Wednesday, September 26, 2012


One of the best pieces of advice I was given growing up was simply this:  When you're in a hole, stop digging.  As if things couldn't get any more bizarre, Ron Bradley, hapless principal of Ross Sheppard High School has grabbed his proverbial shovel in an attempt to deal with the blow-back.  Apparently immune to logic and common sense, he is trying to defend his school's "no zero" policy.  Actually, it would be more accurate to call it HIS "no zero" policy as we see more and more teachers speaking out on the issue.

The part I find most ludicrous is his assertion that while the school records behaviours with an alphabet soup of different codes and then "go through a series of interventions," the student could wind up getting a zero anyway. So you implement a policy that only serves to frustrate and anger parent and in the end you end up going back on it?  Really, what's the point?

And while I'm at it, I've heard it mentioned in defense of this policy that awarding a zero is a cop out because it says to the student that they can just move on.  Ha!  Are you kidding me?  This principal obviously didn't know my parents very well.  If I got a zero in school, I just didn't move on.  My parents kicked my butt and the assignment got done.  Giving a zero is not a cop out, believe me.

One of the biggest arguments against the "no zero" policy of course is that it doesn't reflect what happens in the real world.  The counter-argument to this being, well, perhaps.  But for many students school is their reality.  OK. But their is still another reality beyond that called real life which lasts a heck of a lot longer then 12 years of schooling.  Give me a break.

I did have a couple of other points I wanted to make but its getting quite late for me and its been a long work day so I'll leave it at that until I can have more time to think and lay those points out more clearly. I will end by saying I'm glad that this issue is getting the attention it deserves.  This is a debate that needs to be had and I'm happy to see parents demanding their voices be heard.

I really do think the principal and superintendent need to stop and listen and think here.  They are already in a big hole and yet they continue to dig.  They better start listening to parents (who pay their salaries) and other teachers as well for this entire mess can only end badly for both of them otherwise.

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