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Today: A spate of failing grades could lead to long-term consequences. The Supreme Court’s N.C.A.A. ruling could lead to even more positive outcomes.
High school students at greatest risk
During the coronavirus pandemic, students across the country dropped courses at alarming rates. Houston had half the high school students who got at the least one F for the fall 2020 semester. That’s up from 35% the year prior. Five Dallas high schools saw more students fail two or more courses in spring than the one school two years prior. And in Chicago, a recent story by WBEZ described teachers at high-poverty high schools agonizing about whether to fail students.
The increase in failing grades is one of the clearest signs of how the pandemic has affected students’ education. Experts are particularly worried about high school students’ ability to make up the learning gaps.
Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington Bothell, said that “one year of poor grades can change the trajectory of a high-school student’s life.”
She added that a failing grade meant the student didn’t master the course content and would likely struggle in the future without much support.
How to deal with failing grades during the pandemic has been a matter of debate. Boston Public Schools stopped tying attendance marks to marks. Some schools also stopped issuing F’s and instead issued “incompletes”, giving students the opportunity to do up work.
Yet, the failure rate in core classes among Boston high school students was still high.
Experts are concerned that if schools fail to take steps to re-engage struggling student, helping them make up credit and restoring confidence, this could cause many to drop out of high school or reduce their chances of getting into selective colleges.
Research has shown that a student who gets one or two F’s (9th grade ) significantly reduces his/her chance of graduation.
Ms. Lake said it was critical that districts give students the opportunity to retake classes or improve their grades this summer or next year.
Many blame remote learning for student failures. However, students were most likely affected by financial stress and other health problems during the pandemic.
Houston, for instance, had schools reopened on Oct. 19, but 60 per cent of students remained at home, online high school students did better than those who returned in-person, according to district data.
President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package included $129 billion for K-12 education, aimed at getting students back to school and making up the losses of the past year and a half. Now, districts must figure out how to make use of that aid to help high-school students get back on track and convince those who have lost their confidence that they can succeed at school.
A win for college athletics
Monday was unanimously decided by the Supreme Court. It is not possible to ban student-athletes from receiving relatively modest education-related payments. Due to television rights deals college sports generate significant revenues for universities as well as coaches. But this is not true for the players.
“The N.C.A.A.’s business model in almost any other sector in America would be flatly illegal,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in an enraged opinion. It described the N.C.A.A.’s policy in a classic example of antitrust price-fixing behavior.
In an analysis by our colleague Billy Witz, he wrote that the decision “provided several victories for people who argue that billion-dollar industries should be dismantled.”
More change may soon come. Its logic suggests that the court might be open for a challenge to N.C.A.A. s ban on college athletes earning money from their names, images, and likenesses.
“To some extent, the Supreme Court decision is a sideshow,” Alan Blinder of The Times, , said to The Morning newsletter. “The most significant change that will affect the majority of athletes now is coming one week from Thursday.”
At least six state laws will become effective in that time — Alabama Florida Georgia Mississippi New Mexico Texas and Mississippi — allowing players to make endorsements or monetize social networks.
A discussion on an ethics problem
It’s difficult to answer questions about vaccine status. It’s even harder in a power dynamic, like when an adult is interacting with students.
A single person wrote in to The Times to run a group at college where only one was granted a religious exemption. (The college does not require a Covid-19 shot.
The person explained that group meetings are important and Zoom is not a great substitute. But it is not easy for several people to meet with someone who has not been vaccinated.
They were puzzled about how they could have group functions but not exclude someone who isn’t vaccinated.
Kwame Anthony Apiah, who writes for The Times about ethics, responded. He wrote that the majority who have been vaccinated do not need to make any changes which would create a significant and unnecessary burden.
Kwame states that “people are free to refuse vaccination for religious purposes,” but “they may have to deal the consequences.”
An unrelated piece advise : You can acknowledge bullying if your child is present.
“Start by starting with something simple, such as: ‘Did this kid say anything when we walked through? Philip Galanes, a writer for The Times who covers thorny social issues, suggested that “That was really mean.”
“Then, stop,” he said to a worried reader. “If your son wants to talk about it, he will let you know in body language or words.”