With college students arriving by the bunches in Potsdam, the Potsdam Central School district is preparing for another year as well. But as the athletes report for summer practices, and as staff and teachers gather their materials, everyone will be welcomed with a little controversy.
Beginning this year, PCS is implementing a new homework policy which will restructure how homework will factor into a students overall grade, and how it will factor into their overall performance. According to the plan, homework will now be limited to 10 percent of a student's workload. Also, incomplete assignments will count for a score of a 50 instead of a zero.
Report cards will reflect the change in the grading system. The report cards will now have three columns, one for effort, participation and attitude, which will all be evaluated on a 4-point scale and be accompanied by an explanation.
As the policy takes effect, there is sure to be questions about its motives. But as the standards for standardized tests for grades 3 through 8, focus is meant to be put on those tests and preparing students accordingly.
But is this move really helping students? Or are we teaching students that it is okay to be less than extraordinary? Education in the United States lacks behind the likes of Asia, Europe, and our neighbors to the north Canada. How can we deem it appropriate to prepare children for tests, and not for life?
The system will continue to get easier for kids as they move up through the education system, and when it comes time for American children to stand next to the same generation of students from Japan, China, etc., will our kids really be ready?