It's a kid's dream come true. They bring home a report card to their parents that shows their less-than-stellar grades. Their parents aren't happy. But wait! What's this? They've got the option to change their grades. Yes, change them to something better and closer to the beginning of the alphabet. Sound crazy? Well, it's true.
Yeshiva Ketana, a Jewish school in Inwood, New York, for kids kindergarten through eighth grade enclosed a letter to parents when it sent home students' report cards in early January. The letter starts off talking about how report cards aren't the only indication of how kids are doing in school (which is good!), but then the last paragraph reads something incredibly unique and somewhat peculiar.
The letter states:
"Since our goal is to share accurate information with the parents, and not to discourage or hurt a student, great discretion must be used before allowing your child to view his report card. Certainly, report cards should not be seen by students without parental permission and guidance. If after reviewing the enclosed report card, you would like us to develop a second version of this report card for your son with higher grades, please call..."
Here's the full letter:
What do you think of this policy? Brilliant? Befuddling? Best idea ever? Source: Jerry Richter / Yeshiva Ketana of… pic.twitter.com/JdIQRYSW6X— The Jewish Standard (@JewishStandard) January 15, 2016
Some people, not surprisingly, are outraged or at the very least scratching their heads over this concept. One Twitter user wrote, "This is a disgrace!! The coddling of kids has got to stop. There is no accountability anymore. Sad."
While it's always encouraging to hear that all schools don't blindly follow what seems to almost be a nationwide curriculum and standard, giving kids the opportunity to "do over" their grades seems like it has the potential to backfire.
Of course, we all want our children to know they do have the chance to right their wrongs and to make better choices next time, but... why not just wait until next time? Wouldn't the lesson sink in better that way?
Giving kids the immediate opportunity for higher grades strips so much accountability away from children. Most of us know what it's like to have brought home a poor test score or a not-so-great report card — it isn't fun. But hopefully, in a lot of cases, that in and of itself was the motivation we needed to try harder, go for extra credit or ask more questions during the lesson. If students know their report card grades aren't final, will they do that? Why would they?
Of course, it's unclear what "developing a second version of the report card" entails, but still, it seems like said second version would be best the following semester and due to the student's hard work.
Education certainly isn't one size fits all. What clicks instantly for some kids is a flat-out enigma to others. Schools shouldn't treat all kids the same. And a little coddling is good with young children. But report card do-overs seem like they'll do more harm than good. Unless, of course, teaching kids that there's always a way out is a good thing.
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