Down With Grades, A Double-Entendre

An open letter to college admissions departments opens with this:

As a physics teacher who recently resigned from Loudoun County Public Schools, one of the wealthiest and fastest-growing public school districts in America, I urge you to altogether stop considering high school grades in your admissions process and decisions.

It’s a grim catalogue of the ways a decentralized grading system can be gamed. The bottom line is that, to those that care about such things, the advantages high grades can offer, in terms of lifelong opportunity and short term scholarships, are worth a LOT.

The average teacher has no counter to the force of that desire; it’s just a job for them, at the end of the day. For parents of a certain mindset, it’s life and death. If all it took to upgrade your kid from mid-tier to top-tier college was teaming up with him/her to make every teacher from K-12’s life a living Hell, would you?

In case you’re thinking it’s the teacher’s professional duty to resist this, consider what our author quit teaching to do:

The focus on grades is killing American education. In my book, “Full Ride to College,” I specifically teach students how to engineer their grades and exploit the weak correlation between grades and mastery, thus giving students a competitive advantage without the inconvenience of working hard and learning. While I consider this strategy to be a mockery of American education, it is also effective.

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