Portland Schools: “Equitable Grading” Means No Failure Or Success

Portland Schools: “Equitable Grading” Means No Failure Or Success

Portland Schools: “Equitable Grading” Means No Failure Or Success

As we prepare for another school year, Portland Public Schools are preparing to test out a new “grading practice” that aims to make everyone happy and mediocre.

The kids may not learn anything, and there may be no metric to measure success or failure, but by all that the teachers’ union and the school district find holy, THE KIDS WILL FEEL THE EQUITY.

Portland Public Schools is workshopping new “equitable grading practices” that bar teachers from assigning “zeros” to students who cheat or fail to turn in assignments.”

The district’s initiative aims to address “racial disparities” and “inequities” in grading and instruction, a “journey” that the district began “during the pandemic,” a handout reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon says. “Grading for equity,” the handout states, includes eliminating “zeros” as a grade—even when a student cheats or fails to turn in a test or assignment. It also calls for no penalties for late work and no grades for both homework and “non-academic factors,” such as “participation, attendance, effort, attitude, [and] behavior.”

The new grading practices, which are expected to be implemented districtwide by 2025 after some classrooms adopted them last year, reflect left-wing efforts across the country to achieve “equitable outcomes” among all students. In California, for example, new equity-focused math curriculum guidelines aim to narrow the gap between gifted and non-gifted learners by abandoning “student tracking” practices that help accelerated learners access more advanced instruction.”

The district’s new “bias-resistant” grading initiative argues that teachers should assign grades “based on valid evidence of a student’s content knowledge, not on evidence that … is likely to be influenced by a teacher’s implicit bias or reflect a student’s environment.” Teachers who offer extra credit, give zeros for cheating, penalize late work, and dock students for poor attendance or classroom behavior may be guilty of such bias.”

The initiative also calls to only “base grades on summative assessments, instead of classwork, homework, formative assessments, etc.” Should a student cheat or fail to submit an assignment on time, teachers should provide a grade of at least 50 percent, the district handout outlining the initiative says. The initiative also calls to replace the typical “0-100” grading scale with a “0-4″ scale.”

This is the teachers’ union dream come true. No more zeros or failing grades, so less dealings with angry parents. No more penalizing kids for cheating, so let a hundred Chat GPT papers flourish. No more trying to help struggling kids get better grades, because a teacher can now just give them a good grade because “they tried.” No more challenging a gifted student with advanced coursework, because why single them out and make other kids feel bad that they can’t do the work? All hail happy mediocrity!

Who loses out? The kids, obviously, who will not be helped to achieve their full individual potential, or have deficits in their education addressed. Studies continually show that the key to all education is reading. Everyone knows this. But in Portland Public Schools, the child that fails to grasp reading, in this new “equity grading practice,” is going to get pushed along in order to not be socially out of step with their peers, never get a grade or assessment that reflects their inability (and thus hides it from parents and the state), and by the end of their education, they can maybe read and write just enough to put the wrong name on the coffee cup as a barista. Yes, that’s a joke, but if literacy is the foundation of education, and Portland Public Schools are going to pursue “equity” over education, then the end result is going to be that the school district will be decimated as parents who care will pull their kids out or supplement their child’s education, and the kids left behind are the ones that Portland claims need the MOST “equity.”

And of course, good teachers who care about student learning and success will be so frustrated by this policy – and the bad teachers who will remain in the classroom because of it – that they will end up leaving.

Now, Portland Public Schools is “workshopping” this, and it hasn’t been fully implemented yet. And we can thank the pandemic lockdowns for letting them experiment more fully with this “equity” crap.

While the district says it began implementing its equity-based grading policies in some classrooms during the pandemic, its delay in adopting them districtwide “has led to a mosaic of grading practices across schools and across the district that is confusing to students and families.” As a result, the district will in the coming years work to “consolidate” its policies, according to its equitable grading practices handout.”

“We need to organize and consolidate our efforts towards common policies to more consistently and better support students and families with equitable grading,” the handout says.”

Ah yes, because the pandemic lockdowns and online school were SUCH huge successes. (That was sarcasm.) And the only reason that the “equity-based grading” has failed up to this point is because there are TOO MANY “grading practices” from individual schools, and if Portland just had ONE district-wide policy, then EVERYONE would just love it and all would be well!

But what do you expect from a school district and a city that prioritizes the homeless over students? The school district decided it was better to move a school bus stop than insist that the city of Portland move a homeless camp.

… the email that was sent to our newsroom was dripping with distress.”

It said, “I have filed countless reports through the City for a specific camp. I have called 311, I have reached out to Reed College and Portland Public Schools. I am now reaching out to you.”

It goes on to say, “On Southeast Steele Street, as of today, there are 19 camps/vehicles/tents/piles of belongings covered in tarps. It spans four blocks. From Southeast 28th Avenue to 32nd Place, and it’s growing. There is only a portion of Steele Street that has a sidewalk. Pedestrians have to walk in the street, in order to walk up or down Steele.”

Dan Flannery and Susan McAuley live nearby. They didn’t write the email, but they easily could have. They’ve seen it all from the house where they’ve lived for eight years. They say they have been crime victims numerous times and have had three cars stolen.”

Susan says she’s also worried about a school bus stop for Hosford Middle School students — at 32nd and Steele — right in the middle of the encampments.”

“And that’s one of my complaints when I called the city was, this is a school bus stop and are kids getting off,” she said.”

So what will happen to the bus stop, with Portland schools opening in less than a month? We reached out to the district. They say the stop will be shut down and moved down the street to Southeast 28th and Colt Drive. That’s where we met with Interim Director of Student Transportation Brandon Coonrod.”

“Is it frustrating for you guys having to move stops over here, because of the camps that are over there?” we asked.”

“I wouldn’t say it’s frustrating,” said Coonrod. “I think it’s part of what we’re dealing with in the city right now, and I know the city has a lot of work to do, and it’s complicated work, and we’re just here to make sure we can get our kids safely to school. So we’ll let them do their process, and we’ll make sure we’re getting our kids safe. We don’t have an issue changing it if the need is there.”

I looked at Google Maps – given the location of the new bus stop and the current one, students will still have to walk through at least one block of the homeless camp, before they can get to a cross-street, in order to get to the new bus stop. The city apparently was tagging the vehicles and telling them to move, but will they actually enforce that? Pfffft. Just tell the middle schoolers to keep walking. Portland “cares.” Not about the kids, but look at the end result of “equity!” Everyone is equally miserable and unsafe!

Congratulations to the city of Portland and Portland Public Schools. You’ve clearly created a “equitable” utopia where everyone suffers – especially the students. The results from this “equitable grading practice” experiment are going to be a disaster, but never fear. When the school district loses more students and the money that goes with them, the school district and the teachers’ union will just ask for more money to keep the “equity” grift going.

Featured image via alamosbasement on Flickr, cropped, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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  • SFC D says:

    If grades are now irrelevant, why is Portland even continuing the charade? Shut the schools down. Otherwise, you’re wasting time and money. Issue a high school diploma on day one of first grade, and they’re done.

    • Scott says:

      because the teachers need to get paid for doing nothing, so that the union reps can get a bigger paycheck for doing even less..

      On a related note, how is it that minority communities haven’t figured out that this is blatant racism, with these “teachers” saying that minority kids aren’t smart enough to make it within the rules, that they need a handout..

      Of course liberals will continue to support this crap, because it moves the agenda forward, that being to raise a generation of ignorant drones more than happy to live on whatever pittance they get from their betters, along with violent, racially motivated foot soldiers who will help them achieve their “utopia”..

      Prove me wrong..

  • rbj1 says:

    “The district’s initiative aims to address “racial disparities” and “inequities” in grading and instruction”

    So racial minorities are actually inferior, according to the teachers union.

    • Dannie Decker says:

      It should be mandated that ALL, 100%, of the products of those schools MUST be hired by the city of Portland. Then, between that and all the men getting pregnant there and great minds running things… LOL! Friggin insanity!

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