Opinion

Q&A with Mr. Federal Way: Grading system blues and election losers

Got a question for Mr. Federal Way? Email mrfederalway@federalwaymirror.com. - Federal Way Mirror
Got a question for Mr. Federal Way? Email mrfederalway@federalwaymirror.com.
— image credit: Federal Way Mirror

Q: Mr. Federal Way, would you ever think about having your kids transfer out of Federal Way Public Schools? I have friends who are legitimately thinking about it because of the grading system.

A: That seems a bit aggressive. But everybody can make their own decisions. Mr. Federal Way hasn’t reached that point of frustration with Federal Way schools just yet, but it’s coming up real soon.

Change is inevitable. But, when something gets changed, Mr. Federal Way needs to be able to understand exactly what is being changed. And that’s not happening with the district’s standards based grading system.

Mr. Federal Way honestly has no idea how to explain to the children why they get the grades that they get, and that’s extremely frustrating. Mr. Federal Way just wants to understand.

It makes no sense that Mr. Federal Way’s kid went from a National Honor Society member last spring to having a 2.5 grade-point average during the first quarter this year. She hasn’t done anything different than last year.

What has changed? She still does her homework every night, studies for tests and still has the same brain she had last year when she earned a 3.8 GPA.

Help Mr. Federal Way, please!

Decatur High School principal David Brower got the unenviable task of attempting to explain the district’s grading system to a room full of parents at the last school board meeting. And, from what Mr. Federal Way is hearing, there will be even more angry parents at the board’s next meeting, Nov. 12.

Brower highlighted the issues of the “traditional” grading system that gives out grades based on how a kid actually performs on assignments and tests, and shared his own personal experience to illustrate the point that the “new” system allows for a “more precise level of learning.”

“There were classes in which I got an A, and which, quite frankly, I didn’t learn a whole lot,” he said. “I had learned to play the game.”

That quote right there basically sums up Mr. Federal Way’s college career. The only things Mr. Federal Way learned in college was that the person with the fake ID is very popular, journalism might be the easiest degree to receive, and Mr. Federal Way can no longer depend on mommy and daddy to get Mr. Federal Way out of jams.

Obviously, Mr. Federal Way doesn’t tell that to the kids. But, Mr. Federal Way’s point is that Brower knew exactly how the grading game was played. He knew what getting an A meant.

That’s not the case nowadays in Federal Way. The district implemented the new grading system to boost Federal Way’s graduation rate, which hovers just above 70 percent. That logic just doesn’t compute with Mr. Federal Way.

There will always be kids who are not going to “succeed,” especially in a public school district like Federal Way. That’s just the way cookie crumbles. For whatever reason, whether it be things like unsupportive parents, a bad group of friends, lack of motivation or having to take care of younger brothers and sisters, it’s virtually impossible for certain kids to graduate from high school.

Mr. Federal Way feels awful for those kids. But everything shouldn’t be turned upside down to “possibly” allow those kids to graduate from high school. Why would you punish kids (and parents) who put forth an effort to “earn” good grades and graduate from high school with hopes of getting into a good college? The easy answer is that you shouldn’t.

Obviously, Mr. Federal Way has spent a lot of time and newspaper ink bemoaning the subject of the standards based grading system. But, it’s a subject that is close to Mr. Federal Way’s heart and something that Mr. Federal Way has deemed important to discuss.

That’s what a newspaper and open public meetings are for, correct? Oh, and Mr. Federal Way deserves a traditional A+ for that reasoning.

Q: Hey Mr. Federal Way, were you happy with how the general election went? Seems like there are some sore losers out there.

A: Mr. Federal Way feels great about the election. There were people who Mr. Federal Way voted for who won, and others who Mr. Federal Way didn’t vote for who won. But that’s the beauty of living in the United States of America. We are able to pick whoever we want to represent us. Mr. Federal Way can fill in whatever black box Mr. Federal Way wants on the ballot. It’s a great and empowering thing.

Elections are like sports. There are winners and there are losers.

It makes Mr. Federal Way extremely upset when candidates (or athletes, for that matter) blame outside forces when they lose. Stuff like that proves you didn’t deserve to win. Take some responsibility. It’s very easy to criticize the referees, bad coaching or the local newspaper for your loss. But that is the wrong thing to do.

Sure, Mr. Federal Way was disappointed when Mr. Federal Way was forced to give a concession speech Tuesday night after Mr. Federal Way’s long and expensive write-in candidacy for the Federal Way School Board fell thousands of votes short. But, Mr. Federal Way has nobody to blame but Mr. Federal Way. Mr. Federal Way accepts his election loss like a man and will continue to make fun of things anonymously.

Q: Mr. Federal Way, what is your “real” name?

A: None of your business.

 

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