Earlier this month Board of Education Commissioners Sanchez and Cook proposed a resolution which would make changes to SFUSD’s interim assessment policy. Most notably it would allow teachers to opt out of district assessments. Unfortunately, parent voices have been absent from the conversation.
It’s high time we started tearing down the belief that “grading” schools somehow informs parents or improves education. Not only does it unnecessarily worry parents, it’s unfairly blames teachers, increases segregation in our communities and undermines our public education system as a whole.
When grades are shared correctly, they can have incredibly POSITIVE impact on children. What we choose to say and how we say it… IS IMPORTANT.
CARE proponents (read: Lowell families) who originally marketed their proposal as “two-track accelerated Algebra” have repackaged their plan using the words “optional pathways” and “choice” to advocate for a reinstatement of tracking in SFUSD.
The reality is… even though grading is one of the MOST ESSENTIAL teacher responsibilities, it’s amazing how little support they get in doing it in truly meaningful ways.
SFUSD leads the way in designing a new school accountability system which moves away from using ONLY test scores to evaluate school performance.
The discussion going on about middle school Algebra instruction is raising some good questions about the challenges our district faces regarding both implementation of the new Common Core standards, as well as the difficulty many teachers are experiencing in differentiating for our students. More importantly, it brings up some underlying issues that deserve our attention: communication and accountability
We can make some great and positive changes if we implement the following recommendations…