Fight breaks out at Oak Park-River Forest High School over "race based grading."

Administration says report of factoring race into grades is wrong.

It’s referring to this West Cook News report:

Oak Park and River Forest High School administrators will require teachers next school year to adjust their classroom grading scales to account for the skin color or ethnicity of its students.

School board members discussed the plan called “Transformative Education Professional Development & Grading” at a meeting on May 26, presented by Assistant Superintendent for Student Learning Laurie Fiorenza.

As part of the plan students, “can no longer be docked for missing class, misbehaving in school or failing to turn in their assignments,”the report said.

If true, it’s just another example of racist “bigotry of lowered expectation.”

Well, the school should be worried. Thirty-eight percent of the school’s sophomores who took the Scholastic Aptitude Test failed. That’s shocking enough. More than a third of students failing suggests the school is massively failing its students.

But it’s worse. Here’s the failure rate by race: Whites, 25 percent; Asians, 27 percent; Hispanics 59 percent and blacks, 77 percent.

Maybe it’s not so much a question of race, as it is of poverty and of fatherless and broken homes. “Further research is required,” as most sociology studies conclude.

At any rate, the district school board’s  “Grading and Assessment Committee” sprang into action, deploying Assistant Superintendent for Student Learning Laurie Fiorenza to explore ” national research on objective, unbiased practices for determining whether students have mastered academic content.”

After West Cook News’ story appeared, the school issued a statement saying that it was “not true” and caused unnecessary confusion. (It is reprinted below in its entirety.) “OPRFHS does not, nor has it ever had a plan to, grade any students differently based on race….At no time were any statements made recommending that OPRF implement a race-based grading approach.”

Well, there’s a lot of air in that statement. It doesn’t say that race-based grading wasn’t discussed. I can’t imagine any report about how the wide-ranging research on the subject of “equitable assessments” could ignore the controversial topic of race-based grading. (Its proponents called it “equitable grading.) Indeed a report found on the district’s website said of a meeting: “These educators addressed practical topics like excluding nonacademic factors in grading, developing explicit learning targets from priority standards, aligning assessment items to instructional levels, assessing what is explicitly taught, and using summative assessments to affirm previous evidence.”

Indeed, “equitable grading” is a nation-wide discussion, as the AP reports in “No more extra credit? Schools rethink approaches to grades”:

For years, advocates have advanced the concept of “equitable grading,” arguing grades should reflect students’ mastery of course material and not homework, behavior or extra credit. A growing number of schools now are becoming more deliberate about eliminating bias from grading systems as a result of lessons from the pandemic and the nation’s reckoning with racial injustice.

From California to Virginia, schools have been experimenting with getting rid of zero-to-100 point scales and other strategies to keep missed assignments from dramatically bringing down overall grades. Others are allowing students to retake tests and turn work in late. Also coming under scrutiny are extra-credit assignments than can favor students with more advantages. 

Some teachers have pushed back, arguing the changes amount to lowering expectations. [Emphasis added.]

Good to hear that some teachers are pushing back. (See next story below.)

Whatever you might think of the accuracy of the above story, one thing is clear: It’s an early warning of what’s going on at your school and other schools. The fact that it being seriously discussed is a red flag.

Add end: Well, according to this in the Chicago Public Square, you can’t trust this story because it is “pink slim” and right-wing “crap.”

‘Pink slime’ alert. A Georgetown University professor dissects “a viral fake news story” about “race-based grading” at a Chicago-area high school …■  … some of the latest crap spread by a network of phony-baloney right-wing news sites in Illinois and elsewhere (November link).■ Why it’s called “pink-slime journalism.

My comment: I refer to the AP story above. It’s hardly a right-wing pink slim spreader. The links are examples of left-wing incomplete news reporting.

Here’s a story about a teacher who quit because he couldn’t take the woke nonsense anymore:

Lyons Township High School English teacher Stukel on DEI: ‘I see the harm that it’s doing to children’

According to West Cook News:

Lyons Township High School teacher Tom Stukel is out after 17 years at the institution, noting the diversity, equity and inclusion training at the school is destroying the education environment.

From Oak Park-River Forest High School;

Statement regarding grading practices

  • Posted May 31, 2022

It has come to the District’s attention that a recent article in the online West Cook News inaccurately states that at the Board of Education’s May 26 meeting, Oak Park and River Forest High School announced that it will implement a race-based grading system in the 2022-2023 school year. This is not true. 

OPRFHS does not, nor has it ever had a plan to, grade any students differently based on race. The article contains a variety of misleading and inaccurate statements. The article’s mischaracterization of the Board meeting is unfortunate and has caused unnecessary confusion.

As part of the Board of Education’s strategic plan, the OPRFHS Grading and Assessment Committee was formed to examine national research on objective, unbiased practices for determining whether students have mastered academic content.  At the Board of Education’s May 26 meeting, the administration’s representative to the OPRFHS Grading and Assessment Committee provided an initial report that included a progress update on the committee’s examination of grading practices. 

At no time were any statements made recommending that OPRF implement a race-based grading approach.

Prior to implementing  grading changes, if any, recommendations will be made to the Board at a public meeting. Again, contrary to the title of the article, the district has not implemented, and has no intention of implementing, any grading and assessment policy based on race. 

As the OPRFHS Grading and Assessment Committee continues its work, the district is committed to keeping the community updated to any changes. We encourage the community to seek information directly from the district or other reliable news sources rather than internet sources that continue to share inaccurate information.

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