What are we teaching our students when we let them suddenly care a week before the end of the quarter? If a student comes to me, after seeing the counselor, and asks me what s/he needs to do to raise their grade (after they have been turned in per the demand of the administration) from below 20% in a week, should I really do what I can to help them raise this grade?
I know I should be saying yes and I did tell the student to do all of his/her missing work and do some extra credit essays of his/her choosing, but what does this really teach the student? That it doesn't matter how many "In Danger of Failing" notices you get from a teacher and grades the teacher posts to let you know you aren't doing your work, that if you give a half-asked effort in the end you'll succeed.
What is truly more important? Getting kids their diplomas regardless of if they really learned and if they are really ready for life after secondary school or having them grasp the concepts and truly gain the knowledge we are supposed to impart as educators. I want to teach my kids not only how to pass a test the state demands they take, not only the standards of my content, and not only what I can give them through books, but what it takes to succeed at life.
When we allow students to work the system to allow for their laziness, we are doing nothing but assisting them in stacking the deck against themselves for the future.