The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 6, 2012

Letter: New school grading system has flaws

Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — The achievements of our school systems are amazing.

We now start formal education with 4-year-olds and have kindergarten students reading and writing grammatically correct paragraphs.

What is more amazing is our state and federal school administrators think all students are capable of this level of learning.

The quality of our schools is only one factor in a student’s ability to learn. Other factors are the student’s mental capacity, physical condition, emotional state, socio-economic background and parental support.

Rather than the quality of the school, the new grading system may only indicate the economic and cultural status of the school district. There was a generation of men and women who didn’t have kindergarten, learned to read and write in first and second grade and were able to put men on the moon.

There will always be “A” and “D” students, whether they are given those grades or not. I think teachers should be allowed to give “F’s” and not pass poor performers on to the next grade.

School principals should be managers and facilitators rather than auditors and report generators. They should ensure that teachers have all of the supplies and equipment they need to do their jobs.

Repairs and maintenance should be timely without a lot of bureaucratic and red tape.

The increased demands on our elementary teachers force them to work 12-hour days; eight hours of classroom or supervision, then another four hours grading papers, completing reports, preparing lesson plans, meetings and parent-teacher conferences.

Class sizes are too large. Teachers cannot spend the time they need on the slower students. Some students cannot speak or understand English, yet they are placed in regular classes. The increased workload will drive good teachers out of the profession and cause veteran teachers to retire.

Gary Hunter