Students must earn true grades
Remember when: Earning a trophy was proof that your team came in first, or that you were exceptional, maybe even the most valuable player; banks failed; automobile-makers failed; lessons were learned from failure; success was a result of effort and success meant something.
Our system of government as created, provides that we are free to succeed or fail. This freedom is the driving force behind our greatness. It defines our culture, promotes a sense of purpose, and breathes life into our Constitution. When success and failure are no longer true indicators, we can safely state that the vitality of our nation is under attack.
Recently, the Hernando School Board was asked to approve of a policy that would erase any grade less than a 40 percent, and automatically change it to a 40. The resulting grade would not be a true indicator. The reasoning was that it would give the students a greater chance at passing the class. In theory, it would help student motivation. The reality is that students who are striving to achieve, will do so. If they are putting effort in, and are earning 10s and 20s, they most likely have a learning challenge that needs attention.
Simply awarding 40s will mask accurate identification of said challenges. It would do more harm than good.
Highly qualified teachers take pride in the learning gains of their students. When a student is experiencing difficulty, they do not give up on the student. They revisit, reteach, and try every way to motivate the student. In the history of the world, teaching is the most honorable profession. When a student is doing his best, he cannot fail. If his grades are still very low, it is imperative that the underlying reason is addressed.
The assignment of grades should and must remain under the purview of the professional classroom teacher.
At the board workshop I ensured that the board received an explanation of the 40 percent policy which was included in the proposed handbook. I believed it was a significant issue that needed clarification and discussion. This issue is important for the board, and the public to understand. School districts throughout the country are considering similar policies, and a number have adopted this change.
Rest assured that Hernando County will not dumb down education any time soon. In fact, I would support raising the passing grade to 65 percent as the current 60 percent is too low. Following the workshop, I recommended that the superintendent remove the item from the handbook. It has been removed. In any event, during the discussion it was obvious that the board was not in support of this new policy.
The learning process is far greater than a single test or grade. It is extremely important that we continue to impart the valuable life lessons of preparation, persistence, and perseverance. The amount of effort students put in will equal their success in life. This will enable our future generations to become productive citizens. Handouts and bailouts will not.
One of the tools that teachers have in their arsenal is the assignment of grades. Mandating the assignment of anything that is not a true grade is an insult to the profession, and will negatively impact our students.
John K. Sweeney, Hernando School Board member
Problems with glass recycling
When I heard that Hernando County had resumed glass recycling I was elated. Now I read that it is being used as a cheap paperweight under the pretense of recycling. That may seem like a good idea, however, like any good idea it must include all factors involved.
Unless Scott Harper has taken a course in avian curiosity and discretionary foraging habits of scavenger birds and actually knows what he is talking about, I will assume that the seagulls, vultures and America's national symbol, the bald eagle (a scavenger) will ingest shards of crushed glass in their efforts to root out the layers of food deposited there daily.
I will have no part of this. I will now, as I have done in the past, take my glass to Pasco County, where they actually recycle. I moved from a county in Illinois that was notorious for making up their own rules. It appears I have landed in another one.
Parry Donze, Brooksville
Re: Dixie Baseball dispute
Real message lost in the lawsuits
How frivolous and ridiculous can one be? Team sports are to help youth develop and become young men and women. To teach them how to work together, plan, practice and carry out skills learned to ensure victory on the field. If a player makes an error that costs a team a goal, run, or what have you, it is a lesson learned and all involved learn from it.
Protesting, hiring lawyers and taking it to court teaches the wrong thing and completely destroys the message. I can not be more distraught and ashamed of the adults, executives, coaches and legal personnel in this farce. It sends the wrong message and only shows to the children the worst in adults and the system of American law and so-called fair play.
I am completely disappointed with the whole situation.
Frank Gallagher, New Port Richey