This column ran in the Baltimore Sun
on 8/2/13 without graphs
The 2013 Maryland State Assessment (MSA) scores that came out in July contain very little good news and raise serious questions about the way we’re teaching math in middle school. They also show there has been no progress in closing the achievement gap between white and African-American students in Anne Arundel County for the fourth year in a row.
Anne Arundel County Public Schools is implementing a new grading policy in the fall that will be detrimental to both our students and teachers. Among other things, the new policy allows middle and high school students to retake tests and redo projects without penalty, with only the higher score being calculated into their grade. The policy also guarantees students a minimum grade of 50% on any work they attempt and allows them to turn in work
Businesses know that listening to their customers is the key to their success, and this is also true for other types of organizations. Parents are deeply concerned about the education their children receive, and school administrators and Board of Education members need to be actively listening to and working together with them as they advocate for the strongest-possible schools.
I stood at the top of the ravine, looking down in shock at the car smashed up below. I’d had vivid dreams before I came to Uganda that I would die on this trip and my husband had even suggested that I cancel. But because I felt called to help some of the world’s neediest children, I had fought down my fears and gotten on the plane.