A+ grades at HS revisited – (G.W.)

Published February 23, 2012 by justicewg

The board decided to remove the A+ grade from the system, without first asking for parent input. Reaction was fast and furious. Why should the board ever ask for parent consensus before making major changes, when they can just have a special meeting to confront a room full of angry parents after the vote?

(Re-posting a Grandview Watch article from 2006)

“The Grandview school board has announced that they will re-think their decision to remove the A+ grade from the school system. Parents complained at the August board meeting that the July vote to remove the grade had not considered the possibility of a phase-in, and some though that the inherent incentive of A+ grades should not have been removed.

The final outcome of this issue will be controversial, especially to the parents who are driven by getting their children into top schools. Grade inflation is a nationwide problem, and as more schools allow A+ grades it makes it harder for the children attending schools without that grade to put an impressive higher than four point average on the college application.

The problem is that the schools who hold the line on grade inflation can put their children at a disadvantage. Unless it is clear to college admissions departments that a grade point average is based on a A+ ban at their school, the incentive will be to continue to inflate grades.

The Board doesn’t care about parents

No matter the outcome of the discussion of the A+ grade, it is clear that the board has once again acted without allowing enough parent input. The board should have known that this would be a controversial move, and scheduled public meetings to allow full input and discussion of ideas like a phase-in BEFORE they voted.

A review of the past actions by the board shows that this is the norm for dealing with controversial issues. Remember the SRO? The vote to give themselves a 56% raise? The vote on the FieldTurf? All done with no public meetings outside the crowded regular board meeting schedule. This board doesn’t try to get input, and shows no recognition that it is a problem. Look for more of the same in the future.

Later – Word is that there will be a meeting for parents to tell the board they screwed up Aug. 24 at 7:30 in the HS library. There were some outraged parents pushing for a review of the vote. Wouldn’t this have been a good meeting to schedule BEFORE they voted?

After the meeting – The board explained that they will attach a note with transcripts to colleges explaining that the grades of the Grandview system will be based on a “no A+” grading scale, as I suggested above. It makes sense.

They also tried to deflect the idea that the decision to remove the A+ grade was made without due consideration by explaining that a committee of administrators had been working on the idea for months. That’s fine, but the general public doesn’t know what administrative committees are working on, this work is often hidden from even the people who attend every board meeting. If the board had really given due consideration and notice that the grade system was going to be changed, no meeting like the one that happened on the 24th would have been necessary. There should have been a public meeting before the vote, there should have been information about the changes on the school website.

Speaking of the school website – this lack of information on the school’s website is so typical. Read the board’s page and see at the top, “The Board of Education is committed to keeping the Grandview Heights community informed about the district and its activities”. Yes, that backpack letter from May 2005 is keeping us informed. No list of board meeting dates or agenda. Meeting notes saved as Pdf files, making them a pain to read and search. And get the latest news from the Superintendent – from the 2004 school year. Pathetic.

(This article first posted in 2006)

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