The San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) recently announced that it plans to make “major grading changes” in order to combat what it considers racist grading. According to the district, minority students are more likely than white students to get failing grades.
“This is part of our honest reckoning as a school district,” SDUSD Vice President Richard Barrera said. “If we’re actually going to be an anti-racist school district, we have to confront practices like this that have gone on for years and years.”
SDUSD is the second largest district in California, with approximately 106,000 students. A report compiled by the district allegedly shows that there is a disparity in how certain students are graded, specifically when it comes to race and ethnicity.
The data shows that during the first semester last year 23% of Native Americans and Hispanics received a D or F grade. When it comes to African American students, 20% received a D or F grade.
Thirty percent of students who are learning English were given a D or F grade. In addition, 25% of failing grades were given to students who have a disability.
Only 7% of failing marks were given to white students.
In order to reverse this supposed disparity, instead of focusing on providing additional support and educational resources to these students, the district instead is going to change its entire grading system in order to give these students a better chance at higher grades.
According to a local NBC report, “Academic grades will now focus on mastery of the material, not a yearly average, which board members say penalizes students who get a slow start, or who struggle at points throughout the year.
“Another big change, teachers can no longer consider non-material factors when grading. Things like turning work in on time and classroom behavior will now instead count towards a student’s citizenship grade, not their academic grade.”
I pity any teacher working in the SDUSD.
This decision will likely make classroom management almost impossible. It disincentivizes students from turning in assignments on time, which potentially means that teachers could wait weeks or months to get a student to finish classwork. And what about students who work hard to turn everything in on schedule?
Students in the SDUSD would also be able to behave in any way that they want, which would be disruptive to the general class and the learning process. There’s no danger to their grade if they act out.
It’s also unclear, once these new regulations are implemented, if white students will be allowed to exhibit the same behaviors or if these lax regulations will only apply to students of certain races and ethnicities.
These changes also do a poor job of preparing young men and women for real world jobs. If attendance, behavior and timeliness no longer count, high school graduates from the SDUSD will do poorly either in university or in the job market.
This SDUSD new grading policy will only help those that feel like they must apologize for the nation’s supposed “white privilege,” not any of the students. These children aren’t being given more opportunities to succeed but less by teachers and a district that are willing to move the bar for certain students and praise mediocrity instead of pushing students to do their best and helping those that struggle.
Effort would be better spent on trying to figure out why these children are failing, not making it easier for them to do? so but call it passing.
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