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Treatment of students in local schools | Federal Way letters
Hello, my name is Alex Cole, I am a seventh-grade student at Federal Way Public Academy. I'm a little unsure of who I'm supposed to speak to about this, as the Federal Way Public Schools website doesn't offer a clear idea of who to complain to about such a thing.
Our school has not yet implemented the new standards based grading system, but will soon. I figured that I should make my argument before it goes into effect at our school (I know that after it does it will be nearly impossible to change anything).
First off, I was very disappointed in the way that the new system was made known. As I understand it, Federal Way Public Schools put up a small paragraph/link on their website in June, but didn't actually make an effort to let parents and students know about it until part way through the year. After it was already put into effect and there was really nothing that could be done.
Secondly, your page on the FWPS website is incredibly vague, you don't actually make any useful points until the paragraphs at the bottom. I'm not sure if this is a mere coincidence, or an attempt at masking the actual system by which you will be grading students. I'm sure there was no malicious intent, but it seemed "fishy" to me, for lack of a better word.
Third of all, this system, seems to treat everyone the same. On the website it says that "In a traditional grading system, grades are often influenced by outside factors such as a student's work habits and personal characteristics. Standards-based grading, however, removes outside factors and only focuses on a student's academic achievement." But, the outside factors are just as important to grading as the students' academic achievement. The system as I understand it is supposed to grade effort and quality put into work, but how is that supposed to happen if outside factors are eliminated and grading is done by a machine? Now there are some pretty incredible machines out there, but I have yet to learn of one that incredible, and defiantly not one that the Federal Way School District can afford.
My biggest point here is that everybody can't be treated the same. We are all different. That's why we live in a free country, you see. It allows individuality as much as the public school system may want to teach children to conform (which is what the point of this new system appears to be). And yes I understand that darn conformity thing already at 12. It's unfortunate that so many school children remain ignorant to this fact, the few that do understand it are usually too afraid to say anything.
I know that this letter went from a complaint to somewhat of an attack on the morality of the public school system, and for this I apologize, but I felt that my opinions needed to be heard. I know that there are education professionals who really just want to help, but there are also less kind-hearted individuals, and those are really the people I am angry with.
I'm honestly just terrified of what the public school system is becoming, and will do anything in my power (though I really have no power) to keep it on track. I probably wouldn't have even bothered to write this letter because I know that it probably will do absolutely nothing to change the situation, but it is my right as a student to govern my education. It is in no way FWPS's right to tell me how to learn. I really just wish that you people had asked the students how we would like to be graded. I think you would be surprised at how opinionated we are. You may have professionals and scientists, but nobody knows us better than us.
Alex Cole, Federal Way