Some San Jose area teachers are dumping the D as a passing grade. They say students who are doing the minimum to get by will just have to work a little harder. California’s public universities won’t accept anything below C- on an academic transcript. The Mercury News reports:
“Where else in the world does anyone accept `D work’ but in public schools?” says Pete Murchison, principal at Fremont’s Irvington High School, which has done away with D’s altogether.
. . . The demise of the D makes it harder to pass a class, but educators say it’s improving marks in their grade books. Still, some wonder whether the new grading scheme demands too much from students who aren’t shooting for spots at Stanford or even Cal State-Stanislaus.
“I’d rather go to a junior college,” said Alex Johnson, a junior at Mountain View High who is eyeing Foothill or De Anza community colleges. He says it’s unfair that some teachers at his school are widening the range for an F. His dad isn’t thrilled either.
“D’s are the only thing keeping him from getting F’s,” Alex’s dad, Doug Johnson, said. “He’s an incredibly bright kid, but he couldn’t care less about school.”
That’s precisely the problem, say teachers who don’t want to pass students who scrawl their names and some answers on exams but still don’t grasp much of the material.
The risk of eliminating the D is that teachers will stretch the C- to help kids squeak by. But if teachers hang tough, students will learn to set their sights higher.
Principal Murchison said young people need to learn that substandard work is not OK in the real world.
“I’m fixing my kitchen right now,” Murchison said. “I’m not going to pay a guy $5,000 for `D-work’.”
Oh, but what if he’s an incredibly talented workman who does lousy work because he just couldn’t care less? You mean that’s not good enough?