Dumbing Down of America’s Public Schools

“Some of California’s largest school districts are dropping D and F grades. Students who don’t learn the material, pass the final exam, or finish homework by the end of the semester would earn an ‘incomplete’ which, I assume, could be converted to at least a ‘C’ later on. Los Angeles Unified, Oakland Unified, Sacramento City Unified, San Diego Unified are among the districts that will make this move. According this article [‘Why some California school districts are changing how students earn grades,’ EdSource.org, Dec. 3, 2021] which gushes over the decision, the goals are to cause students to ‘re-engage’ in school and to boost their chances of acceptance into the state’s public colleges. It is also designed to ‘especially’ help ‘Black, Latino and low-income students,’ according to the same source. Who would have guessed that? But in what sense are Black and Latino students really helped by what George W. Bush called ‘the soft bigotry of low expectations’? As a teacher at a Catholic school in Oakland says: ‘Ds and Fs play an important role in the classroom. They signal that a student did not learn the material and needs extra help. Not reporting Ds and Fs is the equivalent of lying about a student’s progress.’ This is the only sensible passage in the article. The real complaint about traditional grading is that it’s too objective. It gives teachers less room to manipulate grades to favor students and, importantly, students of favored races/ethnicities.”

“No ‘D’ or ‘F’ Grades,” Powerlineblog.com, Dec. 6, 2021