Monday, December 15, 2008

I don't know what's more disheartening

Grade 'H'?! More Schools Flunk the 'F' in which we read of the Grand Rapids schools doing away with the "F". I don't know what's more disheartening: that the Grand Rapids superintendent actually believes the fertilizer that's being spread, or that so many comments on the thread agree with him.

"Oh there are lots of intelligent people who don't get good grades." Yes, they're called exceptions to the rule.

We need to do more to signal the students that we care." It's called tough love. Telling the students that they can never fail makes them believe that theirs are lives of entitlement, e.g., "I deserve to pass because I'm a student."

For the record I hate incompletes, which is the functional equivalent of the "H". In my experience only a few of the students bother to follow through with the work. I dread to think of the pressure public school administrators will put on teachers to let students "make up" the work. Most students are bright enough to do the work, they just need to be held accountable from an early age. By the time they get to high school, however, many have indeed fallen through the cracks and have become so thoroughly conditioned that they won't work or make an effort. Don't get me wrong: any good teacher will recognize a student who wants to learn and will do whatever it takes to record the fact that the student did learn, including (on the college level) incompletes. What Grand Rapids proposes is the short path to making it the status quo and not the exception. Therein lies the road to perdition.

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