- 17 January 2012:
- Chamber of Commerce board decides to repay CUEE's outstanding vendor debts in exchange for owning CUEE's education document.
- 3 February 2012:
Maureen Downey blogged for the AJC,
No zeros in school any longer. But aren’t there well deserved zeros?
Despite admitting that the Lowndes school grading policy is a common practice
in many systems and is intended to make sure students actually learn,
she ends with this spin:
But aren't there well deserved zeros?
I would argue that middle school teachers have some students who simply don't do the work. They get it; they just don't do it. The Lowndes policy calls for multiple interventions for obdurate students, but wouldn't a zero make an important statement?
How else do adolescents learn that there are consequences for failure to comply with assignments? In the classroom, it is a zero. In the workplace, it is termination.
- 3 February 2012:
- Lowndes School System Superintendent Dr. Steve Smith explained Lowndes grading policies, including this bit:
The rest of Dr. Smith's introductory paragraph:
...that on nine-week and progress grade reports no grade average will be reported lower than a 60. Students with a failing average for one grade report can still earn a passing score for the year, rather than being destined for failure by one bad grading period. The guidelines for students in grades 3-8 included some new expectations that students must complete all their work and that teachers will provide additional opportunities to master material when students do not succeed the first time.That reads to me that the Lowndes school system is going out of its way to try to get students to succeed.
- 4 February 2012:
Local radio personality Scott James
goes on Fox and Friends to complain about Lowndes grading policy
Brittany D. McClure refered to it in the VDT as
The new grading policy....That's quite interesting, considering it's not a new grading policy. No wonder Dr. Smith complained about that reporter's reporting.
- 7 February 2012:
The media frenzy spreads, for example here's
Patricia Walston in Examiner.com,
No zeroes for students in Valdosta GA:
“Zero” test grade to be banned in Georgia school
Despite the inflammatory headline, she gets it:
Atlanta Public Schools were recently disgraced when teachers were caught changing the test scores for hundreds of students. These tests are never fair to the students anyway. These tests are more to test the teachers than the children. What the children learn will be apparent in many other areas other than an electronic test scoring machine.Not to mention it costs taxpayers less to spend a bit more time educating instead of locking up the same people later.
The new agenda may be just what kids need. If a student makes lower than 70 on a test out of 100 points, they will be given the chance to retake the test; and redo the assignments until a passing grade is earned. The PTA could become involved in re-testing children; and could be done after school so the students would not miss any teaching time. This should spur them on to do their homework and study.
As a former student in the Atlanta City Schools, a mother of three, grandmother of seven, and great-grandmother of five, I am inclined to believe that this is a move forward in a great direction. I have seen a lot of bright kids drop out of school because they eventually come to think they will never succeed. This carries over into every aspect of their lives as adults. Atlanta jails are filled with kids who felt they were unworthy in school.
- 12 February 2012:
The media frenzy spread to Savannah today, where
Geveryl Robinson wrote for Savannah Now,
School policy to reward potential is a total zero,
repeating Maureen Downey's meme from the AJC:
In the real world, not completing work assignments, not showing up, not caring about tasks that are assigned doesn't equal success; it equals unemployment.Nevermind that the point of the policy is to get students to do the work, and to get parents involved if necessary to accomplish that.
The Chamber obviously hasn't given up. I don't know whether it's the Chamber doing this or somebody else, but this looks to me like the beginning of the next attempt at school consolidation.
Meanwhile, parents and taxpayers who actually care about education can provide input for tuning Lowndes school grading policies. I would suggest first finding out what those polices are from the school system itself, rather than depending on the press for that.