VIDEO: Students protest grading system | Walkout planned at Federal Way high schools

More than 100 students gathered Tuesday morning at Decatur High School to protest the district's new Standards Based Education system.

The system was introduced this year, and has created controversy among teachers and parents, especially those with students at Federal Way's high schools.

Standards Based Education (SBE) is aimed at creating standardization for teachers and students regarding grading, class content and other important areas.

Critics say SBE creates an unfair playing field that reduces test scores, raises the failure rate and discourages students from trying. Supporters praise the system for focusing on specific goals and challenging students to improve.

Tuesday's protest began at 7:30 a.m. at Decatur's track, complete with chants of "Say no to standards based." Police were called to the scene, which was reduced to 25 protesters because anything larger requires a city permit. The students avoided trouble and eventually went to their regularly scheduled classes "to prove their education is important," said parent Janette Braun.

"I wanted to show the kids they had parental support," said Braun, whose daughter is a sophomore at Decatur. "We thought the point had been put across."

Braun, one of three adults at the scene, said she is working with other parents to obtain permits for a Dec. 13 protest near City Hall. There is also a buzz about students at all four Federal Way high schools staging a walkout during lunchtime on Dec. 6.

walkoutWith both of her children struggling in the new SBE system, Braun supports the idea of reform in Federal Way schools. She plans to meet with a district administrator for more information.

Taylor Fitzgerald, a junior at Decatur who organized Tuesday's protest, said the system is unfair to students who don't test well. Although she admits the system makes her work harder in school, Fitzgerald hopes to see a compromise in the grading system. One suggestion would be to start the system with elementary school students, allowing them to grow up with it throughout their school career.

"The biggest question everybody has is, what was wrong with the old grading system that everyone had to change it?" she said. "People are all confused. They don't understand anything."


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