The Brilliance and Stupidity of the DISD's New Effort-Based Grading Policy

Four days into the new school year we finally got to spend time with the boy's terrific, beloved, 31-year-vet homeroom teacher -- very exciting stuff, especially when I discovered I could still sit in a kindergartener's plastic seat without collapsing it. Before that, though, the principal -- an ebullient, sincere woman -- gathered a few hundred parents into the auditorium to outline and explain the Dallas Independent School District's new grading policies, which, she noted, will be reviewed in January, which was news to most of the assembled. The principal tried to assuage fears that the policy would make kids "lazy"; she lambasted "newspaper editorials" that scared parents into thinking their kids were being sent to schools where they wouldn't be expected to work for their grades. "It's called 'effort-based' for a reason," she said.

Alas, the debate rages on -- this time, from Waco via Austin, where the Statesman has reprinted Waco Tribune-Herald columnist John Young's op-ed concerning the policy. Young thinks the policy "commendably revolutionary" and "idiotic." Which, I'm beginning to discover, is what some folks think about parents who send their children to DISD. --Robert Wilonsky

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky