Straight out of Counciltucky folks.
How to increase graduation rates and improve achievement in the classroom is the goal of every school district. With that in mind, a Council Bluffs administrator is behind a controversial plan to eliminate the grade of zero.
"I just try to make it a good experience," says Thomas Jefferson psychology teacher Mary Beth Runge. "If they can be engaged or if they can be excited or even mildly amused what they're doing, then what they end up with is more learning taking place and that's always the goal."
Sometimes assignments don't get turned in which can result in a grade of zero and the possibility students will give up and drop out of school.
"If you get a zero on three assignments since maybe the first two weeks, you don't want to come to school, you are mad at the world, you wish it were still summertime,” says Council Bluffs Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Martha Bruckner.
“Three zeros, unless I hold you accountable for making these up, those three zeros pretty much means you are not going to pass."
Dr. Bruckner says students should get half of the points for a missed assignment. It's still a failing grade, but an incentive for students to stay in school and complete those assignments.
"What we're trying to do is don't let those zeroes get in the way of helping kids have a chance to learn. What we want teachers to do is not to let kids off the hook by saying you didn't have that in and I’m going to give you a zero, you don't have to do the work because I've already given you a zero."
"What we want you to say is we want you to do the work because what we're doing in here is important."
It's controversial, but Dr. Bruckner believes if it keeps kids coming to class, it's worth it. "The goal is to keep kids on the hook, but to keep them believing that I have a reason to keep working in here." And attaining success in the classroom.
Superintendent Bruckner says her idea corrects an imbalance in the grading scale. Students will still have to prove their proficiency by passing state standardized tests.
Heaven forbid we teach or kids to persevere and work hard... It's no fun when your kids don't turn in homework. I know that. I had a child like that. Hasn't everybody who has more than one child had a child like that? Seriously, "We're not going to fail you so you won't quit school"? What's going to happen when they grow up and have a job they don't like?
You know what? Life isn't always fun. School isn't always fun. It's an educational experience. You're supposed to learn. How about grading the parents for awhile?