Monday, August 8, 2011

AAA to AA? Grades don't tell the whole story

Everyone loves grades. It's the reason children go to school, isn't it? Here an A, there a B...fall in line and avoid a C. Parents love to know that their off-spring are "A" students, and teachers don't think twice about awarding an A- for a child, for in this day and age teachers and administrators may confront complaints, arguing, clamoring and lawyers. Yes, grades are a wonderful thing, aren't they?

Some places define, redefine, and alibi how their grading system is unique, blended, and eulogized. In one suburban school I worked in the furor of the letter grade concept of A, B, C, D and F needed to be refined and opened larger in range and in scope. They created a grade higher than an A and called it an H that became the coveted prize of the elite, the wanton, and the frustrated that felt the A was too accessible, further confirming the state of classism that exists in our country today.

Unfortunately, the world is abuzz over the US being downgraded from AAA to AA by a private company that makes a living doing this for their jollies. While the world is abuzz today over everything terrible about this economic grading crisis reality does not change...grades do not tell the whole story.

President Obama confirmed this in his morning briefing, that regardless of what this downgrade signifies, the US is a AAA nation that is hardworking, financially sound, founded on values and committed to the highest ideals of freedom, liberty and justice for all.

I wonder if I could use that same logic with parents in NYS today that are clamoring over the release of the ELA and Math results for students in grade 4-8? Let me see:

" Regardless of what these test scores reveal, your child is an important human being that comes to school each day to learn, and to experience all the life has to offer. That your children are wonderfully capable of learning everything and anything that they are willing to do. And, these assessments are nothing more than a snapshot of one day in the life of your child. They do not tell the whole story."

Beautiful speech, but will it convince anyone? Probably not. But, I meant it with as much furor and confidence as the President.

Grades do not tell the whole story.

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