Get CVHS admin to revert their "coursework deadline" policy back
Get CVHS admin to revert their "coursework deadline" policy back
To Whom it May Concern:
On December 7, 2020, it was announced to the student body of Carnegie Vanguard High School that there would be a change in grading policy in regards to the definition of “late work”. Rather than coursework assigned on a class day and being due at 11:59 PM of the day of the next class, coursework would be due on the day following class at 11:59 PM. For example, if I had an assignment for AP US History given to me on Monday, the assignment would be required to be completed on Tuesday at 11:59 PM, rather than the normal Wednesday 11:59 PM.
This loses students a day of work time: 24 hours of time to properly understand, comprehend, and work through assignments. There are a number of equity issues that I, and many fellow students, feel that this change in policy exacerbates negatively.
Firstly is that there has already been so many new changes made to the grading policies and systems of Carnegie Vanguard High School. First, it was announced that virtual learning would be centered in Carnegie’s academics for 2020-2021, due to CoVid-19. I am privileged enough to have access to a stable internet, but some of my peers are not. This shift from in-person to online has shown us, nationwide, the impact privilege (or the lack of) can have on a student’s educational attainment. Not all of us are privileged enough to have a designated study area where we can focus 100% on education, and the risk of going on-campus is still very much real.
Secondly, there was a stark change in the timing of our grading cycles, from the standard 9 weeks to the novel 6-week cycles. The attitude and expectations of many new and returning Carnegie students was for a 9-week cycle, like CVHS has historically followed. This change was a wildly different kind of schedule than we were used to. No longer are students able to mentally cope with the dips and curves their grade averages experience, as they previously had. The new 6-week cycle has put all CVHS students on an anxious high, keeping our eyes fixated on our grades at all times as to match the rigor Carnegie’s reputation has.
Our stress is already high during this time of anticipation. On top of this, it has recently been decided that our classwork deadlines would be pushed forward each class.
We present the following dissent upon such policy:
1. That removing our extra 24 hours to complete coursework does continue to emphasize the present inequalities already available due to online learning within Carnegie.
- As stated above, it takes time for students to properly comprehend material presented in synchronous time lecture. Naturally, some students take longer to comprehend material than others, not due to some innate “intelligence” disparity, but rather due to the privilege of prior preparation. Prior preparation is an aspect of educational attainment that tends to be given to those of us who have parents who can dedicate the time and money to students. It is not something that we all have, and thus is not something that we should expect, particularly in a public school education setting. Carnegie prides itself for being diverse, not just racially, but economically as well. Tightening the time constraints of completing coursework will narrow the percentage of students who will not only be able to complete the work set, but also the percentage of students who will actually understand their coursework material. Those who are left behind just so happen to be the marginalized groups public education was meant to solve. The goal of public education should be to ensure that all students understand material, not just the few privileged who are able to pay money for tutoring. Understanding takes time, and taking away that extra 24 hours limits our capacity to do what we come to school to do.
2. That removing our extra 24 hours to complete coursework does place Carnegie students at a disadvantage when looking at performance on a district, state, and national level in regards to College applications.
- The removal of 24 hours seems to be a “Carnegie-only” policy, rather than some rule set by the district or state. To put it in the words of the teacher who brought this policy to my attention, it was a “school” policy. Not a nation, state, or even district policy, but one that is purely unique to Carnegie. This puts our students at a disadvantage in competition with other Texas, or even Houston students, for college applications. Colleges don’t care that this policy that caused so many assignments to be labelled late and thus lower grades, was just a policy unique to this one school in Houston: they look at grades as grades, not the stories behind them. When you take away 24 hours, you take away 24 hours for students to better answer material and to better comprehend and retain education.
3. That removing our extra 24 hours to work places additional stress and burden upon the teacher-student relation of Carnegie.
- The removal of 24 hours means that in their frantic chase to complete coursework in time, students will choose to message teachers at times inappropriate to coursework. As I and many of my peers have been told repeatedly, teachers don’t want to hear from us on the weekends, nor do they want us to message them continuously after school ends. Taking this attitude, it is not far off for us to conclude that teachers, much like students, like to have structure in their life. They want to be able to delineate their school time to the appropriate groups so that they may give the best possible teaching performance to all students. Requiring students to turn in work by days when they don’t have that class fogs this line many students have attempted to establish this school year, and degrades their attitude towards class and teachers. Why should I be worried about Calculus on a day where my dedication should be to Chemistry? We need to have clear lines on what day and what class we are in, lest we drown ourselves in confusion and anxiety.
The students understand the administration's desire to encourage us to use our asynchronous class time properly, but removing the 24 hour buffer we have between our even classes and odd classes is not the manner in which to do so. In an academic year where most of us are stuck at home doing work online, the blur between what is asynchronous classwork and what is just homework is one in the same. Carnegie students don’t view classwork as classwork: we view them as compliments to our homework. Give us the time to step away from the computer, to understand the 45 minute lecture, to think about what we know and what we don’t know. Give us the 24 hours to complete our schoolwork at our own pace of understanding: the one benefit virtual learning has given us.
You wish to treat us as if we are in a regular school year, but we aren’t in regular times. 24 hours is all it takes for us to regain a sense of normalcy.
For the purpose of maintaining the students mental health, and for the purpose for ensuring that no further inequalities are perpetuated in our educational system, we ask that this policy be withdrawn.