Schools Are Wimps When It Comes to Giving Kids Failing Grades

gradeI am all for coddling our little kids a bit. I mean, who wants their pre-teen to know about all the horrors this world has to offer. There should be some innocence, some wonder (if the Internet hasn't already killed it). But some people take the over-protective thing too far. A middle school in Lake County, Florida has banned teachers from giving out the grade "zero" because it is "overly negative to the student." They don't want the kids feeling bad about it. But shouldn't they?

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Now, it's been a few decades since I was in junior high. But if memory serves me correctly, a kid is scoring a zero on an assignment didn't even try. If that's the case, shouldn't they know and understand they did a bad job and that they need to try harder the next time?

Not giving him/her a zero accomplishes one thing: it teaches them that there are no consequences -- or at least not ones that they need to worry about. One of the best lessons we can teach our kids is to work hard in school. It is the only way they can carve out a future for themselves. Hell, you even need a college degree to get a job at some McDonald's in this country. Bottom line is, education is important. So they need to respect the notion of working hard in school from the start. 

In their defense, a rep for the school said, "There's definitely consequences. More importantly, it teaches kids we want them to succeed, we want them to do well."

Not buying it. You teach a kid that you want them to succeed by giving them the tools to do just that. Letting them off easy is not a lesson that will help. Yes, we should worry about their feelings -- but not for this. How does sparing them a grade of zero when they deserve it prepare them for the real world? That's not to say we can't cut them some slack in other areas. They don't have to be the fastest runner or always score a touchdown (at least I don't think so). But they should always, always, always feel they have to work hard in school. A zero is clear proof that they didn't.

What do you think of this "zero" ban?


Image via Free Grunge Textures/Flickr

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