Palestine schools should stick to its standards

The East Palestine Board of Education has discussed changing its grading scale during several meetings this summer.

Currently in the school system the lowest score to obtain an “A” is 93, while the lowest score to pass a class is 70.

Based on a proposed new grading scale, a 92 would be the lowest for an “A”, while a 65 would be the lowest to pass a course.

The high school’s Building Leadership Team, a group consisting of four high school department chairs, suggested the change to the grading scale based on other school systems throughout Columbiana County.

The board has currently tabled the proposal, so even if approved later, it won’t be implemented this year.

While the majority of staff members appear to be in favor of the change, at least one board member and a retired teacher have spoken out against it.

Board member Ron Novak said he believes it would open the door for students to reduce their efforts in classes if they know they can pass with a lower score.

He said the district should retain the “higher standard” already in place.

Dan McKinstry, retired teacher and current varsity softball coach, told the board he fears the change will send a message to students that they are lowering their expectations.

“I have thought long and hard about this, and I am very upset … I don’t want to see us expect less of our kids, and I am afraid that message might be transferred. I just don’t want to see us lower our standards when we are at the top,” McKinstry said.

He added that the district shouldn’t “go the other way” when standards are being raised in other areas, like state testing. McKinstry also pointed out that fewer East Palestine students have been required to take remediation courses as freshmen in college and he attributes this to the school’s higher grading scale.

We hope the East Palestine school board will think long and hard before voting to abandon the higher grading standards that have served the district well through the years. When expectations are lowered, results usually decline as well.