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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

No hurry, take your time

Hey, Larry, look what they're doing in Dallas:

Dallas school superintendent Michael Hinojosa and two trustees defended new classroom grading rules Friday, and urged teachers and parents to learn more about the requirements before dismissing them as misguided.

Teachers have derided the new rules as being too lenient on lazy students by requiring teachers to accept late work, give retests to students who fail and force teachers to drop homework grades that would drag down a student's class average.

You have to keep reading almost to the end to get any real common sense, from the student who thinks some of her peers might exploit the new rules: "I'll be interested to see how teachers advertise these rules


Larry Morris
Tue, 08/19/2008 - 8:36am

I'll have to look at this later, I just don't have the time right now, ...

Harl Delos
Tue, 08/19/2008 - 9:10am

Homework grades should be given only when the grades will "raise a student's average, not lower it."

Teachers need to teach, and they need to evaluate. The purpose of homework is to teach, not to evaluate. Evaluation should be done when you know someone isn't standing over the student, feeding him the answers.

Teachers must accept overdue assignments, and their principal will decide whether students are to be penalized for missing deadlines.

The function of a grade is to rate how much a student knows, not how quickly he learned it.

Students who flunk tests can retake the exam and keep the higher grade.

The function of a grade is to rate how much a student knows, not how quickly he learned it.

Teachers cannot give a zero on an assignment unless they call parents and make "efforts to assist students in completing the work."

In other words, it's the teacher's job to teach kids, even when they act like kids.

High school teachers who fail more than 20 percent of their students will need to develop a professional improvement plan and will be monitored by their principals. For middle school the rate is 15 percent; for elementary it's 10 percent.

On the other hand, if a taxi fleet had a mechanic doing brake jobs, and 10% of the cars he worked on failed to stop when you press on the brakes, they wouldn't even think about a professional improvement plan. They'd fire his ass.

Why is it so outrageous that a teacher, hired to teach, should be expected to teach?

Sometimes, it's easy to do a brake job. It's always filthy, but sometimes, the parts come off easily, you install new shoes or pads, and everything goes together easily. Sometimes, the parts are rusty, sometimes the springs are bent, sometimes the rotors or drums are scored and need to be turned, sometimes, you have to replace the rotors or drums because they're too warped to turn. It doesn't matter. You do what needs to be done, no matter what needs to be done, until the job is done. You don't junk the taxi because the brake job is a pain.

And you don't junk kids, either, even if it takes a little longer to teach one than another. Kids aren't a disruption of what the teacher is doing, kids are the reason there's a teacher at all. Teachers who can't deal with kids need to change occupations.