Axe the Honor Roll!

I went through a stage in my life when I was a less than diligent student. It isn’t that I wasn’t working, I just wasn’t working on the things my teachers had assigned as homework. The result was that there were a couple of 9-weeks periods in junior high school when I didn’t make the honor roll.

I have never personally encountered the wrath of God, but the wrath of my parents when I failed to make the honor roll was a near enough substitute to last a lifetime. So, where was Bill de Blasio Warren Wilhelm Jr. when I needed him? De Blasio’s New York City Department of Education is moving to ban the honor roll.

[A] new DOE guidance warns that “recognizing student excellence via honor rolls and class rank can be detrimental to learners who find it more difficult to reach academic success.”

The solution? Do away with standards–i.e., “academic success”–altogether! That way, no one can achieve academic success and no one will feel bad. Or good.

Even grades can negatively influence “future student performance.”

That is a ridiculous assertion. Grades positively influence future student performance, especially when your parents exhibit a total lack of sympathy when they aren’t very good. But even in a less functional family, how can a student know when he or she is doing better (or worse) if there are no grades?

Instead, DOE’s geniuses want to emphasize “contributions to the school or wider community, and demonstrations of social justice and integrity.” Staff should “eliminate practices that penalize students who have been marginalized based on their race, culture, language and/or ability.”

Who needs to know how to do trigonometry if you can just substitute “demonstrations of social justice and integrity?” Where were these people when I was trying to figure out what the cosine of an angle was? Social justice is so much easier. Especially these days, when your teacher probably can’t do trigonometry either but is hell on wheels when it comes to left-wing cliches.

Of course, the real goal is simply to help adults who run the schools hide their failures in getting kids to learn. That’s why the teachers unions and their allies in the system, like state education czar Betty Rosa, oppose standardized tests.

As with de Blasio’s entire crusade for “equity” in the schools, it boils down to a war on excellence that includes the drive to cancel Gifted & Talented classes, admissions screening for middle schools and even the testing that ensures the city’s elite high schools remain top-notch.

I think that is right. The war on standards mostly comes down to the fact that so many teachers and educational bureaucrats cannot themselves meet any meaningful standard, let alone teach our children how to do so.

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