Unintended Consequences – Graduation, Grades, and Goodbyes

SACO – As a teacher, the end of the year is always a mixed blessing. I know that summer is right around the corner, the weather is usually warmer, and the days are often long and sunny. In school, especially in high school, it’s a time when you say goodbye to students you’ve worked with for 9 months or more, and in some cases, that goodbye includes a not so gentle push into the world.

Pickme

This year, like last year, the Department of Education is sending the schools themselves a grade, a report card. Today those grades become part of the public record. I’m not here to argue about the merits of grading the schools, the criteria used to grade them, or even the limited grade scale that is used. Instead, I wanted to write just a few words about one of the benefits of this controversial program.

As soon as the grades came out last year, the schools started looking closely at their curriculum, either in an effort to justify or understand their grade, or in an effort to change the way their particular school is perceived. For schools, like their students, perception often becomes reality.

So while some rail against the Governor and the Department of Education for simply creating this grading system, and others argue that the criteria by which the grade is determined is flawed, I simply want to say thank you. Good or bad, schools across the state are now talking about their particular brand of education.

David Arenstam

About David Arenstam

Originally from away, but here to stay - Maine is my home and I love writing stories about the people and places from my end of the state. As a teacher and writer who’s seen more than half a century of life, I’m astonished by the people I now call neighbors and friends.