"I don't want a kid who can't pass Math A to be my doctor."
"This is a comment I hear more and more everyday from teachers who have some of the really low functioning kids in their classes. They don't want to pass them because they don't want them to go on to medical school??? Just how ridiculous is a statement like this??? Passing the Math A regents or any regents for that matter is not a sign of intellectual ability. It just shows that the kid has mastered what the state deems to be the minimum requirements for a high school diploma.
Many, many years ago, the state felt that too many kids were graduating without really knowing anything, so they instituted the RCT's to show competence in basic areas. When the kids couldn't pass these, they lowered the passing grades and let everyone through. The state then decided that these RCT's weren't good enough so they decided to make everyone pass a regents. When the kids started failing these, they again lowered the standards. So, a kid today getting a regents diploma might be no better off than a kid who graduated 30 years ago without this diploma.
Back to the subject--the kids we are passing today with just the barest knowledge of high school subjects are not the ones that will go on to medical schools. They are not going to be the ones competing for admission to Harvard and Yale. They are the kids that need that little piece of paper so that they can get the job sweeping floors at UPS or managing a fast food restaurant. As far as I am concerned, my standards can be as low as the states standards. I try to teach to the top. I drive the kids crazy all semester with high expectations. But, if they give an effort, I will pass all that pass the regents, no matter how little they actually know.