Public schools are doing away with grading to combat 'racism'

Kids will not be held accountable to deadlines, standards of behaviour, honesty, or any reasonable expectations of achievement, all because to do so is now considered racist.

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY

The San Diego school district has done away with grading because apparently it is racist. California's second largest school district has decided that since minority students cannot make the grade, grades should be dispensed with altogether.

"This is part of our honest reckoning as a school district," San Diego's schools VP Richard Barerra said. "If we're actually going to be an anti-racist school district, we have to confront practices like this that have gone on for years and years."

Those practices, apparently, include expectations and assessments as to how well students are meeting those expectations. Using an outcome based assessment approach, it was determined that teachers are failing minority students by grading them not based on their academic achievement, but on their skin colour.

This determination was made based on data which revealed that minority students received 30 percent of all failing or near failing grades.

Kids who are English learners, or have disabilities, had lower grades, as did Native Americans, Hispanics, and black American students. Only seven percent of failing marks were distributed to white students. The San Diego school district believes that this is because teachers are racist, otherwise why would they seek to address grading rather than underlying issues?

It was as a result of these numbers that the San Diego school board decided to dispense with grading standards. Kids are now permitted to turn in the work at any time that appeals to them, and still have it graded as though they'd turned it on deadline. Teachers will not be permitted to use testing to determine grades, but are meant to grade per a "mastery of the material," although it's unclear as to how a teacher is meant to figure out a student's "mastery."

Classroom behaviour doesn't count either, so probably no more points for participation. It's only a student's working knowledge, apparently, that will affect how they do in school. Although again, it's unclear as to how that presence of that knowledge will be determined.

Junior at University City High School and Student School Board Member Zachary Patterson said "I know students all across the school district are really happy with the idea that these other accountability measures are no longer going to be defining their understanding of knowledge."

It was Patterson who brought up concerns that some students might be unfairly penalized for cheating. The school board intends, this week, to review their zero-tolerance policy on cheating, with perhaps an eye toward allowing cheating, since to not do so might be racist.

It is in the name of anti-racism that American kids will be denied a rigorous academic education. Kids will not be held accountable to deadlines, standards of behaviour, honesty, or any reasonable expectations of achievement, all because to do so is now considered racist.

Using data that shows who is failing and who is not, and realizing that minority students are not measuring up to educational standards, doesn't mean that the educational system is racist.

There are undoubtedly other reasons that minority students are not succeeding in school, and saying that the only reason they are not succeeding is racism undermines those kids that this quantification is trying to help.

Declaring that a high school student's failure is the fault of someone other than themselves undermines that student's agency. By that point, if a student hasn't learned how to turn in assignments on time, not cheat, not act-out in class, and not pass tests or classes, the blame for that should be shared between the student—who by that point should know better—and an educational system that didn't hold them to account for all of the preceding years.

If there's anything that's racist, it's using a students race or ethnic background to assume that they are not capable of achieving at expected levels. But it's far easier for San Diego schools to decide that the results prove racism, and change the educational standards, rather than address the underlying issues.

Why are minorities failing? Minority kids are not less intelligent, that's for sure. So why are they doing worse? This is the question that San Diego should be exploring, finding out why the educational system is failing to educate, not deciding that the grades are racist.

In fact, when San Diego takes a look at their data in a few years, after making these changes, they may find that the revised grades, which are indicative of softening educational standards and not increasing student achievement, don't result in graduates who are better able to face the world, but ones who are even more poorly equipped to lead productive lives than kids are now, because they won't even know how poor their education was.

But let's be perfectly clear: proclaiming that minority students just aren't able to meet academic standards is 100 percent racist. Changing an educational system to disguise the failures of minority students, instead of addressing why those students are failing, will not help students, the school district, or the future of our country.

San Diego isn't the only school system that has decided grades and expectations are just too much for students. New York's no-grading policy, issued almost two months before the end of spring term, took away grades and replaced it with phrases, such as "meets standards" or "needs improvement."

No room for excellence there, or failure. It leaves no room for anything, in fact, except blatant mediocrity. Children who take pride in their grades have nothing to aspire to in this system, and children who use grades to tell them when and how far they are falling behind similarly have no way to know where they are on a chart of achievement.

When the Smithsonian issued signage stating that merit and achievement were products of a white supremacist culture, it seemed like a cruel parody of critical race theory. When White Fragility and How to Be Anti-Racist achieved instant success among the woke, leftist, literatti, it seemed like it might all be so clearly absurd that these ideas would be instantly discredited. It was hard to understand just how deep the roots of these insidious ideologies went in American society. But it's becoming painfully clear that critical race theory will academically bankrupt our students, and our future.


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