My family has found a troubling practice with our middle school kids over time: the consistent recommendation that our kids repeat any course in which they earn less than a 'B.' (I hope my kids will forgive me for revealing that they haven't yet achieved straight-As). This has happened for more than one child, and at more than one middle school. A child told to repeat a class is being told that she has failed. Lori & I feel very strongly that while a 'C' leaves much to be desired, it is not failure. We feel that a child who earns a 'C' in a class the first time will be terribly bored in the class the second time around.
When we ask where these recommendations come from, we are rarely told "this is my recommendation." We are usually told various forms of "this is what we do", "this is what is done," "this is our practice," "this is policy." That last one always gets my attention.
Lori & I are so alarmed by this that I asked whether this was indeed LCPS policy or practice. I got an unequivocal "no" from the very highest authorities, Superintendent Ed Hatrick and Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Sharon Ackerman. Repeating a course simply on the basis of a 'C' average is not considered best practice. This is not endorsed by LCPS. I quote Mrs. Ackerman's response to me below:
"This is absolutely not the official position of the school system. Please
encourage any parent being told this to contact me."
How's that for certainty? Mrs. Ackerman is working now to ensure that teachers, principals and guidance counselors are fully aware of this. With this, I am working to ensure that parents are fully aware.
Each time Lori & I have received a recommendation to repeat a class due to a 'C' average, we have protested and insisted on placement at the next higher level. But I have to tell you that pushing back against those recommendations wasn't easy. And I have to think that if rejecting those recommendations is difficult for us, it will be even more difficult for most parents and impossible for some. So I want you to know that you have every right to determine what courses are best for your child.
As a parent, you make the decisions about what courses your child will take next year. You are the best judge of whether your child is ready for the next level or not. You have the right to change your child's course selections for several weeks still, even if you have already submitted your course selections.
If you encounter resistance to your choice of courses for your student because of a 'C' average, contact Sharon Ackerman, Assitant Superintendent for Instruction, and let her know. And then make your own decision with confidence, knowing that you are the most important educator in your childs life.