Written by Michael Palomba
San Diego Unified School District is changing the way students are graded in an effort to “combat racism.”
Now you may be asking yourself, what was racist about the grading system before? And to answer your question, nothing. There was absolutely nothing racist about how grades were calculated, in fact, race wasn’t even a factor.
With that being said, it’s 2020 and apparently that means everything is racist, so that is what motivated SDUSD Board members to make the change.
“This is part of our honest reckoning as a school district,” said SDUSD Vice President Richard Barrera. “If we’re actually going to be an anti-racist school district, we have to confront practices like this that have gone on for years and years.”
So, what racist policies is Barrera referring to? To start, teachers can no longer consider non-material factors like missed due dates or classroom behavior when calculating a student’s academic grade. Those things will count towards a separate “citizenship grade.”
Yes, we are living in a time when due dates are considered racist, but it doesn’t stop there. The system will be changed to focus on mastery of material, rather than a students yearly average. The school board alleges that a yearly average puts those who got a slow start or struggle with certain topics at a disadvantage.
Some students expressed concerns about grade inflation, but their concerns were not addressed, and according to student board member Zachary Patterson, “students all across the school district are really happy with the idea.”
And the school board is not slowing down on its “anti-racist” agenda. The board will soon review how its zero-tolerance policy on cheating, arguing that the standard could be causing potential disparities.
To recap, SDUSD has decided that due dates and yearly averages are racist and that penalizing students for bad behavior is racist as well. And while they have yet to declare anti-cheating measures as racist, it may only be a matter of time before they claim that as well.
The reason for disparities in academic grades is not due to racism in the school system and the school district is doing a disservice to all students by manipulating grading standards in an attempt to eliminate any and all disparities.