Northwest NEWS

November 20, 2000

Editorial

Parents, students, teachers need to be on the same page

The following letter was sent to the Riverview School Board. Maybe there are other parents of elementary students who are not aware of the grading changes.
   To Whom it May Concern:
   I am writing because I believe the bar has been lowered when it comes to educating and grading our children.
   The first Carnation Elementary progress report we received was in fall of 1997 and the Definition of Terms for Scholastic Achievement went as follows with my old-fashioned letter grade equivalent:
   4 Performing beyond grade level expectations (That could equate to an "A"
   or a "B")
   3 Meets grade level expectations (That's a "C")
   2 Progressing towards grade level expectations (That's a "D")
   1 Does not meet grade level ("F")
   The next school year, 1998-99, the definitions changed a little:
   4 Consistently meets and exceeds standards (This is now just a "B")
   3 Meets standards (This is still a "C")
   2 Progressing towards standards (This is a "D")
   1 Does not meet standards ("F")
   The following school year, 1999-2000 and this year, the definitions were changed and the "bar" was lowered again:
   4 Consistently meets standards (This number 4 has now become a "C")
   3 Meets most standards (This is a "C-")
   2 Progressing towards standards ("D")
   1 Does not meet standards or no progress toward meeting the goal ("F")
   The best possible grade our elementary students in the Riverview School District can achieve is a 4 which today means "meeting the standards." This equates to a "C" grade if you were using the "old" method and that stands for just average. They state this year that exceptional children can get a 4+ which means a "C+."
   The question I want answered is why have we gone from a 4 standing for "Performing beyond grade level expectations" in 1997-98 to a 4 now standing for "Consistently meets standards" today.
   It appears that our school district wants to just teach our elementary students to an average standard level. They might as well just make it pass or fail. That is basically what they have changed the new grading system to be.
   There are only two reasons I can think of that makes any sense for the changes. One, they want our kids to feel good about getting 4's on their report cards and therefore go forward with the false sense of achievement. In years past this experiment did not work.
   The schools graduated kids who felt great about themselves, had a strong ego, but could not read or write. The second reason, and I hope I am wrong, but with over-crowded classrooms and low pay, the WEA and the teachers might have gotten together to teach our kids to the bare minimum standard.
   In this Presidential election where education was put at such a high premium, we should not be lowering our grade expectations of our children.
   We should be asking why we are not raising the bar of education in our community.
   Please, members of the Riverview School Board, look into raising our grading definitions back to where they were three years ago and maybe you might consider going way back to letter grades of A through F. Then, parents, students and teachers would all be on the same page.
   Bill Brown, Carnation
  
   _________________________
  
   The incredible division of this country, in this election, shows a split of the body, mind and soul of its people. I have felt this difference for many years now, but had no idea of how evenly it divides our countries
   population.
   Within my own family, and amongst acquaintances I have found the number
   one dividing factor of these two candidates to be the issue of abortion, " A
   womans right to choose," they say. It still shocks me, the thought that
   women, even the elderly, now believe that a woman deserves the right to
   destroy the life of her unborn.
  
   I have felt for years that this once fine country deserves a strong
   judgement from the God in which it was once founded. Whoever governs the next
   four years will show where the hearts of the people truly are. How many in
   this country will it take for God to once again show us His mercy and spare
   us His judgement?
  
   Linda Schofield
   13321 Odell Rd. S.E.
   Duvall, WA 98019
   425) 788 9160