Special ed. students and the honor roll
Carol Schulz, a grandmother in northern Minnesota, is calling in the ACLU. She is angry because her granddaugher was not allowed on the honor roll at Crookston High School.
As a special-education student, Schulz's granddaughter's modified classes kept her below the credit level required by the school to make the honor roll this spring, though she has a 3.75 grade-point average out of a possible 4.0 GPA.
Schulz said that system is unfair.
Crookston High School officials say credit requirements that give less weight to modified special-education classes than mainstream classes are necessary to be fair to the most students. The honor roll system also is tied to class ranking, which often is reviewed for college admissions and scholarships.
Schulz, whose granddaughter has mild mental retardation, called a meeting with Crookston High School officials last month after learning that her granddaughter would not make the honor roll. Schulz is her granddaughter's legal guardian.
Schulz's granddaughter had taken seven classes and received A's in five of them. However, she needed one more weighted credit to meet the school's honor roll policy. Two of her classes were modified and another, band, also is a nonweighted course.
Students at Crookston High must be in at least five nonmodified courses for the semester and receive a letter grade in each in order to make the A or B honor roll, according to Ron Lutovsky, high school counselor. There are seven class periods a day, leaving room for two modified and other nonweighted class options, he said.
I have slightly mixed feelings on this one. I am certainly not against a special education student, who does her best, receiving recognition, but on the other hand, I think Crookston's policy of using weighted grades in their honor roll makes sense. True academic achievement involves effort, but it also involves a certain amount of ability. If we want more true academic achievement in our schools, then we need to reward it, and if those rewards are going to mean anything, some students are going to be more capable of earning them than others. That's true in athletics, it's true in the fine arts, and it's also true in academics. I think it would be nice if we could find a way to reward people like Carol Schulz's granddaughter without pretending that her performance is on a par with the kids who are taking much tougher classes than she is.