Someone at work mentioned that schools were discouraging the use of red pens to indicate errors, but I didn’t believe it. I guess I was wrong. Two anecdotes stood out:<blockquote>“I know a teacher who will ask questions in class, and if the student answers wrongly, she’ll say, ‘Hold that answer, I’ll be back with the right question soon,’ “ said Warner Robins High school counselor Beth McConnell.</blockquote><blockquote>Last year, at Fort Valley Middle School, students who made A’s were called out of class for a party in the school gym. This year, that celebration was opened up to all students with passing grades, said principal Quintin Green.</blockquote>This is so wrong. I’m lucky to be married to an educator who believes that article is bunk. She taught third grade last year and gave “D” students Ds. Parents freaked because their children had always been “A” students before—except they hadn’t. There is a certain strain of teacher that is all too happy to engage in grade inflation because it makes her job easier by removing any chance of confrontation.
It sickens me and it sickened my wife. She tells me that the kids are generally okay with red marks, poor grades, and criticism. They know when they aren’t performing well and getting such grades affirms this. She said that parents are the ones who can’t handle it; they’ve actually gone to her principal to contest the grades. Sandi, of course, had all the documentation to support her assessment so the parents would generally get their children transferred to an easier class, where they would get nice and inflated marks.
There is an interesting contrast to be made between her public school experience and her private school experience. She taught kindergarten for two years at Rancho Solano. In those classes, the kids learned to read, count, and generally everything that she later taught in first grade at a public school. Oh, and these kids were four years old. Her expectations (and the school’s) were high and the kids rose to meet them. When a parent did disagree with her teaching style (which was very rare), the school stood firmly behind her so long as she was right.
She would go back to a private school in a heartbeat, but she’s not sure if she would ever go back to a public one after her tenure there.