Thursday, May 29, 2008

Grade Fixing

This isn't the first time that a prime athlete from a championship level high school team has had the path made smooth for them and it probably won't be the last. What I find troubling is how many administrators allow coaches to bully teachers into changing grades for star athletes. Many of these students are recognized for the athletic ability early in middle school. From that point on, it is a struggle between the easy life of allowing the system to cover or the real educational experience where you win and lose on the field and in the classroom. What is more problematic still is that the teacher who made this public had taken reasonable action to allow the student to bring up his grade, but the student seldom attended class. After the teacher returned the grade to a failing level, the student was moved to another, probably more amenable, teacher. A former English teacher from this same school confirmed this complaint and a petition of twenty teachers have met with the Dallas ISD officials for quite awhile to make this situation change. But in the end, due to site based management, administrators have a great deal of power in saying who will stay and who will go. The teacher that made this story public is going to see his job eliminated by, you guessed it, the administrator-Mrs. Dixon-who supported and instigated much of the grade changing. I know it seems like I am beating the same old drum, but people at some point we have got to stop glorifying athletics over academics. We aren't doing these students any favors by passing them up the line because at some point, their eligibility runs out. And without job skills, they will end up the walking wounded that haunt crack houses and show up on "Cops". I kid you not, I can see the writing on the wall with some of these students. It's pretty scary.

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