Saturday, November 10, 2007

Sample Letters on Report Cards for Schools

From time to time Social Issues will select passages from letters that can be used as models in writing to editors

Sample Letters to the Editor in the New York Times on Report Cards for Schools

November 10, 2007
A School Is More Than an A, B or C

1. To the Editor:

Re “50 City Schools Get Failing Grade in a New System” (front page, Nov. 6):

Grading schools is as absurd as grading students. The criteria for both are equally detrimental to achieving the goals of a truly useful education: self-awareness, an engaged citizenry and the skills necessary to generate meaningful, dignified work.

Until we address the core societal conditions that now make such goals unattainable for the vast majority, there is little hope that obfuscating parlor tricks like high-stakes testing, free cellphones for every child and schoolwide report cards will serve as successful incentives.

Roland Legiardi-Laura
New York, Nov. 6, 2007


2. To the Editor:

Why use an A-to-F format to grade an entire school, when educators are moving away from that kind of a report card for our children because it is insufficient? Why use more high-pressure tests that don’t really gauge the students’ ability or the quality of the school?

Our public schools are full of highly motivated, creative teachers. They are often beaten down by large class sizes, lack of support, and more and more testing.

I urge all parents to ignore these report cards.

Ray Franks
New York, Nov. 6, 2007

3. To the Editor:

Report card grades are based mainly on test scores. This means progress is measured by a single score on a single test on a single day.

Parents want more. We want to know if our children are reading more books; if their understanding is deeper; if they ask intelligent questions; if they are curious and creative; and if they can work cooperatively. No test score will give us this information. Learning is complex, and assessments should be, too.

Jane Hirschmann
New York, Nov. 5, 2007


Anonymous said...

It was great reading those letters about report card grades but if you really want to foster communication, you should have identified the letter written by Jane Hirschmann, as co-chairwoman of Time Out From Testing. That was the identification in the paper and it will help people get in touch with this movement. They can go to
And if you are in NYC, get those petitions signed against the Report Card Grades

leonard waks said...

Thank you to the anonymous commentator for adding the affiliation of Jane Hirschman and the link.

Let me express the hope that readers will continue to add this sort of information in the future.

This post was intended only to provide models that can be studied and emulated, not to promote Time Out From Testing or any specific effort.

I have no doubt, however, that Time Out From testing is doing wonderful things and that its work should be applauded by the Dewey Society.