Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Conditional and the Inverse
It seems there is a policy in NYC that students may not walk at graduation unless they are actually graduating. I mean, graduating in June, not in August or the following January. The students were told this. They were also told that under no circumstances would they be given cap, gown and tickets if they were not going to be permitted to walk. Not all our students are good math students and have trouble understanding the difference between a conditional and an inverse of a statement. That is, if the conditional is true, the inverse is not necessarily true and just because the student is given a cap and gown does not mean that they will be allowed to walk. One poor student found herself in this situation. Suzie. a sweet hard working young woman is not one of our sharper students. She worked very hard this year and walking at graduation meant everything to her and her family. She was told that she was missing a credit and could not participate in the ceremony. However, she was given all the graduation paraphenalia and assumed, albeit incorrectly, that she would be allowed to walk on stage. Her mom (in a wheel chair), along with various family members proudly attended the ceremony. Suzie's guidance counselor, Mr. X, spotted Suzie in the audience from his spot on the stage and had her removed from the auditorium. Poor Suzie was distraught, as was the rest of her family. The school made the mistake of letting her think everything was going to be okay. The only thing accomplished by having her removed was to embarrass her and her family and to drive her further and further from wanting an education. The mistake was made. Who knows who is really at fault? Was it the poor kid and her family? Was it the guidance counselor who didn't advise her early enough of the courses she needed to graduate on time? Was it the math teacher who didn't emphasize the difference between the conditional and the inverse of a statement? Is it the person who issued her graduation material? Why is she the only one to suffer any consequences?