10 Point Grading Scale, Teacher Shortage, Vision: 2020

Where is the teacher’s voice in the district?

Dear JCPS,

I am very upset to hear once again that stakeholders in the community are yet again NOT being listened to in regards to JCPS decisions. Yesterday I saw the news article in regard to the SPP & G and the grading scale. I was not happy when the board switched the grading scale last summer to its current rendition and was happy to get the survey asking for our ideas and opinions on the grading scale. Now I am finding out that our Superintendent has taken it upon herself to throw out the recommendation from the SPP&G committee that used data from stakeholders to make a decision to put into place her own recommendation. We, as teachers, are again being told our opinions and ideas do not matter in the grand scheme. This is absurd! We are on the ones in the classrooms, dealing with the issues! We should be the first ones you ask and take our concerns and ideas very seriously!

As a middle school teacher for the last 12 years I have a much better grasp on what grading scale will work best for my students. I lived with the 7 point scale for 11 years, till we went to the hybrid scale this year. In the opinion of most teachers if you are going to have a 10 point scale for A’s and B’s it should be for all of the scale. We have an extremely large amount of students in middle school who would greatly benefit from a 10 point scale. I have a lot of students who have 67 or 68% and are failing, but under a 10 point scale they will no longer fail!

But the major issue is that our voice, the teacher’s voice, is being taken out of the equation! The district as a whole has taken a business idea and tried to equate it into teaching children. The business model works great when discussing finances and such, but not in the essence of the classroom. When people who have not been in the classroom for many years, who are separate from the day to day reality are making our day to day decisions, it leads to catastrophe and why our district is such in an uproar right now! Coming to visit a school and walking into a classroom for 5 to 10 minutes and getting a “dog and pony” show does not show the true reality! As many parents and teachers have been saying recently in Facebook comments and to others is simple – “Come walk a day in my schools”! Look at what we deal with on a daily basis and understand why we are mad! You talk of freezing our pay because we are “overpaid” compared to other “comparable” districts, but even these “comparable” districts are vastly different than us! You talk about drastic changes to the Code of Conduct to take away suspensions when behaviors are out of control in the schools! Teachers are a breaking point already and now we are told once again how undervalued we are by taking our opinions and throwing them away!

I am MAD! I spend so much time, energy, and money on my students and school! I take my profession, my calling seriously! I feel disrespected! I feel ignored! When will this stop? When teachers take a sick out like Detriot? When we have more non-certified teachers in classrooms, than certified because the teachers all leave? When will our voices be heard and you all realize we can only take so much!

A very upset middle school teacher!

NOTE: While the author’s identity is protected here, they are not anonymous to Dear JCPS. Any board member wishing to address the concerns shared here can contact our administrators to make a connection.

10 Point Grading Scale

Grading Scale Survey Results

This story from Allison Ross, Courier Journal, addresses changes to the grading scale that was approved with a 5-1 vote. Linda Duncan was the lone nay vote, stating that she is concerned that this change only widens the gap between A-B students and C-D students. Conversations on the Dear JCPS Facebook Page tended to agree with Ms. Duncan’s assessments. While most were in favor of the grading scale change, most felt that it doesn’t go far enough. Many also felt that they way the surveys were conducted (parent portal, online survey) provide greater access to a select demographic, and not necessarily representative of families who may have a harder time gaining internet access or finding time to participate in surveys. And that the survey wasn’t worded in a way that gave them choices, but merely, “do you approve of this or don’t you?” Many say they would have chosen an even 10 point scale for A through D if they had been given that choice.

As one commenter said:
“I remember the proposed change being referred to as a 10 point scale. I supported the change because it would level the college admissions/KEES playing field for JCPS graduates. I can’t figure out now, though, why we would want to level only the top half of the playing field.”

A copy of the survey and results are below:

grading scale survey results