In the previous post, Ethics Alarms extolled appropriately-involved Iowa parent Kimberly Riecks as an Ethics Hero for getting in the faces of an irresponsible school board. Let’s hope there are some Kimberly Klones in Fairfax County, Virginia, my back yard, because internal Fairfax County Public Schools communications, obtained by local parents through a Freedom of Information Act request, show that officials have secretly implemented “equitable grading” at schools across the district.
[In the “Animal House” clip above, Otter represents public school administrators and Flounder stands for Fairfax County parents.]
“Equitable grading” is exactly what it sounds like. It is a progressive, social justice, crack-brained approach to education in pursuit of “antiracism” and to battle “institutional bias” despite there being no substantive research that supports such measures as anything but destructive to learning. The district’s officials denied the initiative when a suspicious parent inquired, but it has been proceeding in the shadows.
The Fairfax County District used federal coronavirus relief funds (hmmmmm..) to purchase a book for teachers titled “Grading for Equity: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How It Can Transform Schools and Classrooms,” though “equitable grading” has been creeping into classrooms since 2015. It picked up speed while the schools were shuttered due to Wuhan virus panic. “Equitable grading” removes grade penalties for late assignments and in class misconduct, and also allows students to retake tests and redo assignments, often on an unlimited basis. This is all a reaction to the continuing lag of minority students (except Asian-Americans—it’s a mystery!), especially blacks, in school achievement.
Since educators can’t figure out how to bring that group’s grades into the range of white students the old fashioned way–teach good study habits, hold them to high standards, recruit parents into providing a home culture conducive to learning and the love of it—the new approach, aka woke desperation, is to stop penalizing students for the counter-productive and toxic habits and behavior that have kept them failing.