Mom: Take my son off the honor roll!

When Beth Tillack’s son made the middle-school honor roll, she demanded he be removed. He’d made a D in civics, a C and three A’s.

“The bottom line is there is nothing honorable about making a D,” the Pasco County, Florida mom told a local news station. “I was not happy, because how can I get my child to study for a test when he thinks he’s done enough.”

As a result of her protest, the policy will be changed:  Students who earn a C or below will not be eligible for the honor roll.

“It makes my job at home so difficult,” Tillack said of the current policy. She took away her son’s iPod as punishment for the D. He claimed making the honor roll showed he should get it back. This didn’t work.

About Joanne


  1. Good for her, for setting standards for her son and then following through!

  2. Crimson Wife says:

    At my high school, students were permitted to have one “C” per marking period and remain on the honor roll if the overall G.P.A. was high enough. I graduated salutatorian of my class and had all A’s for every subject all 4 years of high school with the exception of math in 11th & 12th. In 11th grade Pre-Calculus I managed to pull off B’s but in 12th I got a C in Calculus 1st semester (I withdrew from the class 2nd semester).

    Otherwise strong students who have one weak subject should not be penalized for getting a single C. I agree about excluding students who receive below a C, but the student who earns 6 A’s and 1 C may be more deserving of honors than the student who earns 7 B’s.

  3. Thinly Veiled Anonymity says:

    Honor rolls — and the grades upon which they are based — are for sheeple. All they really measure is how well you do your homework.

    Academic *competitions* are where one’s academic qualities are truly tested, and where the honor is truly to be won.

    • TVA, you assume that homework counts for a large portion of a grade.

      • Thinly Veiled Anonymity says:


        I also assume that the sun will “come up” tomorrow, that 2+2 will still equal four if I stand on my head, and that if I use this typeface, people who understand English will be able to read it.

        These are all safe assumptions. Is my assumption about homework not safe?

        If you would like to criticize, may I suggest that instead of pointing out that I am assuming things (which everyone does with every communication they make), you instead explain how some particular thing that I am assuming may either be false, or may at least be uncertain enough to warrant caution in making such an assumption.

        Then I will be able to reply with something other than, “Yep.”

        • palisadesk says:

          “Is my assumption about homework not safe?”

          No, it’s not. My district does not permit homework to factor into a grade in elementary. It can be commented on in the anecdotal remarks, along with work ethic, participation etc.

          In general, students who do assigned homework will perform better on tests and work in class that *does^ count towards a grade, but this is by no means certain. One reason for not allowing homework to count is that we have no way of knowing who actually DID the homework.

          As for the honor role rubric, I suggest only academic core subjects be counted (elementary). A C or even D in dance or drama should not exclude a promising academic achiever.

          • Thinly Veiled Anonymity says:

            Fair enough. The experience of your district would be totally relevant anecdotal evidence if we weren’t already talking about middle school, not elementary.

            At any rate, I commend your district for its methodology.

    • Crimson Wife says:

      Every class that I took in H.S. put primary weight onto exam, test, and quiz scores, with homework & class participation being a much smaller role. Not all subjects have academic competitions- those are primarily found in math and science. The only humanities one I can think of at my high school was the Latin exam.

  4. That policy will discourage students some students from trying harder classes than the ones they are currently placed in. Their parents want them on the honor roll and in Honor Society.

  5. Thinly Veiled Anonymity says:

    So let’s say homework is only 20% of the class.

    And let’s say you have a 90% average otherwise.

    That’s 72% from other stuff. If you don’t do your homework — C-minus.

    Homework doesn’t need to be a majority of the grade — not even close! — for it to be what discriminates between “honor roll” students and other students.

    It just needs to be a substantial portion.

    Anyway, the point is this: honor roll isn’t about being smart, or learning, or even putting in a lot of effort. It’s about being a good *student*, which is a very, very loaded term with a crap load of ideological baggage.

    • Crimson Wife says:

      So you are saying that someone who has a high overall GPA in honors track classes should be kept off the honor roll simply for having a low-but-passing grade in a single weak subject?

  6. I don’t have a problem with an honor roll C (some kids are just not balanced in their talents, as long as that ALL grades represent grade-level work and performance. I recently read about a kid with a 4.0 average, but who was working several years below grade level; that’s outright fraud and most unfair to such kids and parents, as well as to those working on grade level.

    Homework seems to account for an increasing fraction of the grade, in too many cases. One of my kids was given a B+ in (real) honors algebra 2, because he hadn’t done much of the homework – even though he had no test or quiz grade below 95. A classmate who had received only one test/quiz grade (C) above Ds-Fs was given an A because all her homework was done(by whom?) and correct. That’s another kind of fraud.

  7. palisadesk says:

    TVA said,”The experience of your district would be totally relevant anecdotal evidence if we weren’t already talking about middle school, not elementary.”

    To clarify, I am talking about K-8. That includes middle school. Middle school is elementary as opposed to secondary. Homework cannot be counted for grades in middle school either.