Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Be in the know: Seattle Schools Consider Lowering Grade Point Average for Graduation

While America SCORES Seattle works to empower young people in Seattle's Public Elementary Schools, we also have to be aware of the academic politics that will affect our students down the road. Currently, the Seattle School Board is considering a change to the grade point requirement for Graduating seniors. As it stands, a C average is required to graduate. Additionally, a C average has always been required to keep one's place on a sports team. This is up for debate as well, and would most likely be changed if the graduation requirement were to be revised.

One of the arguments for the change is that if a D is enough to pass a class it should also be enough to graduate, hopefully encouraging more students to stay in school rather than drop out. To counter concerns that this change will lower the students' level of motivation it has also been suggested that schools institute pluses and minuses, allowing for more opportunities to increase one's GPA. Furthermore, honors level students would see a slight upward scaling in their grades, so a B grade would equal a 3.5, and a B+ a 4.0.

On the opposing side, which vocalizes that changing the GPA and providing GPA incentives is not enough to "fix" the problems plaguing Seattle's public schools, school board member Peter Maier expressed his concern regarding the underlying problem: "One of the troubling aspects of the proposal is that it doesn't address the real issue, which is what we do with these struggling students who are bumping along at the GPA bottom."

To read more about this issue, check out this most recent article. Agree, or disagree? Want to be more involved? Write to the board at this address:
School Board Office
2445 Third Avenue South
Mail Stop: 11-010
PO BOX 34165
Seattle, WA 98124-1165

Or check their website to see their legislative session schedule and agenda.

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