Today is one of the 2 days I have come to dread during the school year. It’s my 15-year-olds parent teacher conference day. Currently, the young man has been banned from the internet, and I have confiscated his iPod and Kindle Fire due to bad grades (gotta love the online grades we have access to nowadays.)
Now I have a hellasmart kid. He could easily be getting As and Bs in everything. However, he chooses not to. The reasons behind that are unknown and it drives me nuts! I have considered ritual beatings, but I am told there are rules against that. I am laying the fault of his bad grades on him and him alone. He needs to suck it up and do the work.
However, my other gripe about the whole thing is the damn grading system used by the Federal Way school district in my son is a Freshman.
When I was a young lad, it was easy. 90% and above was an A, 80% a B, 70% a C, etc. Sometimes there was “grading on a curve” but that was the extent of any weirdness. If you didn’t do the homework, you failed the class. It was all turned in and graded. If you failed a test, you better damn well hope you aced the rest of them so you could bring up the average to a decent grade, If you were lucky, you had the teacher that let you drop the lowest test score of the term. But that was rare.
That is NOT how it is today. These kids have learning targets that lead to power standards. (or the other way around) There is no percentage. They get checked off each time they achieve a power standard. Get X amount of power standards and you get the equivalent of an A. There is an entire chart to help you figure out what you kid’s actual grade is.
Then, the homework really doesn’t count. It doesn’t get a grade. Now think back to when you were a kid. If you didn’t get graded on it, would you have done homework. (Yes, yes, I know, doing the homework will help you pass the tests. But explain that to a hormone filled, skateboarding video game playing 15 year (why are ritual beatings against the rules?))
Oh and the tests…you can retake them as many times as needed to pass it! So why do the homework and study the first time???
I had an assistant principal on the phone with me when i first heard about this. I asked her flat-out why she was setting the kids up to bomb in college… “Why would you say that?” she asked. “Well”, says I, “picture this. The kids are in their first class in college, and fail their first exam. They go up to the prof and ask when the retakes are. After he laughs (loudly) in their faces, they realize they have to study and pass the first time. And THEY DON’T KNOW HOW!”
“We don’t see it that way!” was the only response.
Yep, the conferences are later this morning, and I am fully prepared to be in a piss poor mood. Talk to yall later….