Thursday, September 23, 2021

NYC Principal Stands By High Expectations for Students—Plans to Ignore New Grading Policy

If I lived in Brooklyn, I know which principal I’d want my kids to have. I don’t know his name because doing the right thing for students and standing up to bullies requires anonymity. If parents knew his name, they’d undoubtedly be knocking down the door to get their children into his school. I know I would be.

Richard Carranza, Chancellor of schools in New York City, has done it again. The guy who wags his finger at everyone for their “racism” and “white supremacy” has managed to lower the bar for students —80 percent of whom are not white— to a point of disgrace. As details of his much anticipated 2020-2021 grading policy begin to leak out of his department, one thing is clear: he doesn’t want the public to know how kids are doing on his watch. COVID-19 provides him with the perfect excuse to hide the data and keep everyone in the dark about how far the city’s students have fallen behind.

There will be no numeric grades allowed for high schoolers and no teachers, in any grades, are allowed to give a failing grade. The lowest “grade” allowed for elementary schoolers will be “needs improvement.” For middle schoolers, failing grades will be designated as “course in progress.” And for high schoolers, an F will become an “Incomplete,” whether the student plans on turning in any work or can show that any learning of the subject has actually occurred.

This plan will harm all students but especially those who need intensive remedial support and won’t get it because the gaps in their learning/understanding will be harder to identify—and harder for parents to prove. And even if they are identified, Carranza has put out no plan for how to address their needs.

One Brooklyn principal isn’t having it and instead plans to continue using his school’s grading policy. He told the New York Post he will “ignore” Carranza’s guidance.

“We’re focusing on daily participation, homework, tests and quizzes,” he said. “We’re going to fail them if they don’t participate at all or do any work. We have high expectations. The DOE has low expectations. They didn’t just lower the bar. They eliminated the bar.”

As Carranza continues his captaincy of Team Race-to-the-Bottom, one school has a leader who is pushing in the opposite direction, drawing his line in the sand for high expectations. He respects children and knows what they need to become the best version of themselves. Carranza fails children at every turn.

Erika Sanzi
Erika Sanzi is a former educator and elected school committee member. She is also a senior visiting fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Her blog is Good School Hunting and her Substack is Sanzi Says. She occasionally writes for other outlets including Scary Mommy, The 74, and The Hill. She is the mother of three school aged sons and calls Rhode Island home.

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