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Zeroes need not apply – Educators take note

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Debate rages on in the news, coffee shops, office water-coolers and pretty much anywhere we go regarding this phenomenon known as the “No Zero Policy.”  To date I have not met a single educated person who agrees with this ridiculous policy.  Of course I haven’t had an opportunity to speak with any of the geniuses in the school system who put more trust in “gurus” than they do in science and fact.  Suffice it to say, any reasonable, thinking, successful person will tell you the no zero policy is an insult to those who work hard to achieve their goals in life.

What message are we sending to our children if they are permitted to pass without completing or, as in many cases, not even attempting to complete assignments received in school?  Are we telling them that it is okay to be a slacker?  Are we relaying to them the message  the world does indeed owe them a living?  How can anything good come out of sending our children on to university, college, or into the workforce completely ill prepared for the realities these institutions will force them to face?  Yet these are precisely the messages we are sending them out there with.

On the other hand, isn’t this trend toward not allowing the little darlings to fail sending a completely wrong message to the kids who work hard, complete their assignments, and strive to better themselves at every turn?  Why are we pulling these successful students down?  We are being completely unfair to them.  They work hard.  They produce the required work, on time, well researched and understood.  How is it at all fair to them to have to stand beside a lazy, slacking failure and be told they are equals in the eyes of the school system?

This started decades ago when the geniuses in the education system started grading on a curve.  Grading on the curve gave educators and boards of education the ability to show more successes than actually existed.  Again, this system made victims of those who truly worked hard.  It brought 99% students down in grade by several percentage points in order to increase the grades of those who either couldn’t manage the work, or were too lazy to even be bothered trying to manage the work.

School boards were now able to boast higher graduation rates.  They were able to declare their programs a success.  The problem is, and still is, these programs are producing false results.  Grading on the cure and now, the infamous, no zero policies are letting schools say, “Hey, we are doing a great job.”  Unfortunately, such is not the case.  Schools are pouring out their failures and saddling the universities and the workforce with people who are not capable of succeeding.

The victims in this mess are the children, now young adults, who are about to be taught lessons they should have been taught in the school system.  They will be suddenly learning that slacking, failing to complete work assignments, and expecting the system to just put them through is a fallacy and fantasy that will not come true.  Gone are the days, for these young adults, when their inability to complete a task, or their unwillingness to try to complete a task will be considered acceptable.  These young adults are going to find out universities and employers are not going to carry them for long.  Poor Harry is going to be devastated when he comes to his construction job and finds out he MUST dig a certain number of holes a day in order to keep his job.  Sally is going to be extremely stressed when she gets her first semester results from community college or university and the word FAIL appears several times on her transcripts.  University professors and employers haven’t got the time to deal with slackers.  They have no time to hound employees and students to produce their work on time.  Employers will fire these people.  Universities, with little or no emotion, will fail these people and show them the great big exit doors.  But will it be the fault of the universities, colleges or the employers?  Not in the least.  The fault will lie with principals and school boards who force teachers to toe the “no zero policy” line.

Fortunately we have an answer to this problem in Edmonton, indeed in Alberta.  Simply ask your school principal if they have a no zero policy.  If the answer is in the affirmative simply don’t send your child to that school.  Funding for students in Alberta follows the student.  There is no requirement to send your child to any particular school based on location.  Simply send your children to schools where they will receive a zero where a zero is warranted.  Other solutions are internet schooling, home schooling or private school systems.  All of these are place where zero work equals zero grades.  In the end, when the funding dries up the principals will be replaced.  It is all about dollars and scents, and common SENSE.

We can blame the schools for our children’s failures or we can take the time and energy to ensure our children are in schools where preparation for the REAL WORLD is the forefront of each educator’s agenda.  Let’s force our schools to do the job they are there to do.  Any principal who wants to test silly theories should be forced out of the system and be replaced by real educators.  Principals like Ross Sheppard High School’s Ron Bradley are nothing but a deterrent to our childrens’ success.

Ross Sheppard High School principal Ron Bradley told dozens of teachers in a staff meeting last Friday they must stay focused on their work educating students and helping teens graduate despite controversy around the school’s grading practices. Someone at that meeting recorded Bradley’s comments and released the recording to news organizations.
Edmonton Journal – September 6, 2012

It is time for us to bombard our School Board Trustees, provincial MLA’s and for those who still have kids in school, it is time to confront the educators, holding them to the standard we have held ourselves to.  Teachers are expected to prepare students for the realities they will face in the real world.  Well, in the real world, which is where my company exists, you produce or you walk.  If I fail to produce I am out of business.  My company will not become a haven for failures, a social service, so to speak, for those who have been taught that not good enough is good enough.  There is not, and will never be a “no zero policy” in the real world.

Horses and Politics. Is there anything else?

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