Thursday, April 23, 2020

Destroying the Seattle School System

It feels like something that could have been happening in New York City. The Seattle School Board has chosen to celebrate the coronavirus by giving all children a grade of A. 

In the city that gave us Microsoft and Amazon the School System is ensuring that Seattle children will never achieve the level of educational excellence required to work at those companies. And you were saying that we should onshore manufacturing. Who is going to do the increasingly tech heavy jobs? Not the products of Seattle public schools....

Anyway, the Seattle Times has the story.

Also Monday — and maybe not coincidentally — the Seattle School Board did the most Seattle thing ever: It voted that every grade this spring would be an ‘A.’

High-schoolers could also theoretically get an I, for incomplete. But district officials said those wouldn’t be handed out much, if at all, and wouldn’t count in grade-point averages in any case.

“Grading has historically rewarded those students who experience privilege, and penalized others,” said Seattle schools Superintendent Denise Juneau — signaling that a more permanent relaxing of grading scales may be in Seattle’s future.

Remember the old Lake Wobegon joke, about it being a place where “all the children are above average?” It’s finally coming numerically true in Seattle.

There were alternatives, like P for pass.

One way to achieve that would be to give high-schoolers only “P” grades, for pass. And no failing grades. This way all grade-point averages would remain unchanged.

But giving everyone a 4.0 isn’t “do no harm,” it’s handing out candy. It gooses Seattle GPAs for no reason, at least compared with peers in other school districts — most of which are adopting pass/no-credit arrangements. It renders all Seattle GPAs effectively meaningless going ahead.

“This proposal makes a mockery of the grading system and will have negative implications for college admissions,” one parent wrote to the school board before Monday’s vote. “It sends a signal to all admissions officers that Seattle Public Schools is willing to artificially inflate student grades.”

A few board members asked Monday whether district staff had checked with colleges about this, and the staff answered “no,” they had not. But then the board backed the new policy anyway, 5-2, turning down a request from board member Leslie Harris to postpone it to explore the concerns.

So, forget about achievement. Forget about competing. Forget about learning anything. What really matters is the high self-esteem generated by a phony grade system. One might note that those students who would have earned high grades are now being penalized, and that the School Board does not care. 

Why the rush to give everyone A’s? Well … to me the answer may have been provided in the next day’s Seattle Times, in a story pointing out how Seattle schools are lagging well behind most other districts in providing any coherent online learning.

As it happens, Seattle kids, living in the shadow of Microsoft do not have laptops. You would think that Bill Gates could spring for a few. Therefore, Seattle public schools are lagging the nation in educating children who are no longer attending classes:

“Why Seattle kids were among the last in the region to start receiving laptops,” read the headline. It detailed how the district was unprepared for the coronavirus shutdown because it had dithered for years in spending millions in taxpayer-approved funds for technology upgrades.

“By the end of last week, Seattle Public Schools, with about 52,000 students, had passed out 1,000 of its own laptops. Highline Public Schools, its neighbor to the south teaching about 20,000, gave out 12,000,” the article reported.

Now, why are the children who have laptops being punished? Simply put, because of diversity. And because children who do not have laptops should not be made to feel inferior to those who do:

Bureaucratic bungling is only part of the story. The district also just isn’t into it. Digital education may widen inequities, they have argued, so they’d rather not try it at all. 

Superintendent Juneau made this clear from the start, nearly six weeks ago when schools first closed, when she said “we cannot, in equitable terms, provide online learning for our students.”

Whatever the federal and state governments are doing, local governments hard at work imposing a more radical agenda on their cities. We see it in the rush to empty prisons. Now we see it in Seattle’s efforts to destroy childhood education.

It will take more than a pandemic to cure these people of their mental deformities.


370H55V said...

A lesbian school supt--just the thing to go with the lesbian King County sheriff, the Girl Party mayor and six of nine city council members and the two Girl Party senators from Washington. So what would you expect from Seattle?

Eric said...

This *is* the school district that claimed that expecting kids to show up on time was racist.

Sam L. said...

Well, we KNOW that Democrats run Washington state, and Seattle, and we KNOW what Democrats are...

UbuMaccabee said...

Less competition for me.