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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

'D' is for 'didn't show up or do the work'

“You’ll have a kid who does nothing for the whole semester, and then last two weeks of May or June, they’ll do a couple assignments and bump themselves up to a D,” complains Danny Cole, a high school teacher in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Photo: Binyamin Bohlouli/Unsplash

Students get a 50 percent minimum grade, even for assignments never turned in. Teachers -- and students -- say that encourages absenteeism and bad work habits, reports Em Espey for MoCo360.

“I want my students to leave school with the life skills to do something," says Cole. "If they think they can get 50% for not doing anything and they go to work at Chipotle and don’t show up, they’re going to get fired.”

"Students aren't developing the work ethic they need to succeed in life," says Sami Saeed, the student member of the school board. “Even students who benefit from it — if you really talk with them, they’ll tell you they know it’s not good for them.”

"In recent years as concerns have grown over rising student absenteeism and plummeting math and literacy rates, many local high school newspapers have published opinion pieces about the 50% rule’s potential contributions to the trends," writes Espey. “We all know and love the Montgomery County Public Schools 50 percent rule because you can literally do the bare minimum and still get by in the class,” a 2019 Watkins Mills article begins. “But the harsh reality is when you get to college you only have two options, pass or fail. That’s it. So how much is this rule really helping you?”

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