[Edit: it seems after this item made national news, the school board eliminated the fundraiser. The link to the news story reflects this change]
It seems the school systems have taken a lesson from the airlines, allowing customers to pay a fee for a service that used to be part of the standard deal.
Of course, it’s not just any school … it’s the school I went to as a kid (Rosewood Middle School in Rosewood, NC). And it’s not just any service … it’s the ability to buy gradepoints.
If you hear a small boom today, it’s my mother’s head exploding after reading this article …
Rosewood is barely on the map, which is why the news stories report it as a Goldsboro school. Goldsboro is a reasonably sized town in North Carolina, with such amenities as Lowes, WalMart and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.
What puts my childhood home on the map today is the news that the parent advisory council suggested (and apparently approved) a fund raiser selling 20 gradepoints that can be applied to any test. This seems to be at odds with the feeling that many schools are just handing out good grades, especially those with lottery-sponsored scholarships (I’m looking at you, Hope Scholarship).
With or without the problems of grade inflation, it’s not a good lesson to encourage kids to buy achievement … unless you’re raising politicians, in which case it’s already on the syllabus and shouldn’t cost any extra.
I left Rosewood in the 11th grade to finish school at the North Carolina School for Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) in Durham. In that year, I went from being the Rosewood valedictorian to putting out more C’s than a Spanish porno film. Pulling up my grades didn’t cost me any extra money … it cost me time and effort. Learning how to work and study made college a lot easier.
Officials at Rosewood will argue that the 20 points are small and won’t contribute to any major increase in one student’s grades. At a school where you are allowed to buy grades, I’m amazed anyone has the mathematical background to understand and formulate that point. I guess the ethical argument doesn’t carry much weight, since they don’t start government or social studies courses until junior high.
For me, it seems counter to what the government it trying to do these days … tweak the noses of those who can pay a little extra. On one side, some one with $20 extra bucks can boost their test scores. On the other side, you have proposals in Congress that tax people who choose to buy a higher degree of health coverage.
When asked why the parent advisory council came up with this fundraiser, principal Susie Shepherd responded with the following:
“Last year they did chocolates, and it didn’t generate anything.”
I’m sure this little news item will generate more than any box of chocolates will ever bring your school. Next time, try a dunktank. I’m sure people will come from miles around to spend money giving school officials the grade they so richly deserve. Twenty dollars will buy a lot of softballs.