June 21, 2009

The bane of "high standards"

What the public should consider whenever they hear educationists go on about "high standards":

The pressure to pass students - even those who rarely go to class or can't read - is pervasive in the Philadelphia School District, teachers around the city say.

The push comes in memos, in meetings, and in talks about failure rates that are too high, the teachers say. It comes through mountains of paperwork and justification for failing any student. It comes in ways subtle and overt, according to more than a dozen teachers from nine of the city's 62 high schools.

"We have to give fake grades," said a teacher at Mastbaum High in Kensington. "The pressure is very real." (Source.)

The article goes on to quote teachers who note administrative directives that there "are too many failures," and that "the statistics (quantity of failures) are unacceptable."

It's the 'ol "water takes the path of least resistance" adage. What's the most expedient thing to do in this case? Just pass 'em along. Despite what the heck the kid has done. I don't envy teachers in such cases; even the best teachers cannot make a kid pay attention and learn, yet they'll always end up taking the heat.

I wonder what it'd be like if physicians were assessed like teachers -- if patients refused to follow the doc's orders/recommendations so their condition worsened, or at the least didn't improve. We'd end up reprimanding or firing the doctors!

UPDATE: In the same edition of the Inquirer, we read this editorial. God bless these teachers!

Posted by Hube at June 21, 2009 11:52 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

We finally got a law in this state allowing teachers to actually give students the grades they earn -- no more "no grade lower than a 50" policies.

Posted by: Rhymes With Right at June 21, 2009 12:18 PM

Thank goodness. Philly had that same former policy, since revoked.

Posted by: Hube at June 21, 2009 12:24 PM