Zac S. Michigan

Dear President of the US,

This is a letter to the president about our school's grading systems worldwide.

Grades, a subject that many schools students and college students stress about every day. This issue matters because schools grading system affects how we will be living in the future and it affects how students are living right now. The school grading system restricts students from learning ideas to help them grow. Instead, teachers teach things forgotten in a week. The school grading system is also biased at grading. Albert Einstein once said, "School failed me, and I failed the school. It bored me. The teachers behaved like Feldwebel (sergeants). I wanted to learn what I wanted to know, but they wanted me to learn for the exam. What I hated most was the competitive system there and especially sports. Because of this, I wasn't worth anything, and several times they suggested I leave. This was a Catholic School in Munich. I felt that my thirst for knowledge was being strangled by my teachers; grades were their only measurement. How can a teacher understand youth with such a system?"

 This topic matters to a larger population because the school grading system affects how you live and what you will do in the future. People around the world grow up not being able to do what they dreamed because they didn't have a high enough GPA to make it to their dream. This should not be the obstacle stopping people from achieving what they put their mind to. Also graduates, like the working class, will feel the effect of the grade change because it leads to better people suited for some jobs and worse people suited for other jobs. Inexperienced workers with high GPAs will topple over experienced workers with lower GPAs only because of the school grading system. “What makes a child gifted and talented may not always be good grades in school, but a different way of looking at the world and learning.” Stated Grassley the senior United States Senator from Iowa, serving since 1981.

Everybody in the world deserves an education. For example, I am currently being educated. But does this computer education mean that I am receiving a fair education and fair grade? Of course not! I am being graded on a test and how well I do my homework, how long I can listen to a lecture, and how much stress I can take before I crack under pressure from overloads of grades that are not necessary. “They kept him from doing what he wanted to do with his after-school time, which was read, or sometimes play outside, or wrestle around in the living room with his brothers. More than once, the same packet was sent home — the same, exact worksheets, all stapled together in the same exact order — and the obvious pointlessness of it all was not lost on Milo. He whined, “I’ve already done all of these!” but begrudgingly went through the motions so he could get back to what he really wanted to do, which was learn.” -

Alfie Kohn, author of “The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing,” examined the usual defenses of homework — that it promotes higher achievement, reinforces learning, and teaches study skills and responsibility — and found that none of these assumptions actually passes the tests of research, logic, or experience. The startling trend, despite research showing that homework for elementary students is not an effective predictor of academic success (and on the contrary, contributes to more negative attitudes towards school in general), is that the age at which homework is being assigned has dropped lower and lower over the past 30 years.”

“School districts that used to hold off on assigning homework until the third grade are now piling it on to kindergartners on a regular basis. Kindergartners, some of whom just recently gave up taking afternoon naps, are spending seven hours in school only to come home to more work.”(Washington Post - The question of homework: Should our kids have it at all?) Then this work gets graded, amplifying stress and ruining GPAs and student future. This causes college students to drop out of school because dreams can no longer be achieved. Grades, only able to grade you on topics you may or may not be strong at, ruining children and adults worldwide, and destroying dreams that should've lived on forever. Waiting to be achieved.

But what do schools and graduates think of this grade system change? What does the president think? What do the parents, colleges, democrats, republicans, businessmen, workers, and shop owners think? Are they for or against, fighting to win or to continue as we were before? Education Weekly published an article by Catherine Gewertz that states “Even in a class that wasn't part of the academic core, however, teachers were reluctant to embrace the practice, asking questions like, "How do I do this so I can still turn it into a grade for college transcripts?" the principal said. No other principal in this discussion group had tried ungraded classrooms, but many said they dearly wanted to. They were clearly frustrated with the limited meaning of assigning letter grades, but their ventures into other approaches had met with resistance, largely from parents. The principals told stories of trying to move to standards-based grading, in which students are evaluated descriptively on how well they've mastered particular academic skills and knowledge, rather than on whether they turned in homework, showed up to class on time, or performed extra-credit work.”

“Another New England principal said he supported his teachers' push for standards-based grading only to face a firestorm of opposition from parents, particularly parents of high-achieving students. "Those parents freaked out," the principal said. "They were going, 'Where is my kid's A?" Eventually, the principal backtracked in the face of parental opposition, and the teachers who trusted him to lead that change are frustrated and disillusioned,” Many parents and teachers are on either side, wanting to change or wanting to stay the same. Schools always get shut down trying to change because other schools would have to change too, and they would have to get the consent of the parent to be able to change what they are teaching the students. Colleges also play a role as stated above, unless colleges change, teachers have to change the no grade to a real grade to give to colleges so they know how good the student they are receiving is doing. Parents, also become stressed, worrying about how good their child is doing, wondering, if their son or daughter is going to be able to join the colleges that they want and achieve the dreams that they have set for themselves for their future. Positive and negative views are what really affects this idea of grades.

Steps can be taken to achieve this idea of changing the grading system. Colleges could start by changing the way they accept their students into their courses and campuses. Instead of accepting students because they were able to get a 4.0 GPA taking regular classes, accept the student with a 3.5 who plays sports, participates in extracurricular activities, and joins the clubs at the schools. This way, applicants do not have to worry about failing classes that do not correlate with the future planned for themselves. Instead, applicants can focus more on becoming a well- rounded student who can grow up to live his own life. Not one living in a trash can because grades destroyed his life. In 10th grade history, we are learning about religion. One of the religions, Buddhism, believes that we humans should not care about what is to come of non-permanents. This way we can achieve true happiness. What we can take away from this is the fact, grades shouldn't matter. They account for up to 18 years of your life at most compared to the 70 that you will live on your own.

This brings up another topic that we can take into mind, not what can schools and colleges do, but what can the president do. You as president have the ability to change laws, rewrite bills, add to the constitution. But what can you do about schools? How can you change them? To start, once colleges change, find ways to incorporate new classes into schools that student can pick from. Also once students get into 10th grade, required classes should be taken away. Architects should not have to study how a cell functions if they are going to build houses. Sports addicts, will not need to know history, chemistry or algebra. What they do need is classes suited for their life choices, so that they can achieve what they believe. A great example is a campus called Oakland Schools Technical Campus, or OSTC for short. This campus gives many opportunities for applicants to take part in classes related to engineering, machinery, technology, and much more options for their students to learn and hone their skills on the class that they choose. Many other schools could include campuses like these or incorporate after school classes that go over topics like these. That way grades won’t be a problem when you have all the resources already stored in your brain. That way when presented with a problem relating to your topic, you already know how to solve or fix the problem at hand.

Students futures will change for the better, but only if we are to implement this system of change. Grading on creativity, knowledge and other attributes can greatly help our world today to prosper together. Inventing new jobs, opening up better employment and creating new resources can all be achieved by changing how schools teach during student's sophomore, junior, and senior years. Colleges changing acceptance guidelines allows a better future for applicants and much more. Changing how we grade, will change our lives forever for the better, and make our futures that much brighter. Please, President, consider what I am saying, help make our future easier and less stressful, and help us to live better lives and leave behind a footprint of success.