Nevada teachers last week lashed out at the Clark County School District over lax grading policies, programs for “restorative justice,” and teachers’ mounting workload.
The Las Vegas-based district is the fifth largest in the U.S. and boasts over 360 campuses. But the National Education Association of Southern Nevada (NEASN) said that it is beset with problems that are overwhelming educators.
At the forefront is a new grading system approved by administrators in the summer of 2021. Gone are the days of giving a “0” for missing work. Now the minimum grade for the absolute minimum of work — nothing — is 50%.
Clark County, NV is trying a progressive grading system for K-12 students that will no longer penalize late or missing assignments, poor attendance, or participation.
Because I guess if some students can't meet school standards, it's better to get rid of standards all together? pic.twitter.com/Ij5oQHcEpq
— Lauren Chen (@TheLaurenChen) August 11, 2021
NEASN union president Vicki Kreidel declared that students are allowed to pass “with very little effort.” This, she said, is not preparing them to succeed in the workplace, much less high school.
Students are permitted to revise assignments and retake tests, and factors such as participation and even attendance are no longer part of grading.
Then there’s the new disciplinary procedures, promoted by the district as “restorative justice.” What they accomplished is the exact opposite of traditional justice.
Local media report there were over 5,000 acts of violence in the district’s schools just between Aug. 2, 2021 and Feb. 9, 2022. These included 1,416 fights, 1,358 acts of assault or battery, and 66 sexual assaults.
The new policy does next to nothing to combat this plague. It states the only reason a student may now be expelled is for possession of a weapon.
Further, teachers are fleeing the district in droves. When the 2022-23 school year began, only 92% of classrooms were staffed with teachers. One school, Kelly Elementary, reported a teacher vacancy rate of 40.7%.
This troubled facility has students from an area where 90% of households are headed by single mothers.
Administrators are also accused of piling more work onto teachers than they can handle, including many having few if any planning periods due to providing coverage for classes lacking a substitute.
As Kreidel warned, the system faces losing even more educators this year if the rampant issues are not properly addressed. Continually lowering or even eliminating standards is hardly a fix — rather it is setting students up for failure now and into the future.