Teachers' Reputations, Students' Futures Hurt in Grade-Changing

* I've read quotes in the media with dismay that the alleged grade changes at Brea Olinda High School are a "problem that started in the math department" and it is "a practice started by math teachers."

Just to set the record straight, there is no problem with teachers assigning grades. That is what we are supposed to do, and that is how the system functions. The courts have affirmed this many times; the teacher is deemed the expert and the grade can only be invalidated under very special circumstances (incompetence, error, etc). Also, there is a written policy regarding pass-fail grades at Brea Olinda: The student is to contract with the teacher in the first six weeks if he or she is to be allowed this option.

On the other hand, if a teacher's assigned grade has been changed without his or her consent or knowledge, then that is a problem.

I and my colleagues in the math department are proud of our efforts and our students' SAT, CLAS, AP and Golden State Scores and feel that we are one of the reasons our school was given Distinguished School Recognition (a state award) and a Blue Ribbon Award (a national award) recently. I can assure you that we did not "start" any improprieties such as changing each other's grades.



* I am absolutely appalled that as educators of our youth the employees of Brea Olinda High School would even think of changing transcripts for students to boost grade-point averages or help students go to college. Who are they helping? Certainly not the student. Does it help someone or foster responsibility to make it easy?

We talk about our youth of today not taking responsibilities: No one will if they don't have to. It's the fault of people such as these educators. If that were my child, he or she would go back to school and do it until it was right, however long it takes.

Graduating students ill-prepared for college or life is a disservice to our society and to them personally.


San Clemente

* I want to express my complete disgust about your coverage of the grade changes at Brea Olinda High School. I have taught English there for many years so am concerned about the reputation of the school.

Even given my bias for the school, why are you continuing to give such prominent coverage to this issue? The article in the paper July 27 is headlined, "Brea Olinda Graduated Some Who Lack Credits." This information was contained in an article in June. No information was available for this article that was not available for the article yesterday. Old information was given again in a different order.

If you are discussing the graduation requirements, why is there no information that we require for graduation 40 more units than required by the state and more units than most county schools? There are local high schools for whom these students would have completed all their graduation requirements.

I am very proud of the academic record of Brea Olinda High School. I hope that you will decide that you do not have to continually repeat your coverage of our grade problem, especially when there is no new aspect of the case to cover.



* As a graduate of the old, unimproved Brea Olinda High School, ostensibly years in advance of what has thus far come to light in the still-developing grade-change story, I can say with emphasis that I am not in the least surprised. And I will continue to be overwhelmingly unsurprised as further investigation reveals more wide-ranging details. The uniformly shocked demeanor of the assorted staff represented in the several articles on the subject strains the limits of credulity to an amusing degree.

While this jellybean gangsterism surely goes on at more schools than not, I have to smirk when I read names I recognize from my own seemingly interminable tenure at the school.

No big-deal corrective measures are to be anticipated--no mass firings, certainly no one taking responsibility or admitting complicity.



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