What The “F” Is Goin’ On Around Here?

A quick rant..

The public school system in the U.S. is quite the quagmire. “No Child Left Behind”, a product of fake and faulty bi-partisanship between President Bush and Ted Kennedy, is a confusing, lumpy mess, kind of like, well, Ted Kennedy after a few pops of Bushmills.

It comes as no surprise, then, as to what is occuring in Grand Rapids, Michigan, under the nanny-state guidance of one Superintendent Bernard Taylor.

Superintendent Bernard Taylor has seen fit to institute a no “F” policy. That’s right. No one can fail under the watchful eyes of Superintendent Bernard Taylor. Instead of receiving the mentally stressing “F” for a failing grade, the student will now be graded a friendly “H”, which stands for “Held”.

“Held” means that if a student does so poorly in a subject, poorly enough that he/she/it would otherwise receive an “F” as a final grade, that student now has been given until the next trimester to “make up” for their lackluster performance. If, after the extra twelve weeks, they still cannot manage to push their grade up to the equally esteem-shattering mark of D-minus, then, and only then, will they receive a “failing grade”, which has yet to be defined.

As I recall, back in my day, I was once on the verge of failing a class (English, if you’re interested to know.). This occurred for a variety of reasons, but mainly I just loathed my teacher (Ms. Lomell. A woman with a very crusty personality.). The principle called me and a handful of others into his office to warn us of the prospect of failure, and it scared the hell out of me. I studied my rump off for the next 3 days, aced our last test, and squeaked out a D.

If an “H” was the worst I knew I could get, I probably would never have put in the effort for many of my classes, and I suspect many of my contemporaries would have felt the same way.

Perhaps the only thing worse than giving a student the grade “H” would be to give out money for doing well academically. I never thought I’d see the day when that would happen, but, then came yesterday, and I read this sort of “grade bribery” has been occurring in places like Ohio, New York, and our nation’s capital (that’s Washington, D.C. for anyone who may have received an “H”) for years.

Used to be the reward for doing well in school was the actual accomplishment of getting a good grade. Now, you either get a warm and fuzzy “H”, or you get paid to learn.

I guess we could call it the “Skool Kidz Bale-owt Akt of 2008”.

By Shawn Mallow

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