Runnin’ schools

All who know me know I’m opposed to Federal intervention on so many levels. But sometimes I think school boards would be a higher caliber group if they were selected and not voted on. It often seems that the least qualified people are elected to board positions little better than the high school popularity contests we all experienced back then.

I’d never really given much thought to school boards until a couple of years ago. When we were living in Arkansas, the school board there was constantly a circus show. They made decisions not to benefit the school or the majority of students, but instead to—well, truthfully, I still don’t understand why. The more puzzling thing is that the circus performers continued to get elected: one of the members was re-elected even after his own children went to a different school! The school wasn’t good enough for his own child, but he could make decisions for that school? I still don’t understand why he was re-elected.

Here in Mississippi now, it looks like we might see the beginning of another circus. All over the state of Mississippi, schools are going to a 10-point grading system (90-100=A; 80-89=B; etc.). The reason, and it is a very good one, is that GPAs are determined not by the number grade, but by the letter grade. So, a student in the 10-point system can make a 92 and it’s an A; a student in the 8-point system, which Lafayette is on, can make a 92 and only earn a B. The “number” is the same, but the letter grade is different. At the end of the year, the student with the A gets 4 points for the course in the 10pt system and the student in the 8pt system gets a 3. So even though they scored the exact same, the student in the 10pt system comes out with a higher GPA.

This matters greatly to prospective colleges. Everyone knows that. Or, at least, anyone having any sort of involvement with universities and colleges. But, one of our incredibly backward board members was quoted in the paper as saying it doesn’t matter to colleges if I student has an A average or a B average. I dunno what state he lives in that colleges don’t care, but it’s not Mississippi. Granted, colleges and universities look at standardized test scores like the SAT or ACT, but that’s only part of the picture. If two students have the same score on the ACT and all other things are equal, who’s getting in, the A student or the B student?

Of course it doesn’t make that big a difference for A/B students. But for those students in the B/C/D range, it could make a huge difference in college admittance or not.

And the school administration—a great set of administrators, I should add—has even recommended the change. So the School Board “hires” these administrators as they believe they’re the best available, but then they ignore their recommendations? Doesn’t make much sense.

Which brings me back to someone with a little more sense needs to step in. The Government will do it if we don’t…but again, not sure how I feel about that!

They should just all ask me what to do!



Filed under Columns

3 responses to “Runnin’ schools

  1. christicorbett

    It’s the Peter Principal in full effect!

  2. Chris

    I understand your agreement with this system. But IMHO,( getting into the issue of state control vs federal control), in all fairness, this should be out of the local hands and into the federal education system, because not all school districts operate on this same system, and – by your own admission – it creates an imbalance in the way the students are judged by the colleges.

    BTW – I figured a long time ago that politicians ( and the people who run for school board are, technically, politicians) aren’t the best people for the jobs. The only people who run are the ones who have the time to mess with it. Those who would actually do a great job are already doing great jobs elsewhere. Which means the politicians probably don’t have a clue, they just want the job. Take that to ANY level.

  3. Dave

    Roland: The sad fact is that democracy assumes a literate society! Democracy has never failed America but the American voter is failing democracy. Bumping up from local clowns and local Ring Masters to Federal clowns and federal Ring Masters IS NOT a solution.

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