Success Academy to keep letter grades despite DOE plans for new grading system

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Success Academy Charter Schools will continue to implement traditional grading while the Department of Education is reportedly planning a new grading system for what remains of the school year during the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

On Friday, April 24, NY1 reported that the Department of Education is gearing up to announce a new grading policy for students this week. Under the new system, students in kindergarten through eighth grade would be given one of two grades, satisfactory or needs improvement. According to the outlets reporting, high schools students would still receive letter grades but marks that would normally result in failing a class would instead be recorded as “incomplete.”

“The world has fundamentally changed, but the benefits and requisites of education have not,” wrote Success Academy Charter Schools CEO Eva Moskowitz in a letter to families of the system’s 18,000 students. “Now is not the time to throw out standards and give up on kids.” 

Moskowitz cited San Francisco and Seattle as examples of cities that have eliminated grades. In mid-April, the Seattle school board announced that high schoolers would either be given A’s or Incomplete’s for courses taken during the spring semester as teachers deal with unprecedented challenges of remote learning. Education officials in San Francisco are pushing for the same policy. 

“These decisions are made in the name of equity, but the outcomes for children will be far from fair.” wrote Moskowitz. “True equity honors the integrity of learning. It ensures accountability for students and educators alike. “

The letter acknowledges challenges faced by students, teachers and parents alike after the charter school system, made up of 45 schools, transitioned to remove learning on March 13 and recognizes that not all students have been able to adapt equally. 

“The pain and suffering brought on by coronavirus are real, and the hardships families have endured cannot be overstated. Despite this, we cannot wave a magic wand and declare all children achieved mastery,” Moskowitz adds.

“That would cheat students with real gaps of the education they deserve. Instead, we are being practical: revising and simplifying our academic priorities, while also aiming high and being ambitious for our students — loving them dearly and doing everything we can to help them achieve their full potential. “