Posts Tagged ‘Niagara Falls’

Target: Education

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

On 05 November 2001, The Buffalo News ran a story, entitled “Schools take first step in eliminating grades.” It read, in part:

The Niagara Falls School District in New York is phasing in a new evaluation process as it phases out the grading system. Report cards will show lists of skills in each subject area and indications of whether students have mastered those skills.

Eventually, school officials say, they want to do away with grade levels. Students will move ahead according to their abilities rather than their ages.

“The problem is, we’ve been locked into a system that was created years and years ago and doesn’t work today,” said superintendent Carmen Granto. “The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.”

Kudos to the Niagara Falls BOE. It has become obvious to me lately that such an approach would be infinitely better than the one most schools use today. Does it really makes sense for a child to be stuck doing every subject at the same level, when he may excel in one more than the others? Does it make sense for a child’s education to suffer in all other subjects because he has trouble in one? Does it make sense to track a child’s knowledge based on his age, rather than on whether or not he has mastered the requisite skills in a subject? I’d say the answer to all these questions in a resounding no.

To be fair, the current system isn’t bad. I went through public schools. I did ok. However, the current system is not the best. It has many flaws. It is geared toward the average student. Students who are above and below this average suffer, because they cannot get the education they need. This is especially true for the talented and gifted student – who often become bored when not challenged. Boredom can turn into apathy, or worse.