There’s more than one way to dumb down our educational system

Four years ago at the high school I work for there was a controversy with the valedictorian and salutatorian calculations. A parent lashed out her frustrations on me after I explained to her how class rank was determined—the calculations were based on actual grade in glass not straight G.P.A.—and she was told a different way by the counselor, secretary and/or principal. A friendship was lost that day.
Just as importantly I knew something had changed without the proper procedures/protocol followed. However, at that point in my career I was unable to speak out with out the threat of a reprimand so kept my self “nose to the grindstone” and just did my job. Finally I had the courage-four years later to ask the secretary how class rank was determined. She informed me that it was simple highest G.P.A. since the computer program won’t do anything else. Not only did she know what I was referring to you, she also was validating a decision made years ago in the offices of the counselor/principal.
Since I was on the original committee who determined how G.P.A. and class rank would be determined; remembering the fights between parents, community and teachers I was taken aback that this decision was made without school board approval, without anyone up in arms since going to our present G.P.A. calculations-90-100% A 4.00, 80-89% B 3.00, etc.- scared parents; they wanted class rank separate since they believe that there is a difference between a 90% and 99% and students who work harder for that 99% or are simply smarter, should be rewarded instead of equalized. No we didn’t change our content standards to “level the playing field” to speak, we equalized our grading system to make all students within a grade category equal.
One of the repercussions of this change is a teacher who grades by the 10%–that is students’ grades are rounded to the nearest 10% number—50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, 90% or 100%. No student in their classes receives anything other than a whole number grade divisible by 10. Now I know why my grading scale seems so nit-picky—I go to the half point if needed which means my percentages go to the nearest 1% value.
I also understand why this change occurred. The calculation for class rank required doing math by hand; we had a counselor who could not do these calculations, the math teacher that was asked was young, new and wanted to continue her status of “pet” with the principal at that time so gave her “professional opinion” which also helped the secretary since she was forced to do most of the counselor’s job since our counselor was also young and pliable in her standards.
But because I understand what happened, this change decreased the motivation to aspire for that higher/highest grade in a class; no reason to put out any/much effort when a 90% = 99%; and people who questioned it in the beginning were shut down, ignored or worse sent away and it took me four years to figure this out!
Hmm, I wonder where that friend’s phone number is. . . .


About mentaldiva

Only dead fish go with the flow--I am not swimming upstream all the time, but I certainly do not merely go with the flow either. Professional female with expectations of equity living in a redneck community needing to express herself!
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