In Illinois, Oak Park and River Forest High School administrators will now require teachers to adjust their classroom grading scales to account for the skin color or ethnicity of its students. Let me repeat that…
Oak Park and River Forest High School administrators will now require teachers to adjust their classroom grading scales to account for the skin color or ethnicity of its students.
This is called “Transformative Education Professional Development & Grading.” It’s transformative, all right. It is a great way to transform black students into societal cripples who cannot master what many behavioral scientists believe are the most crucial skills for life success, because they are given an institutional pass.
This ridiculous and divisive concept is, of course, yet another effort to eliminate persistent discrepancies between racial groups by pretending that they are caused by racism, and lowering standards so everyone has an equally low bar to clear. OPRF will order its teachers to exclude from their grading assessments variables it says disproportionately hurt the grades of black students, like for missing class, misbehaving in school or failing to turn in assignments. This will, you know—don’t they know?—set up black students to skip work, misbehave in other settings, and fail to complete their assigned jobs and tasks.
“Traditional grading practices perpetuate inequities and intensify the opportunity gap,” reads a slide in the PowerPoint deck outlining its rationale and goals. This is exactly backwards. Longer ago than I care to think about, I oversaw a study by sociologist Amitai Etzioni, then University Professor at George Washington University. Etzioni’s research indicated that
”The assumption is that kids are machines and that all you have to do to get more output is to increase the input of books, teachers and time. They are neglecting the development of the children as human beings.”
He believed that it was crucial to train students to develop self-discipline, integrity, responsibility, and respect. I oversaw the publication of his paper, and was and am convinced that his thesis was both logical and supported by the data. But OPRF leaders want to do the exact opposite of what Etzioni recommended by attaching no penalties or consequences to students’ failure to develop those skills. White students are better at them, after all, so it is racist to accord them any value at all.
According to the Illinois State Board of Education, 38 %t of OPRF sophomore students taking the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) failed, with a 77% failure for black students, 49% for Hispanics, 27%or Asians and 25% for whites.
How will allowing black students to skip class and homework assignments remedy the disparity while they get higher grades than they deserve? I have no clue. “Equity based” grading practices seek to deceptively raise the grade point averages of black students and lower scores of higher-achieving Asian, white and Hispanic students because that’s how to achieve the mission of “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice.”
“By training teachers to remove the non-academic factors from their grading practices and recognize when personal biases manifest, districts can proactively signal a clear commitment toward DEIJ,” said Margaret Sullivan, associate director at the Education Advisory Board, which sells consulting services to colleges and universities. She gets paid to convince school that grading based on traditional classroom testing and homework performance are “outdated practices” and foster “unconscious biases.”
The Associated Press interviewed woke science teacher Brad Beadell of Santa Clara, California (you know: California) who is an advocate of “Equity based” grading practices. He said he has “stopped giving zeros and deducting points for late work” as well as allowing students “unlimited retakes for quizzes and tests.”
Because in life, you always get do-overs until you succeed…or at least black citizens will. In the interest of diversity, equity and inclusion…
The school administrators are denying the account:
It has come to the District’s attention that a recent article in the online West Cook News inaccurately states that at the Board of Education’s May 26 meeting, Oak Park and River Forest High School announced that it will implement a race-based grading system in the 2022-2023 school year. This is not true.
OPRFHS does not, nor has it ever had a plan to, grade any students differently based on race. The article contains a variety of misleading and inaccurate statements. The article’s mischaracterization of the Board meeting is unfortunate and has caused unnecessary confusion.
As part of the Board of Education’s strategic plan, the OPRFHS Grading and Assessment Committee was formed to examine national research on objective, unbiased practices for determining whether students have mastered academic content. At the Board of Education’s May 26 meeting, the administration’s representative to the OPRFHS Grading and Assessment Committee provided an initial report that included a progress update on the committee’s examination of grading practices.
At no time were any statements made recommending that OPRF implement a race-based grading approach.
Prior to implementing grading changes, if any, recommendations will be made to the Board at a public meeting. Again, contrary to the title of the article, the district has not implemented, and has no intention of implementing, any grading and assessment policy based on race.
As the OPRFHS Grading and Assessment Committee continues its work, the district is committed to keeping the community updated to any changes. We encourage the community to seek information directly from the district or other reliable news sources rather than internet sources that continue to share inaccurate information.
I don’t trust journalists and I don’t trust school administrators. It may be that the story was hyped and fabricated. It may be that the school got caught, got cold feet, and is covering up. Margaret Sullivan is real, and so is “equity based grading,” unfortunately. As is now often the case, it is not easy to determine what really is going on.