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posted: 6/19/2013 5:00 AM

U-46 grade policy will cheat children

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The recent proposed changes to the U-46 school grading system should make parents and teachers shudder. As proposed, 50 percent of the work, attendance and effort is a passing effort. Does Superintendent Jose Torres and the committee who spent nearly three years working on a new grading system, honestly believe this will raise the standards of achievement? We are clearly "dummying down." Sadly it is the administration who is leading the charge toward this accomplishment, but the children will unwittingly follow.

When Kathy Castle, president of the Elgin Teachers Association, said, "This will give failing students a second chance," I was appalled. Is she kidding? Under current rules a failing student will get warnings, help and parental notice to prevent failure. A failing student does not get a surprise at the last minute.

In addition, this debacle will bring down every metric of achievement the district has had, but it will bring up grade-point averages, and this is the entire goal -- to show a level of improvement when there isn't any. It is clear why this method of measurement is now the district's mantra. When programs like U-46's Destination 2015, Race to the Top and the recent 10-school scandal over not meeting No Child Left Behind requirements are all failing, the only way to fix the problems in the administration's eyes is to lower standards. This is cheating the teachers and most importantly the students. When these students go into the real world I can guarantee you that an employer will not accept doing 50 percent of a job as acceptable.

Do not allow U-46 to cheat your children out of achievement. It is unacceptable. Let our teachers teach, and unshackle them from the binds the district has put on them.

Richard Francke


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