This is a message, emailed yesterday afternoon, to all Asbury Park teachers at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Upper Elementary School. It was sent by a school counselor, although the mandate clearly came from the Central Office, and instructs teachers that all students must pass every course, regardless of content knowledge or completion of homework.
This is a complicated year for grading. Some students, disproportionately low-income, suffered from lack of access to laptops and broadband internet, as well as trauma and disruption associated with a pandemic school year. Experts advise that schools should “accelerate, not remediate.” According to TNTP’s excellent report, this means teachers start with “the current grade’s content and provide ‘just-in-time’ supports when necessary.”
What is your school district doing? Is Asbury Park’s no-fail approach common? If indeed your district is committed to acceleration rather than remediation, is it investing in the appropriate tools, like extensive training for teachers and what TNTP calls “high-quality instructional materials,” extra learning time, engagement of all stakeholders in this strategy, and, perhaps most importantly, a “fundamental shift in mindset?” (Every district has a windfall from the Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan to pay for these expenses.)
Let us know in the comments section or send an email to [email protected].