This morning, I received the following email from a counselor colleague:
_____ is currently getting an “F” in your _____ class ____ period. She feels she will not be able to get her percentage up enough to pass, and therefore has signed up for AIS Eng. 4, second semester. Would you please allow her to use class time to work on her course? She has a full-time job and any time she could use to work on the AIS class would help her a great deal! Please have a discussion with her about it and thanks!
This was my instant response:
_____, _____ “feels” like she isn’t going to pass, so you want her to stay sitting in my class but doing what she wants for the AIS you’ve gone ahead and signed her up for instead?
I’m sorry, but that’s ridiculous. What kind of message does that send? What precedent does it establish? Why didn’t either of you consult me before deciding that she couldn’t pass? Did she tell you that she came in to get make up work at the end of third quarter and resolved to pass the class then, but has failed to follow up on that?
With this plan, we’d be giving her our blessing to stop doing work for class whenever she wants, or altogether! What’s the point of her being here, then? What does that do to the expectations for everyone else in the class? A student enrolled in my class will be expected to work on my class. If you want her to do AIS work during that period instead, you need to withdraw her from my class and let her work in your office. Even then, I’d want this run by an administrator.
If neither of those options is acceptable, then let’s bring this to _____ to work out. Really, _____, this strikes me as incredibly irresponsible.
He quickly replied with some more details of the student’s hardships, and a statement that he would tell her to work in my class but use the Independent Study as a back up. I was still upset and wanted to write back that such counseling to her was hardly the affirmation of high standards that we should be communicating, but I think I’ll let this one go. I don’t want to permanently estrange myself from a good coworker, nor do I think further argument would change anything.
But I still think this is a great illustration of the institutionalized mindset too many in education have that low standards are a small price to pay for squeezing out better grade and graduation statistics. Sad.