Canceling grades???


Justin Trujillo, Staff Writer

A few days ago, my friends sent me this petition on called “Don’t count 2020-21 grades against students.” Many thoughts came to mind reading that so I had to check it out.

This article will be mostly my opinion. I will analyze this petition and give my thoughts on the cause and a few other points.

Although my political beliefs mainly lean to one side, for the most part, I have an open mind when it comes to other beliefs. In this case, I had no idea what to think. I started looking at this from a few sides. Is canceling grades even possible? How equitable is this? Would students stop doing work if there were no grades to work towards?

Why cancel grades?/The cause

From reading this petition, the student writing it claimed to have been more or less an average student before distance learning. Students across the country have struggled with distance learning due to many factors. Stress, Depression, problems at home, work, and more. His proposition was to specifically “disregard the educational year of 2020-2021 for students who performed poorly.” He also mentioned that this is only for college admissions. That’s pretty much as specific as it got. The reason for canceling grades could make sense. I personally know people who have struggled this year. I myself have struggled with this format. After reading the petition a few times, I began thinking about how equitable canceling grades for 2020-2021 would be.

Is it equitable?

Would canceling grades be fair/equitable to all students? While the student making this petition did specify, “for students who performed poorly”, what counts as performing poorly? Would there be a threshold and grade criteria needed to be met? Can this rule even be mandated nationwide? None of these questions seemed to be answered. I don’t think these were taken into account when drafting this.

The petition

I hate to be critical about a cause like this but I’m going to be critical. This petition is very poorly written. A petition to change something should be straight forward and highlight the exact issue being petitioned. There are a ton of factors required when drafting a petition. I want to sign this petition but I don’t know if I can. Yes, I could easily sign it but what am I agreeing with? This petition was just a sob story until I couldn’t be anymore. I fully agree that we should do something about grades, but more research should have been done before making a petition at this scale. He directed the petition towards the Governor of Arkansas as well as Senator Tom Cotton and John Boozman. The comments don’t help the cause. Many of the students commented on their negative feelings and many mentioned needing this because they are failing a class. Students who sign this petition can’t use it as an excuse to not do work expecting the petition to affect them. I’d almost say this petition is dangerous in how vague it is. Students have been having issues with grading forever. Many students didn’t do well with in-person school. Should we make colleges disregard their bad grades? Some students have always struggled with school, should we make colleges disregard their grades?

Final thoughts

I could go on and on about these issues but instead will give you ways you can help as well. I’m not saying don’t sign the petition, I ended up signing it. I will provide the link in the headline. I do think anyone who signs it should consider the questions I asked. Think of questions yourself. There are no easy solutions to these issues. Email WCCUSD board trustees. Speak up at board meetings. There are usually a few public comment sections per meeting where you can speak up about issues. I will be putting the link to the WCCUSD board page with trustee contact info as well as the agendas. Feel free to express your opinions on this matter in the comments. I will be doing my research on these issues and may even make a petition myself if I can gather the right resources.