Feb 21, 1998
In the continuing saga of The (lack of) Education System:
A couple weeks ago a Denver high-school teacher brought charges against the school board. He claims that he was told to give less 'F's, to lock several students' grades at their current level (even with weeks left in the course) and other similar things. He says that many other teachers have been asked to do the same things. Now, I know graduate schools had long ago dropped the idea of actually failing students, but I didn't know high-schools were taking it up. (The graduate schools I'm talking about include Ivy League ones. Their reasoning is basically that a student is paying a LOT of money to be here, and we want money, so let's keep him here regardless.) Freezing grades is a fairly standard policy in certain cases; such as where an injury or illness prevents the student from attending the last week or so of school. In the specific cases mentioned, these were students who simply stopped attending class a month or two before the end of the semester. Of course the school boards are denying this, saying the freezing was standard policy and that any teacher who has a large number of failing students is worked with to try and find out what the problem is. This is being look at, and I'll put up results if they happen anytime in the near future. I personally believe the teacher, since I've had a bit of experience at public schools. For instance, at the local high school not a single one of the cheerleaders are actually eligible to be cheerleaders, because of poor grades. Oh, but the football team needs to be cheered on. What? Not enough eligible kids to make a team? Well, forget about eligibility, we've got a chance at the State championship. Okay, I'm exaggerating the last part a bit. I think. I haven't talked with the coaches to find out.
Colorado, shocked by the fourth grade assessment test, is still trying to figure out what to do. Governor Romer has proposed an interesting idea, namely that students are not allowed to graduate until they can meet standards on a reading, writing, and math test. It's a good idea, in general, even though no one has mentioned exactly what the standards will be. The biggest problem is the level of standards they're currently talking about. They want to use 10th grade standards. Anyone else find a problem with this? "Oh, you're only two years behind where you should be. Sure, you can graduate." This makes me wonder what standards were used for the fourth grade assessment... Did we find out that half our fourth graders can't read to a second grade level?
I do have a way to tie this in a bit with the latest
Daria episode, "Arts 'N Crass," so I will. I'm sure you remember the
scene where Mr. O'Neill calls Helen's office. Helen says "Tell them
I'll make sure Quinn turns in the assignment on monday; oh, and try
to find out what the assignment is, okay, and maybe you can get started
making a few notes on it." This is exactly what my mother would do
if she had an assistant. For me, nothing like this was necessary,
but a recent project of hers makes me want to bitch about this whole
thing. My mother thinks my little brother is a genius. He's not. Average?
Perhaps, but I hope not. He's been getting poor grades on writing
assignments, and my mother doesn't like it. There's not much she can
do about it, since he really can't write, and even she acknowledges
this. So, instead of teaching him to write, what does she propose
to do? She's been asking for my help in picking out a new computer,
so that she can get a voice-recognition system for him. How many of
you have parents like this? I hope none of you, but from the state
of our schools, I don't believe it for a second.
One of these days I may put up a story about my school experiences. In the middle of sixth grade, we moved to a new town, and I went from a good private school to a typical public school, so I have a very good (and very dim) view of the difference.
Let me finish with a poem:
There once was a pretty good student,
"The Osgood File," copyright 1986, CBS Inc.