Many decry the current state of American public schools, expressing the sentiment our next generation is entering adulthood without the proper educational tools. Recent events and trends seem to bolster their assertion.
Considering the widespread contention surrounding Common Core, a federal curriculum plan many say fails to address basic skills, it is obvious parents are growing more concerned about what their children are learning while in school. Despite spending an increasing amount of money on education, today’s students are performing comparatively worse than those in previous generations.
One mother in Florida recently voiced concern that this trend has reached the absurd level of recognizing students for their achievement – even when they earn Cs and Ds on their report card.
The honor roll, a time-tested tradition of celebrating the scholastic achievements of high achievers, has now apparently become so watered-down even those literally failing a subject could feasibly be included.
When Beth Tillack received her son’s report card from Pasco Middle school, she said she “immediately assumed it’s a mistake.”
Despite including a D in one subject and a C in another, he was awarded a place on the honor roll.
“It doesn’t make any sense,” she continued. “The bottom line is there is nothing honorable about making a D.”
For her part, Principal Kim Anderson explained the school bases eligibility on an average of all grades rather than taking each course into account. Still, Tillack said the practice sets an unfortunate precedent.
“I was not happy,” she said, “because how can I get my child to study for a test when he thinks he’s done enough?”
In response to the critique, the school has announced its intention to rethink the methodology behind honor roll nominees. As it stands, a student failing one class could still make the list with enough high grades to bolster his or her average.
Tillack said such a policy gives kids a false sense of achievement, noting her son’s teacher included a congratulatory “good job” and a smiley face on his report card.
As educators set progressively lower standards for students, it takes less effort to achieve a level of modified success. Congratulating students for performing at a below-average or failing level is a natural offshoot of this trend and provides a woefully insufficient foundation for life in the real world.
–B. Christopher Agee
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Photo Credit: Mennonite Church USA Archives (Creative Commons)