Major California School System Vows to 'Combat Racism' by Changing Grading System

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

 

The second-largest school district in California is taking a “major step” in its battle against “racism” in classrooms — which it claims has “gone on for years and years” — by changing its grading-scale system.

As reported by San Diego’s NBC affiliate KNSD, the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) is overhauling the way it grades students. Board members say the changes are part of a larger effort to combat (alleged) racism.

District students will no longer be graded based on a yearly average, or whether or not they turn in assignments on time, which are just some of the major grading changes approved this week by the SDUSD.

(Is this where I jump in compare not being graded on whether an assignment is turned in on time with the real world, in which employees are very much “graded on” whether or not they complete reports and other requirements on time?)

According to data presented by the district, under the old grading system, teachers failed minority students more than White students. “A lot more,” the district said.

SDUSD Vice President Richard Barerra called the changes “a reckoning.”

“This is part of our honest reckoning as a school district. If we’re actually going to be an anti-racist school district, we have to confront practices like this that have gone on for years and years.”

There’s that term, again. “Anti-racist.”

In the era of pretend-systemic racism and prostration before the Black Lives Matter altar, it’s no longer good enough to be non-racist. Now, if you are to be truly non-racist, you must be proactively anti-racist. Can you imagine how your life would change if that standard were applied to everything in society you were “non,” or opposed to?

Anyway, here’s what the data showed SDUSD.

  • During the first semester of last year, 30% of all D or F grades were given to English learners.
  • One in four, 25%, of failing marks went to students with disabilities.
  • By ethnicity, 23% went to Native Americans. Another 23% of failing grades went to Hispanics.
  • 20% of D or F grades went to Black students.
  • Just 7% of failing marks went to White students.

In an effort to “change that racial imbalance,” the SDUSD school board voted unanimously last week to make several changes to its grading system, as reported by KNSD.

“Mastery of material” is now the benchmark. (Emphasis added)

Academic grades will now focus on “mastery of the material,” not a yearly average, which board members say penalizes students who get a slow start, or who struggle at points throughout the year.

Another big change, teachers can no longer consider non-material factors when grading. Things like turning work in on time and classroom behavior will now instead count towards a student’s citizenship grade, not their academic grade.

“Citizenship grade”? What the? Why not just give every student a participation trophy, call it day, and let the kids go home and play?

Student School Board Member Zachary Patterson, a junior at University City High School, told KNSD that while some of his classmates are concerned about the potential for grade inflation (exactly), overall the “feedback from his peers is positive.”

“I know students all across the school district are really happy with the idea that these other accountability measures are no longer going to be defining their understanding of knowledge.”

“Understanding” of knowledge? Knowledge is knowledge, kids. That “it is what it is,” thing.

This teacher — who does not teach in the SDUSD  — shared concerns that appear obvious to me, as well.

“These disparities are extremely disconcerting. A focus on mastery can be an excellent move, provided it is done right. But I have my concerns. Mastery based approaches are standard based. I’m a fan of standard-based education, but you can game this easily, if you want.”

Of course, it can be gamed. Moreover, will there not be an incentive to do just that, now that eyes will be focused on the new grading system to see what impact it has?

One question.

If the San Diego Unified School District’s manipulation of its grading system does result in “grade inflation,” as  “some students” in the district fear, how will that grade manipulation prepare students whose grades will have been inflated throughout their SCUSD career to enter college and compete against students whose grades have not been inflated for 12 years?

What, are SDUSD students just going to be able to bust out their “citizenship grades” to make up the difference?

Wait — I have a great idea.

Graduating minority SDUSD students who plan to attend college can simply apply to Harvard University. Reason being, Harvard, one of the stalwarts of the no-longer hallowed halls of academia, utilizes three different SAT score admission standards — based on race, as the NY Post reported.

Harvard sends recruitment letters to African-American, Native American, and Hispanic high schoolers with mid-range SAT scores, around 1100 on math and verbal combined out of a possible 1600.

Asian-Americans only receive a recruitment letter if they score at least 250 points higher — 1350 for women, and 1380 for men.

White students in states where Harvard attendance is sparse, such as Montana and Nevada, would receive a recruitment letter if they scored at least 1310 in the combined SAT math and verbal tests.

Racial discrimination?

John Hughes, a lawyer for Students for Fair Admissions, challenged the dean of admissions, William Fitzsimmons, in 2018: “That’s race discrimination, plain and simple.”

“It’s not,” insisted Fitzsimmons, claiming Harvard targets “certain groups” in order to “break the cycle” by trying to encourage students who normally wouldn’t apply to Harvard to consider doing so.

Translation: Of course it’s discrimination, based solely on race. And so is the new grading scale adopted by the San Diego Unified School District.

The SDUSD, Harvard University, and every other school in the country can put all the lipstick on this pig they want, but the facts remain.

“Tweaking” grading scales, admission standards, and anything else to affect a pre-desired outcome — based solely on race — is what it is.

Incidentally, in other “woke schools” news, as reported by Not the Bee, super-woke San Francisco Public Schools has announced it will rename 44 schools with “inappropriate” names like “Washington,” “Lincoln,” and “Paul Revere.”

Here are the “woke” criteria SFPS used in determining which schools will be renamed, per Not the Bee:

  • Anyone directly involved in the colonization of people.
  • Slave owners or participants in enslavement.
  • Perpetrators of genocide or slavery.
  • Those who exploit workers/people.
  • Those who directly oppressed or abused women, children, queer or transgender people.
  • Those connected to any human rights or environmental abuses.
  • Those who are known racists and/or white supremacists and/or espoused racist beliefs.

On a personal note, my two children are past their education days. Both of them enjoy successful careers. I can only imagine being the parent of a young child in 2020 America and being forced to navigate the “woke” nonsense of today’s government school systems.

To those of you who face that that challenge, you have my condolences.