Skip to comments.THE "F" FACTOR
Posted on 12/08/2008 4:48:31 AM PST by andrew roman
From the makers of "No More Red Pens in School" and "Don't Call Me Washington - Call Me Slave Owner," comes the newest creation from the fabled partnership of Sensitivity and Esteem (formerly Multiculturalism and McCartney) - the latest feel-good initiative from today's fraternity of whinycrat educators, called "No More Fs."
In Grand Rapids, Michigan, a new approach to handling failing high school students is being implemented - and even the Teachers union isn't sure about it. It involves the removal of the dreaded "F" grade from report cards in favor of a more accommodating (and less judgmental)"H" grade.
School Superintendent Bernard Taylor says that educational standards are not being compromised in any way. Rather, students are given "the opportunity to meet standards when they go astray."
From the Grand Rapids Press:
"Students who performed poorly will see an "H" for "held" and an opportunity to make up the work and earn a passing grade by the end of the next trimester. Teachers union leaders argue the change is another late-marking period scramble to boost sagging scores and undermines their ability to get students to show up and work hard all trimester. ...
Taylor said the move is part of the district's evolving "Success Only Option" that calls for offering students multiple opportunities and methods to demonstrate they know class material. ...
About 2,400 failing grades were converted to "held" grades for the trimester. Students will have the option of repeating the course, taking it as an online class on Saturdays or evenings and working with tutors.
My first reaction: 2400 students failing? That's pretty ... telling.
Second, when I find myself agreeing with Teachers union leaders, I need to be sure someone hasn't sprinkled a hallucinogen into my iced coffee.
Third, the "Success Only Option" may make for good banner fodder, but its basis in reality is minimal.
Because standards are almost always compromised when attempting to reduce the number of failures and dropouts in school without taking into account changes that may need to be affected with teachers, methods and curriculum. This case is no exception.
If teachers cannot sufficiently elevate large numbers of students to meet existing barometers, then it is perfectly reasonable to ask: Is it best to weaken the standard? If so, then exactly how does this prepare a student for real life?
Mr. Taylor may assert that standards aren't being lowered with the new "H" grade, but he is wrong. The standard is not only in the grade achieved, but in the peripheral requirements of the given task. Considerations such as getting the work done in a timely manner by meeting deadlines, working with tutors (if necessary) and adhering to specific course guidelines are all as important as the actual material itself.
School is supposed to (in large part) prepare students for the real world - not serve as agents of esteem and confidence building. The "Success Only Option," with its multiple opportunities for "re-tries," robs students of an essential component of becoming successful - the ability to fail and correct.
In the larger scheme of things, this wiping out of the "F" factor is more an indictment of the underlying message being sent to students - that meeting the standards as required isn't an imperative because they are probably not capable of doing so anyway.
Not to worry, of course ... if at first you don't succeed, so what? Try and try and try and try again.
Does that mean that students must fail?
Of course not.
There are plenty of classrooms in this country where children do not fail. The key is to strive to uplift the student through achievement rather than dumb down the standards by making it easier for them to falsely succeed.
Does this mean students should not be afforded second chances on occassion?
Of course not.
In life, second chances do occur, obviously.
But there are times - and plenty of them - when "do-overs" and "try-agains" just won't happen. For instance, no matter how much I would like to change the reality of the situation, the New York Mets will not have a chance to "unchoke" the 2007 season, nor will they be afforded the chance to undo the loss that eliminated them from post-season contention on the last day of the season in September.
They can only hope to do better next time. (Met fan phlegmy cough)
Children are so conditioned to just feel things that the ability to critically think and learn is under developed. They are oftentimes not prepared for failure because of the ill-conceived and counter-productive self-esteem movements of the past.
Fact is, the most lucrative successes have often followed decisive failures. That's how life really works. We are allowed to fail ... and in one way or another, sometime in our lives, we will all have the opportunity to do so ... probably several times.
How will we handle it? That's the question.
This will surely prepare students for employment where bosses will give them an extra month or two to do satisfactory work...NOT!
Gimme an "H"..it will become a cheer!
Chris Dodd shouldn't get an F for his insider loans, lack of understanding of how even the gov't shouldn't make bad loans and how doing MORE of the same rfailed policies is not the route to success?
They may reconsider when everyone starts calling Obama by his middle initial.
Another positive argument for home schooling (or private).
Love what I perceive to by typo on the demonstrator’s sign.
H stands for “you’re gonna get H3ll when you get home with this report card.”
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