Dallas Battles High School Drop Out Rate: Once, Twice, Three Times a Success

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I’m absolutely appalled by the grading policies that have just come out of the Dallas public school system. Upset at high drop-out rates and low scores on standardized tests, Dallas public school officials came up with a plan to “help” students “succeed.” This new grading policy includes not counting homework that doesn’t boost a student’s grade (discounting homework that drags a grade down), allowing all students who fail or miss major tests to retake them for a better grade within ten days, and allowing students who are absent for any reason to turn in work with no lateness penalty and to take tests they’ve missed, etc., again with no penalty.

Now, if we were to assume that all k-12 students are hard workers, eager to learn, and doing their very best, this policy may be of some use; however, that’s a huge assumption to make and one that is negated each day in classrooms across America. Besides, we have a means of ensuring that those students who are hard workers, who are eager to learn, and who do do their very best are given the assistance they need to succeed . . . they’re called teachers. Teachers who make these sorts of allowances and extend these courtesies to students on a daily basis; most teachers will allow a student who has been ill or suffered a loss, etc. to make up a test and to hand in homework late. Most teachers will work with students who let them know what’s going on, who make arrangements for make up exams or extra credit, even for students who know they have a family ski vacation planned. Most teachers are more than willing to bend over backward to accommodate a student who they know to be a hard worker, but to have make up exams because you failed a test? Or decided to skip class that day? How is this fair to the student who does study? Who does attend class and do assignments on time? Why bother? They can be shiftless and lazy if they like, the reward is identical.

Enforcing this policy in Dallas schools makes that much extra work for the teachers, who now have to keep up with multiple exams, papers, assignments, and what all coming in at all times and for no reason (other than this policy). How can this prepare students for the work force (let’s face it, these aren’t the kids Dallas is preparing for college; it just wants to shove kids through, at the teachers’ and “good” kids’ expense, to lower their drop out rate)? Do a lot of jobs have “do overs”? Couldn’t make the meeting this morning, Mr. Smith, am hoping to make it up in the next ten days. Couldn’t get that report done for the meeting, Ms. Jones, but I’ll have it by the end of the month, so that’s good, right? Better late than good, as they say at my old high school.

It’s admirable that Dallas wants to lower its drop-out rate, but this policy is a disaster for everyone; they’d be better off simply passing without another thought the kids who should fail . . . . like they do at the college level. That way, at least, teachers would be free to spend time and energy on the students who are there to learn, who wish to succeed, and who are working hard to make something of their lives.

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What the school board says: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/081608dnmetdisdgrading.4627fe2.html

What the teachers say: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/081508dnmetdisdgrades.48e6cc22.html

What I’ve said in a past post about this dumbing down of our education system: http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-8aiUPJs3brwovyRm.EAqej.KyME-?cq=1&p=98

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6 thoughts on “Dallas Battles High School Drop Out Rate: Once, Twice, Three Times a Success

  1. the first thing that popped into my head was communism. seems like the same sort of thing to me. that is just appalling. the school board should be ashamed. i wouldn’t be surprised if they all get voted out next election.

  2. It’s a false “drop out rate lowering,” though. Sure, it will look good in numbers and on paper, but in reality it will just do itself and these kids a horrible disservice in the end. Instead of making concessions, how about further teaching kids better organizational and study-skills, which will make it easier to learn — seems like it could be a win-win situation. It would most certainly help them and be a very valuable life skill!

  3. Hey Kerry, they won’t be voted out; it’s sad how few people turn out for midterm elections and how many pay any attention at all to whom is on low level ballots. Sigh. Makes me sad.

    Yep, totally false, Wendy; a pass the buck approach that will fast cost the taxpayers of that state a lot of money. Drop outs are social leeches, for the most part (unless they turn it around, they are more likely to end up in prison, on welfare, suffer ill health, etc. that all cost us millions, maybe billions, a year), and are definitely a problem; we need to figure out why people are dropping out and address those issues, if possible. And I don’t mean by us paying to teach them English so they can get by, either! Grrr. At some point, the family HAS to be involved, and if the family can’t be for whatever reason (working multiple jobs to make ends meet, can’t afford tutoring, etc.), then perhaps some sort of programs should be put in place, but I’m so sick of taxpayers having to pay for more government. Why can’t the citizens get off their asses and stop complaining and start helping? Like me? Why am I blogging my heart about this stuff but not going to find out if I can help tutor kids in organizational and study skills? Food for thought, that’s for sure.

  4. I can’t even comment on this without getting worked up. At the middle school where I work they started with that nothing less than a 50 idea. I don’t agree with cushioning anything for anyone who just doesn’t want to work. I feel that with all of the strict testing we do now and pacing guides and such we are taking the fun and interest out of education. You don’t know how many days before a report card went out when I first started teaching I was there until they cut the lights out trying to grade make up work before I learned that I was only hurting them by allowing them to be lazy and last minute. I am going to step down from my soap box before I write a blog on yours. I don’t agree with any of it.

  5. Incompetent parenting. The more morons you put out in the world, the easier it is to get elected. They’re future voter mushrooms, keep them in the dark, just shovel them some more crap and they’ll be happy. Some where in the heap the donkeys left are some seeds they ate from a flower and it’ll blossom up big and they can claim how successful the policy has been. I don’t want them to be my doctor. They’ll all get government jobs as pushed by Obama. Then we’ll deal with these kids when they are the IRS auditors. This whole idea makes my head hurt and I worry terribly for my grandkids.

  6. Oh Laurie, poor you to be right in the middle of all this dumbing down nonsense! Is there no sane voice speaking up for the kids? I mean one who realizes that these policies are total train wrecks that will end up costing more and being more detrimental than actual education would. Sigh. You’re like me, I could go on, too :)) Take care

    Parenting is definitely involved here, Heyman, as is illegal immigration and a host of other issues only tangentally related to education; everyone’s so worried about someone not feeling like they are “good enough and people like them” that the whole damn thing’s going to come crashing down before we know what hit us. Look at this economic mess! Ooooh, the poor people can’t afford houses, I know! Let’s give them to them for no money down and without any kind of credit check! That’ll be fair and good and helpful and kind. Grrr. I like your voter mushroom analogy and may steal it in future!! 🙂

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