Justice writes "
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.
Edit: As of Dec. 2006 the new Super has at least updated the "news from the Super" page. Now if he could do something about the rest of the website ...