Switch to Pass/Incomplete for the duration of the school closure

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It is deeply unethical and inequitable to assign traditional letter grades during the school closure, for assignments completed during online learning, which has been necessitated by an international pandemic. We, the members of the Arundel High School Equity Team, have requested that the members of the Board for Anne Arundel County Public Schools adopt a modified version of Superintendent Arlotto’s original recommendation by converting grades to a Pass/Incomplete system.** We invite supporters from across Anne Arundel County to sign on in support of this change.

We believe that if we continue to assign letter grades during a global pandemic, we are sending our students the message that in a moment when they are faced with a life-threatening illness, family turmoil, economic hardship, social isolation, and mental and emotional despair, the thing they should be most worried about is academic grades. If we continue to assign letter grades for instruction offered exclusively online, we are sending our students the message that we are willing to penalize them for the various obstacles they face in accessing instruction outside our classrooms. A proposal to allow students to choose whether they earn a passing grade or a letter grade is not equitable because high letter grades are not equally available to all students while schools are closed.

The obstacles to learning introduced or exacerbated by the Coronavirus disease outbreak and school closure include: uncertainty; stress; isolation; schedule and sleep disruption; financial hardship; illness; lack of access to instruction due to technological and/or internet limitations; lack of access to traditional IEP, 504, and ESOL accommodations and supports; language barriers; and lack of familiarity with Google classroom.

While this move may not make everyone happy, it still remains the most equitable move during this global crisis.  To have a better understanding of why, please visit the following link for the MABE (Maryland Association of Boards of Education) Equity Framework Card. https://www.mabe.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/2018-Equity-Lens-Card.pdf

We invite you to review the *open letter we sent to Members of the Anne Arundel County School Board on Friday, April 24, 2020 as well as the information we have collected in favor of this move therein. We also invite you to contact Members of the School Board yourself. You can find the link to their contact information below. If you would like to copy us on your email so that we can include your comments in our list of community letters, please include ArundelEquityTeam@gmail.com to your list of recipients.

We appreciate your time and support.

Be well,

The Arundel Equity Team



** This petition was updated on 4/27/2020 to more clearly indicate that our position on pass/incomplete option differs from Superintendent Arlotto's original motion. The original version of this sentence read "We, the members of the Arundel High School Equity Team, have requested that the members of the Board for Anne Arundel County Public Schools follow Superintendent Arlotto’s recommendation to convert grades to a Pass/Incomplete system."