Part of board member Goldberg’s argument for the change was based on children coming to school with headaches and stomach aches caused by the fear of that awful “F.”
I’ve taught more than 1,000 students and many did come into visit me before school with stomach aches. As they ate their candy bar washed it down with a Coke for breakfast, I tried to convince them their stomachs might feel better with a bowl of cereal or toast and milk instead. I seriously doubt that giving a student who has failed to make even minimum standards an “N” rather than an “F” is going to erase the headaches in education.
So Goldberg has now omitted the “F” for young students. What about the “D?” I’ve been out of teaching six years, but as I recall that grade wasn’t very coveted either. Perhaps the “C” must go also--to be labeled less than average is as bad as an “F.”
We’ve already watered down the system by not holding back children who were unprepared to enter the next grade. This was also psychologically scarring. I always wondered if my eighth and ninth graders who couldn’t read or multiply were less “scarred” by being pushed on. I know they were embarrassed if they were ever called on--and angry, very angry.
I know Goldberg’s intentions are good--to make school more pleasant for some students. But “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”