This Ain’t Your Mama’s Report Card

I do not long for the good ole days.  I find that the days of yore are not good, and in many regards bad. I mean, do we really want to return to racism, sexism and illiteracy? Yeah, I will pass. Thanks.  Recently I have been wishing for the return of one thing from the past — good old fashion report cards.  You know, the ones that had either an A, B, C, D or F.  I received Max’s end of year report card and it was four pages long and required a person with a degree in education to explain it to me. I present exhibit A:

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When I handed this to my sister-in-law she simply said, “I would need the key to understand this” — Oy, a key would be nice, too bad they didn’t send one along.  Even a sheet with directions would be nice. Better yet, one would think an end of year parent/teacher conference might be in order, but alas none of that came along with this report.

Emerging, Developing and Still Emerging — what the hell do these terms really mean? I think my favorite part is where the report indicates that he got 29 questions right, but doesn’t tell me out of how many.  Did he get 29 right out of 30? Or 29 right out of 300?  Because that would really skew my attitude about the scores.  And what is a “DRA Report”? I can think of lots of words that start with “DRA”.  Is it the “Dirty Reading Allowance”? or perhaps “Dual Redundant Apple”?  Same goes for the “TPRI” report.  What does “TPRI” stand for exactly? “Technical Personal Racial Indignation”.

As a parent, how am I supposed to be supporting the school and my child appropriately when I can’t even figure out how he is doing.  I consider myself a rather smart person who can handle complex ideas, but this report card has me scratching my head.  And listen, if I am unsure what to make of it, what about the parents for whom English is a second language? Or what about the parents who only have a high school education? And we wonder why we are perpetuating the cycle of ignorance and poverty.

I recognize that I teach business communication and perhaps that makes me sensitive when it comes to these sorts of communication issues, but really?  Come on people, it shouldn’t require a degree in education to figure out your child’s report card.  The need to protect our children’s precious self esteem by doing away with the pass/fail system of grades is not helping anybody — especially the very people that are supposed to be helping these children succeed, their parents.

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