We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The further we go from formal, objective measurements, the more we will, of necessity, have to rely on informal and subjective ones. This will favor the wealthy and the politically protected. The very cleverest students and families will figure out how to game the system - if that's what you want, folks.
Virtues other than promptness and diligence will be elevated.
Assistant Village Idiot
I'm so old, I can (just) remember the Establishment justifying standardized tests as a way to mitigate the "old boys network." They were a unique opportunity for "students of color and those from lower-income households" (using, IIRC, slightly different terminology back then) to show what they could do on an equal basis.
If I had to guess, standards-based grading is the latest way to attempt to disguise the fact that the public schools are doing a lousy job of teaching your kids how to read and write and do arithmetic. Every so often, the schools need to introduce some novel movement in pedagogy so you'll forget how poorly the old novel movement in pedagogy worked. "We have a ten-year plan to fix the system!" is the cry heard just about every 9 years.
I can guarantee under this system my kids would do just fine. I’m the type of parent who checks in on what my kid is doing day-to-day, goes through all of their homework with them, and makes sure they’re mastering the material. If they’re not, I bring it up with the teacher and ask for more at-home work to practice.
I doubt parents of struggling students are doing these things. I doubt they have an extra 2 hours, every night, to work with their kid and make sure they’re being educated.
This sort of self-instruction already exists. Whether accelerated math, Khan academy, science Olympiad, Mathcounts, coding academies, or any other academic extracurricular. These are available to all students. But you rarely see kids from “underperforming” groups taking advantage of these programs.
In short, the system proposed exists. It doesn’t work the way the proponents think it should. This will simply result in more division between the educational haves and have-nots.
My son was born in 1986. When he started public school, my fight started. Many of the parent/school committee confrontations occurring now, I encountered back then. When I realized the school system (upper middle class in massachusetts) put emphasis on the self esteem of the first grader rather than what I considered important (reading, writing and arithmetic), I never recovered from the shock! My parents, born in 1915, having lived, and in my father's case fought in a world war, both college educated, we're very involved in my and my siblings education and did insist to the school board and the teachers, that we be educated, not indoctrinated or processed through the "school" mill.
Schools have always been about indoctrination, as per our 1960s citizenship and politeness training, sitting still with hands folded, and the stress on hard work, conscientiousness, neatness, etc. We like some of those things but the values have shifted and schools have let some slide down the list while others have been elevated. Self-esteem, sadly, is still on the list, though it is chimerical. Schools are actually better at this social teaching than at academics, and always have been. They were not magic in the Good Olde Days and many kids slipped through the cracks, while mild cutting up could result in ridiculous punishment and even corporal punishment.
Assistant Village Idiot
Progressives should be careful what they ask for when advocating "standards based" grading. Imagine evaluations comparable to
One of my friend's evaluation for a Phd in Spanish Literature: his supervising professor sat him down and said "tell me some good Spanish or Mexican jokes."
A music major who is asked to sight read an unfamiliar piano sonata. Or Broadway overture.
Competency grading would turn most of our current students into seriously Sad Pandas.