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What our schools need is to teach more grit!

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What our schools need is to teach more grit!

by Dan Burns on July 5, 2016 · 1 comment

school2I had not been aware of this aspect of the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Reading, writing, arithmetic—and grit and gratitude? A growing number of students and schools may start receiving grades for the two Gs, plus other so-called noncognitive traits, thanks to a recent update to the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The new law requires states to include at least one nonacademic factor in their school evaluations. This year nine California school districts started including progress in social and emotional learning (SEL), as reported by students on questionnaires, in rating their schools. Other districts are considering following suit…
“You can’t make high-stakes decisions based on measurements that can actually be wrong in the wrong direction,” Yeager says. “You reward the people who are the worst and punish the people who are the best.” A growing body of research shows how noncognitive abilities help children become happy, successful adults, Duckworth adds, but it is a misstep to then include them in school-accountability systems—now or maybe ever. “I just don’t think carrots and sticks have been so effective in character development in the past,” she says, “and I don’t expect them to be all that helpful in the future.”
(Scientific American Mind)

I do recall, when I was in fifth and sixth grade in a small-town public school in the early 1970s, report cards included grades on “courtesy” and such. You got C, S, or U, for commendable, satisfactory, or unsatisfactory. I don’t think people paid those “grades” a lot of mind. But there was no risk that the school would be shut down and replaced with a for-profit charter because of them.
I certainly suspect that this is at least partly meant as yet another congressional gift to the school deformers. They and their allies in corporate media can hypocritically rant about how public schools, specifically their teachers, are “failing” at teaching “grit.”
Comment below fold.

From Jeff Strate: Good points. I disappointed my parents with the unsatisfactory “U” evaluations that sometimes accompanied by modest academic grades on the report cards. I like those stiff, cream/yellow report cards. A kid could clearly see what a kid already knew what he was doing. And, the burden of failure or of being below average fell entirely on me from grade school through high school. That was well before charter schools and profiteering came along.

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