KEEP SDUHSD Hold Harmless Letter Grade or Credit/No Credit CHOICE

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On May 14, 2020, the SDUHSD School Board unanimously approved a grading policy that offers the CHOICE of a HOLD HARMLESS letter grade OR Credit/No Credit for Spring Semester 2020. 

However, there is a petition circulating that asks to take away this CHOICE. This petition is filled with misinformation and misunderstanding regarding how a HOLD HARMLESS policy works.  To be clear, though the petition used the SDUHSD logo, it was not published, or, to our knowledge, authorized, by an employee or representative of SDUHSD. 

If after reading below, you agree that students should be able to KEEP the ability to choose letter grades OR Credit/No Credit, please sign this petition and send to everyone you know.  Please don’t let our students’ CHOICE be taken away by a campaign of misinformation.  Remember, 4 petitions were signed supporting CHOICE, with a total of over 2,200 signatures. 

The District Administration has not issued their guidance or implementation plan, but here’s how it could work:

Students can choose HOLD HARMLESS letter grades, and HOLD HARMLESS means your grade for Spring Semester 2020 (LCC/TPHS/Sunset) or 4th Quarter (CCA/SDA) can go NO LOWER than what you had when schools closed (March 13th for LCC/TPHS/Sunset) or your 3rd quarter grade (CCA/SDA), and includes grade improvement during Distance Learning, OR students can choose Credit/No Credit for any class(es) taken in Spring Semester/4th Quarter 2020.

Here are the facts to address some misinformation in the petition to revert to Credit/No Credit ONLY Policy:

1.      The Board never voted to approve the Credit/No Credit ONLY grading policy. It was published by Superintendent Haley on April 3rd, without any vote at a regular or special board meeting, and not subsequently formally approved.

2.      To say many parents and students believed Credit/No Credit ONLY was a viable solution is a generalization based on no data.  No survey was done across all parents and students.  Since April 11, 2020, many parents and students had been requesting that the Board approve a grading policy that includes a hold harmless CHOICE for letter grades.  The matter was not added to the agenda until May 14th.  Before passing judgment, people should understand the proposal and review the guidelines when published.  According to the motion approved at the Board meeting, the new policy should permit grade improvement since Distance Learning began and under Board Policy and Administrative Regulations, teachers have wide latitude to help students succeed. The California Dept of Ed guidelines also support measures to support student work during distance learning.

3.      The assertion that students were not represented is FALSEFOUR on-site student representatives were at the Board meeting, made their views known, and were allowed to “vote” on the new policy adopted. All four ABSTAINED from voting.  The Board Meeting is a PUBLIC meeting that anyone can attend. The Board published the agenda on May 7th, so everyone got notice at the same time.  The fact that those in favor of Credit/No Credit ONLY did not submit comments or attend is not the responsibility of the Board or of the persons with a different view. And each person of any view is given equal opportunity to be speak under current Board practice.  We live in a democracy where we must make an effort to attend the public forums offered and have our voice heard. Further, the Board Trustees accept emails so your viewpoint can be brought to the attention of the Board before any meeting as well.

4.      The assertion that the Board held a meeting to discuss a double A/A- grading policy is FALSE. The Meeting Agenda was to discuss distance learning, and Dr. Haley presented the Credit/No Credit ONLY policy. Many people spoke at that meeting for choice, including the choice for a double A/A- grading policy. NO VOTE was taken on Dr. Haley’s or any other policy.

5.      The State Board of Education has mandated that grading policies at this time must hold students harmless and preserve progress. The data shows that taking away a student’s right to choose letter grades and improve their GPA does harm and does not preserve the progress of that student’s work.  The proponent of the petition offers no data to support their claims that CHOICE will create more bias, inequality and injustice, and the data provided to the Board for CHOICE shows it will create LESS bias, inequality and injustice than Credit/No Credit ONLY.  Further, the difference between how the Academy and Semester schools have been treated regarding grades for work prior to school closure already created imbalance and inequity.  Giving a choice between hold harmless letter grade and C/NC is the most balanced policy.