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Passing grades for societal needs over personal skill sets. A problem and solution.

Updated: Jul 6, 2023

What if I told you that many school kids are passed to the next level or graded higher than their performance by school teachers?

This is why when many kids were forced into remote learning or homeschooling in 2020, parents were noticing their kids struggled with concepts they thought they had mastered based on prior report cards from the schools. We can thank the initial push of the No Child Left Behind Act for this, but the blame does not end there, and the Department of Education has also proven to be fruitless. This sentiment of a push to the next grade level has never left the schools. Instead of children progressing based on true mastery, they're just passed along to the next teacher. It is an endless cycle that can have a very poor toll on children who are advanced, gifted, or in need of further support.

As a former teacher, I have witnessed administration pressure teachers into higher marks or passing kids who are struggling, immensely. I witnessed this in private and public sectors. I love that I can truly evaluate where my children are, and stay on the skills they need to work on. We also do not move along, never to return to a concept. We can also advance ahead where need be as a homeschooling family. Memorization for a high test score will more times than not end in forgotten information, even if a child Aced a test they memorized information for. This is how information is not retained later down the road. If it meant no real value to the child and the ultimate goal is a grade, the information will not be stored in their brain in a manner where they can relocate it. So what is the point? To create a population of people able to retain just enough information, for just the right amount of time, on a pre-determined topic.

This is a huge reason why I personally homeschool, however I understand that is not a  logical solution for all families.

How would I solve this problem within schools? I would petition for teachers to stay with groups of kids for several grade levels. Children do not "move up" per say, rather they are with the same teacher for several years, allowing the teacher to properly assess them and work with them, instead of passing incomplete lessons and skill sets to a new teacher every year.  Essentially, the kids are meeting a new stranger at the start of the year who then has to get to know this child academically and socially in a small amount of time. I would love to see this change.

This is not a radical solution and many countries and even some private U.S schools follow a similar model.

Most teachers obtain an education that masters several grade levels. I for one would love to remain with the same group of kids for grades K-3RD and this is something I invision for myself amongst the homeschooling community. (See our class availability: also would love to see it for all school children and teachers. It would bridge a small gap between what families and kids truly need and what society has strategically designed. That design is failing and its about time it is dismantled for the sake of future generations.

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Dan Shumway
Dan Shumway
Jun 29, 2023

This is so spot on Tiffany. Excellent job describing the issues and solutions.

Tiffany Campo
Tiffany Campo
Jul 03, 2023
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