I think that one of the single stupidest things ever come up with by education "experts" is this "let's not hurt Johnny's self-esteem" crap. While I agree that it does Johnny no good to get kicked outta the house for bad grades (like the guy that got sentenced this week*), fudging his grades so that he passes through school without learning anything does him no good. Why not just make school optional, so we can become that third-world country the liberals and PC people want so badly that much faster? And now, I give you the Edmonton, Alberta, school system:
EDMONTON - Lynden Dorval, 61, has been a teacher for 35 years. He’d be in the class room today at Ross Sheppard High School except he’s been suspended.
That drastic action was taken because Dorval refused to go along with a misguided scheme cooked up by educational theorists and school administrators.
Under this scheme, it’s no longer possible for high school teachers at Ross Sheppard and numerous other Edmonton schools to give a student a mark of zero on an assignment or test, even if the student fails to hand in the assignment or write the test. Instead, students are given a final mark based on the work they do complete.
This policy has been in place at Edmonton junior high schools for decades, Dorval says, but it is now working its way into local high schools.
Ross Sheppard’s principal brought it in last year. Dorval refused to go along with it and was reprimanded. He refused again this year. He was reprimanded again. Finally, on May 18, after a meeting with Edmonton public school board superintendent Edgar Schmidt, Dorval was suspended for his defiant behaviour.
Dorval says if he doesn’t accept the new grading policy, he will lose his job.
I met with Dorval on Thursday and immediately thanked him. It’s not often any of us see real heroes, people who put their reputations and jobs on the line to uphold a righteous principle. Dorval fits that category. By refusing to accept lower standards in our schools, he’s standing up for all parents and students.
But Dorval is a reluctant hero. When I ask how he’s handling his suspension, his eyes fill with tears.
“It’s been pretty tough. … I didn’t expect to end my career in such a dramatic and sudden way.”
In his researching of the so-called No Zeros Policy, Dorval found it’s tied to the self-esteem movement, to the notion that if students get a zero it will damage their egos and they will give up.
Hello, but doesn't not turning assignments in indicate that they have ALREADY given up?
But he’s found in his years of teaching that students who don’t do the work simply don’t like school and don’t care to do the work. Essentially, many have already given up, he says.
Yet almost all students, he says, will make some effort to catch up on their work when Dorval presents them with two sets of marks.
One set shows their average mark for all their completed tests and work, but not factoring in the work they have failed to complete.
The second set of averaged marks factors in the zeros the students will get if they fail to do all the required work. This second, lower set of marks usually does the trick, Dorval says. “I just get a flood of assignments in and students coming to me, ‘Can I make up this quiz?’”
The students have until the end of the school year to catch up, without any penalty. “I don’t give them any punishment at all or deduction.”
Dorval’s system strikes a decent balance. The students who do the work on time get their marks. The students who are late are able to catch up and have plenty of incentive to do so. And those who don’t care to work get a real-life lesson: If you shirk, even after repeated reminders, there will be a negative consequence.
“These are young adults now,” Dorval says. “They’re going to be out in the work world. ... Somewhere along the line they have to learn they have to be accountable. If they don’t do stuff, there are repercussions.”
Some school administrators like the No Zeros Policy, Dorval says, because it’s a way of passing students and having them graduate. “To me, this is just a way of inflating marks. It’s not really benefiting the students.”
In other words, lazy incompetant administrators wrapping themselves in PC pseudo-nobility in order to AVOID DOING THEIR JOBS!
I ask Dorval if he can fight this suspension and this policy.
He doubts he can have much impact.
“I’m only one person. I only have so much power.”
But I suspect Dorval is far from alone. Many of us are frustrated with the lowering of standards inside and outside of our schools. Just as teachers are severely undermined if parents don’t insist that their kids do their school work, so are parents undermined if the teachers back off on that same responsibility. That is what is happening now with the No Zeros Policy. It’s got to go.
And Lynden Dorval needs to be handed back his job. We can use every teacher with high standards that we’ve got.
I know their are liberals among you that think that the concept of boosting self esteem in this way is a good thing. And some of you read all the articles out there about the technical jobs out there that are screaming for workers and can't find anyone qualified. And you blame the machine manufacturers for making things so damn complicated , and you blame the universities for being so darn expensive, and you blame the job pool for being unwilling to take the jobs, but you NEVER blame the school system YOU BUILT for turning out graduates that never learned a damn thing!!! And how do you think these kids will fare? The only thing they'll learn under these conditions is how to pick and choose the assignments they can manage to scrape through, refuse to do the rest, and spend the rest of their lives at Burger King wondering why they couldn't get a better job! And the minority communities should be especially aghast because their is enough pressure in their childrens' lives to not improve their lives without the school system giving them a free pass. Plus, they just don't get that a minotrity electorate too uninformed to know what's going on is thie electorate that will keep electing the very people keeping them stupid and unable to better themselves.
My own daughter has been getting much the same treatment in East Allen schools. It has allowed her to develop the laziest of study habits to the point that she got 5 out of 30 on her learner's permit test. That's 5 RIGHT. Four tries later, she finally got her permit. Do you think that THAT helped her self-esteem? And where was I? Non-custodial parent, who offered to help on the condition she was willing to learn, but was only contacted when she needed an answer. Why bother learning, there's no consequence. Except there was- and is.
Setting her back, giving her REASON to learn, would have been what the school system could do for her self-esteem. FAIL, in big fat letters. I don't want to hear one teacher out there tell me this is a good thing. It's only good for lazy teachers and lazy administrators, and of course Race To The Top and No Child Left Behind.
* The story I referenced was a father who dumped his daughter off near a mall and told her not to come home because her grades weren't good enough. He's now unable to come home until he completes 100 hours of community service and a parenting class. Touche!