October 21, 2020
In the most recent issue of District Deeds the issue of standards-based grading was brought forth. The issues brought forth included limiting what is actually taught in the classroom, data mining on our students, the overwhelming task that teachers will now have to face, limiting students’ desires to achieve and removing societal knowledge. While all of these issues can and most likely will occur, the NAACP believes far more devastating issues need to be addressed.
Teachers currently have, for the most part, used data to support a student’s grade. By using the SBG form, teachers will now use their judgement along with student work to decide which students exceed, meet, approach, or do not meet standards. There are teachers, who for whatever reason, DO NOT LIKE SOME STUDENTS! These teachers will be a detriment to the students they do not like! It’s human nature. It happens. The students in struggling schools will be hurt worse by this because their parents do not have the time to come to school and fight for their student. Teachers are not as intimidated by these parents as they are of the parents who threaten to sue if things do not go their way.
In an article discussing SBG, author Lee Ann Jung brings forth 10 things to consider before going to this model. The one that rang the loudest was this one: “Schools who’ve successfully implemented a standards-based grading initiative start with getting everyone, parents, and teachers, on board with the purpose of assessment. Think of this as your Northstar for the initiative.” Has any of this been vetted through our parents, community or even the teachers’ union? This initiative is just another way for this district to use their “smoke and mirrors” marketing ploys to tell parents how much they care for all students. This is NOT going to help any of our students to do better in school. By switching gears in the middle of the year pertaining to grades, they have just added another level of dysfunction to an already challenging school year. We need positive leadership from the top if our students are going to perform better in school. This includes having an actual plan that is not just educational jargon but substantiated by facts and proven ways to help students.
Our district gladly accepted the extra FUNDING from Governor Newsome. But where is the plan for how they are using it? Why aren’t departments allowed to spend ANY money at this time unless Cindy Marten approves it? Where is the accountability for where and how the money is going? Is the district using COVID funding to clear the deficit they built up?
Trustee Barrera will lead you to believe that he is all about helping minority students. The majority of the students in the SDUSD are Hispanic. Interestingly, there was NO mention of Hispanic Heritage Month on either the district website or any flag flying in front of the Education Center. He also claims that there are some schools that will be allowed to return to all-day in Phase I of the COVID Plan. However, in the SDEA reopening plan, there is NO mention of this happening in Phase I. As a matter of fact, the unions states; “as we move forward to whatever the next phases of reopening may look like, it will be more important than ever that we maintain our unity and be guided by science.” And they should be guided by science and not the rhetoric from our school board making false promises to parents and teachers about how and what they plan on doing to reopen our schools.
Having said all of this, it is critical for us to “Lift Ev’ry Voice” in San Diego to have the current leadership STOP making false promises to our students. Speak the truth once and for all.
Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch