Tuesday, March 29, 2016

60 as the New 70 Reveals True Purpose of SC's Schools

If the state superintendent has her way, and she is garnering support from students, parents, and athletic directors, 60 will become the new 70 required to pass a course in South Carolina's schools. 

This change does not improve academics for our students; it merely puts window dressing on a disgrace. Why should all of South Carolina's schools be dumbed down to accommodate a few athletes whose grades fall between 60 and 69? The answer from SC's Superintendent of Educaton, Molly Spearman, is that SC's high standard of 70 to pass puts its athletes at a disadvantage to those of Georgia and North Carolina. So the goal of South Carolina's schools has become to get athletes into NCAA programs without having to attend junior college first.

The system as it is now is a sham. Ask yourself, if a high school graduate has difficulty with high school courses, how does he or she raise his or her grades by taking college courses. I think we know the answer.

No response I've seen has pointed out that NCAA eligibility is based on both grades and national test scores. Has the NCAA abandoned college readiness measures such as the SAT and ACT? If these students with low grades had higher test scores, the grades would become a non-issue.

More to the point, low-achieving students are practically pushed through the system that exists. Principals frown on teachers' having more than a couple of failures per class. Grading systems tell teachers to give students a minimum grade for the first quarter or semester so that the students will have a mathematical chance to pass the course. Teachers routinely figure out ways to avoid mathematical results of 68 or 69. It would be interesting to see a count of how many 68s or 69s appeared on Charleston County's report cards for the first semester. It won't be random.

Will students who made 60 in the first year of Spanish be as prepared for the second year as those who made 70? Logic says "no"; therefore, that deficit, though small, will dumb down the following course. Is that really what the majority of parents want of South Carolina's schools?

But wait--here's a plan:

South Carolina should drop its passing grade to 50. Then, SC athletes will have a big advantage over those from Georgia and North Carolina.

Makes just as much sense.

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