Sunday, May 20, 2001

Stop Blaming Teachers

Teachers are not to blame for students being promoted to the next grade unprepared. Most people are unaware that a student can fail 3 out of the 4 major subjects (language arts, math, science, social studies) and still pass to the next grade!

Yes, this is true! Here's the way it works:

If a student fails one subject, it is ignored and the student moves on to the next grade.

If s/he fails two subjects, one is ignored, one is made up in summer school, and the student passes to the next grade.

If three subjects are failed, one is ignored, two are made up in summer school, and the student passes to the next grade.

Note that summer school is only about 32 days. It is ludicrous to think that in 32 days, a child can make up 180 days during the regular school year.

Students know this system. Most who fail have chosen to fail by not putting in the effort during the year. It's sad that we have seen students this year with 13% averages. It is difficult to earn such a low average.

It's impossible for a middle school student who is trying to have an average this low. There are enough balances in classes, that teachers give struggling students alternative ways of showing their effort and improvement. If a student is a poor test taker, most teachers count other work enough that failing tests is not enough to cause a student to fail the subject.

I say it again. It is impossible to earn such a low average if a student is trying.

Now, back to the 3 out of 4 and you can still pass...(And I haven't even mentioned "social promotions" and special "deals" that are made with students.)

What are we teaching this generation?

1. No matter how little you do, no matter how little effort you put into your work, you can still move on.

2. Party and have a good time during the school year. You can always make it up in 1/4 of the time during summer mornings and still have the rest of the summer to enjoy.

Don't blame us teachers for not preparing students. Teachers are doing their jobs. We are trying to hold students responsible for their actions. The system is not backing us. The school system is not holding students accountable for their actions.

What the school system is doing is a crime. Students are receiving the wrong message about what it takes to succeed. No wonder businesses are griping about the lack of work ethic among their younger employees. This new generation of employees are merely showing what they have learned from school!

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