F?s For Society or For Students?

The American education system has been taking some serious hits recently. In an article entitled ?What Our Education System Needs Is More F?s,? Carl Singleton suggests that students are merely attending class, but do not complete an acceptable level of learning. Teaching levels are of low quality and impersonal in nature with an emphasis on passing the students from their classroom to the next without ensuring their level of learning meets the minimum requirements. By a widespread issuing of F?s, we as a society must look at the cause and effect aspect this will produce. Giving F?s will not solve the problems Singleton suggests, but create new ones. Society must be prepared to deal with the results of more F?s by understanding how it affects the family, student, and schools themselves.

As part of his argument for sending home more F?s, Singleton feels that this would force parents to take time out and help children improve their grades. Many parents do not play an integral role in encouraging good study habits by allowing their children to watch television as opposed to doing homework. By sending home F?s, this would force the parent to address the issue, take away privileges, and become more active in the education process. According to Singleton, the responsibility of failing children belongs at home with the parents.

It is a noble idea to have parents spend more time with their children and a core value that many politicians promote, but the reality of this situation does not always leave enough room for parent involvement. Singleton must realize that the majority of school-aged children are products of single-parent families, multi-family households, or dual working parents. The report card in the mail with a barrage of F?s will only create a hostile environment between the parent and child. The over-worked, over-stressed parent will yell at the child and could potentially discourage the child?s willingness to work harder on achieving better grades. As mentioned earlier, this is the cause and effect issue at hand regarding parents and F?s.

Assigning F?s does not leave total responsibility on the parents. This would also ?force principals, school boards, and voters to come to terms with cost as a factor in improving our educational system.? Singleton suggests that with the reality of failing students will come the obvious need to spend more money in bringing these students up to a passable level. ?One way or another,? says Singleton, ?they will learn the material.?

School systems across America are in need of additional funding to run a program that is adequate for today?s students. Keep this in mind next time you answer your door to a neighbor kid or your friend in the next cubicle over asks you to buy some candy to help support the school programs. When you start to send home F?s, the school board becomes aware of problems in the school system, but so do upset parents who contact their district council members. Before you know it, the school is on the 10:00 o?clock news for having children that do not meet the minimum standards of education. The reputation of the school is at stake. Yet again, cause and effect of F?s as related the school systems.

Let?s also consider the adolescent child who struggles with daily personal battles of trying to fit in. Social pressures are beyond what adults can really understand. True, we have already traveled that road, but to an adolescent, this is new territory where self-esteem, self-awareness, and self-efficacy dominate their total existence. Giving an F to the child and holding them back from their peers who advance to the next grade level will only destroy their personal value system. Take it even further and consider the anger and embarrassment the child will feel from his family. I am sure that a small percentage of parents will see the F as a warning flag and will be prompted into action, but not a large enough percentage to deem the widespread giving of F?s as a solution.

I do not mean to say that we should continue to pass students who do not meet the standards to save face, but that careful consideration should be enforced with a student who doesn?t meet the standards. This calls for more awareness at the elementary levels. Perhaps we should reduce the number of students per teacher, address the