End grading policy

Published 10:20 am Friday, October 7, 2011

A very patient Franklin School Board gave administrators ample opportunity Monday night to defend a misguided new grading policy that says no student can earn a grade lower than a 60.

The administration made its case.

The school board now needs to quickly scrap the policy and get Franklin’s public schools refocused on their core mission: preparing students to be contributing members of tomorrow’s workforce.

We get that there are a handful of students, especially from impoverished backgrounds, who try really hard in school and come up short. The new grading policy, in attempting to help those kids, does a huge disservice to a much larger student population: kids who are very capable but very unmotivated. To those kids, the policy sends all the wrong messages and undermines the educational foundation that is needed for them to be successful in college and the workforce.

The fact is that the administration moved out too quickly on a radical policy change and, incredibly, failed to inform key stakeholders — from parents to school board members.

Amid vigorous defense of a bad policy at Monday night’s school board work session, what we never heard from the administration was an apology for its poor handling of the matter. One is still owed.

Meantime, the school board should act quickly at its meeting next week to end the policy and attempt to restore the community’s confidence in our city’s public schools. That confidence is now badly shaken.