 15and 16-year-olds in his -school who would rather be elsewhere. “You’ll be spending a disproportionate amount of your time with these students who don’t want to be there,” he insisted. . . . “We pass them on to the high school.” Conceding it’s not the best solution, he suggested that changes in compulsory attendance laws be considered. \(Perot: “In San Antonio we’ve got a 21-year-old selling mixed drinks out of the trunk of his car. He’s not about to leave school cause he’s making a fortune at lunch.” Parker: “I thought you were A business teacher who formerly taught vocational courses told the committee that vocational teachers also had concerns. Under Rep. Bill Haley’s cursuggested, “students have to take so many required classes, they’re not allowed to bloom out and take vocational courses they’re interested in. 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