Dumb and dumber in Michigan education

On April 1, Gretchen Whitmer wiped out the rest of the K–12 school year.  Teachers remained on the payroll, of course, and each of Michigan's 587 school districts was tasked with implementing an online program.  In East Lansing, the plan meant an end to letter grades; insteadn students will receive a "CR" (for credit) or an "I" for incomplete.

Ironically, the district's social justice warrior school board president has sparked a near revolt by administrators and fellow board members for having the audacity to suggest that "credit" or "incomplete" isn't fair.  Erin Graham presented evidence that East Lansing schools would be an outlier by nixing grades.

About two hours into the unusually tense meeting, (board member Terah) Chambers questioned the whole discussion, suggesting that we are all facing much more pressing issues with record levels of unemployment and food insecurity. She suggested the conversation was focusing on the privileged.

But Graham argued that a lack of a letter grade could affect more than college-bound students, affecting students who may want to join the military or take on entry-level positions in health care. In these cases, grades could determine eligibility, pay grade, and benefits, and disadvantages could compound over time.

Noting Mitcham's report earlier in the meeting that while elementary and middle-school students appears to be engaging at a good rate while high-school students are not, Graham wondered aloud whether part of the reason high schoolers are disengaged is that they know performance doesn't matter to grading now.

With this, Chambers sharply disagreed, saying through tears, "Our kids are in a mental health crisis." She strongly objecting [sic] to the idea that teenagers might be malingering.

The district's curriculum director fears that teachers would mutiny if all the kids were simply given an "A."  The district prides itself on its competitive academics.

This revelation may explain Chambers's tears: social justice warriors aren't supposed to go to war with one another.  It's just not fair.

On April 1, Gretchen Whitmer wiped out the rest of the K–12 school year.  Teachers remained on the payroll, of course, and each of Michigan's 587 school districts was tasked with implementing an online program.  In East Lansing, the plan meant an end to letter grades; insteadn students will receive a "CR" (for credit) or an "I" for incomplete.

Ironically, the district's social justice warrior school board president has sparked a near revolt by administrators and fellow board members for having the audacity to suggest that "credit" or "incomplete" isn't fair.  Erin Graham presented evidence that East Lansing schools would be an outlier by nixing grades.

About two hours into the unusually tense meeting, (board member Terah) Chambers questioned the whole discussion, suggesting that we are all facing much more pressing issues with record levels of unemployment and food insecurity. She suggested the conversation was focusing on the privileged.

But Graham argued that a lack of a letter grade could affect more than college-bound students, affecting students who may want to join the military or take on entry-level positions in health care. In these cases, grades could determine eligibility, pay grade, and benefits, and disadvantages could compound over time.

Noting Mitcham's report earlier in the meeting that while elementary and middle-school students appears to be engaging at a good rate while high-school students are not, Graham wondered aloud whether part of the reason high schoolers are disengaged is that they know performance doesn't matter to grading now.

With this, Chambers sharply disagreed, saying through tears, "Our kids are in a mental health crisis." She strongly objecting [sic] to the idea that teenagers might be malingering.

The district's curriculum director fears that teachers would mutiny if all the kids were simply given an "A."  The district prides itself on its competitive academics.

This revelation may explain Chambers's tears: social justice warriors aren't supposed to go to war with one another.  It's just not fair.