The title is referring to the minimum grade an elementary school teacher is required to give to a student at the school where my wife taught. There were no exceptions. She was not allowed to give a grade lower than 50 on anything even if the student didn’t turn the assignment in. I hit on this subject when ranting about a local talk radio host. I want to revisit this because I don’t believe that many people even realize this is going on. Here is a taste of what I wrote back in July 2005:
Most people in the general public never hear about these policies because it would not look good for one of our prize winning school districts to be exposed for padding the numbers. The underlying motivation is probably more likely geared towards the feelings of the children. Yes, one more example of how our society tries to keep our children happy at all cost. (More)
My wife did teach third grade in public school, but no more. Things like these freebie grades were just icing on the cake when making a decision for my wife to stay home. She will now exercise her teaching skills while homeschooling our children. That is not a decision we took lightly. I have heard all of the arguments. What about the social interaction? What about the sports? What about the yada yada yada? Well, what about all those things? Have you thought about the moral influences you are having to combat in public school? Oh, I have heard that the response to that one too where they say, “well they are going to learn it eventually anyway.” Yes they will learn some of the immoral stuff that Johnny third grader is teaching in the back of the class or out on the playground at some point, but it does not have to be at age eight. If you just drop your kids of at school, you have no idea what they are going to get from the other kids whose parents could give a flip about what their kids do or say.
The biggest question in every parent’s mind should be to ask how do academics, sports, and social skills rank into God’s plan for your children?
I think that your primary focus in raising your children should be to teach them the ways of God. I think that God’s priority is on moral character. Public school academics, sports, and social interactions don’t formally teach God’s moral principles. If you teach a child to have respect and self control, then the academic teaching will be a cake walk. I believe that would hold true for public school classrooms as well. If every child in a classroom was striving to act in a way that was pleasing to God, then you would get muh more done because you would not have as many behavior problems and every child would be prepared. But instead, many parents use school as a daycare and don’t force their kids take homework seriously. The schools answer to this is to bring the standard to the child rather than to bring the child to the standard.
We as parents then have a choice. One choice is that we can ALL get our children to behave in class and send them to school prepared. Or, we can remove them from the system and homeschool them. And don’t think that the word private in the school name is a cure all. It is not. Many private schools have the same if not worse problems with bad moral influences and teaching standards. And don’t even get me started on the teaching standards. La Shawn Barber addresses curriculum very well and she agrees with our decision to homeschool.
I feel sorry for kids stuck in failing government schools because the parents don’t have the decency and motivation to get them out and/or get them help. HOMESCHOOL YOUR KIDS, for goodness sake. (Source)
I think that the public school system is in a death spiral. That is a pilot term that basically says that you feel like you are headed in the right direction, but the other indicators are telling you that you are going to crash if you don’t make some major corrections. If you disregard those indicators then the problem will only get worse and you will crash. Unless we can get our public schools systems, and more importantly, get the majority of the parents to take action, then the best way to deal with these dumb teaching methods and rules like the “no grade lower than a 50″ is to get off the public school plane using our homeschool parachute before it crashes with our kids on board.