Disclaimer: Much of this post doesn’t talk about grades and the reasoning only ties in to reflect grades near the end. The reason the title of this post talks about grades is because the abolition of grades will signify that some major problems plaguing the public school system have been addressed.
Recently I’ve had quite a lot of homework. This mostly is my fault due to procrastination; things I had weeks to work on, I chose to save for the last minute. But I’m not the only person I know who doesn’t procrastinate; nearly every kid who goes to school tends to procrastinate their homework, and this is the first time I really mean all schools when I say school, not just public schools. This is mostly because people don’t view homework as something worth doing.
When I see something worth doing, I will usually start on it pretty soon and worry about the nitty-gritty later. This is because the things I want to do are usually worth doing; I would not be so eager to start doing something I didn’t want to. Conversely, I worry more about the details for things I don’t want to do (see homework). I will usually postpone it and get ideas for it (if it requires and usage of brain cells) without putting them into action. So what does this mean for homework? It’s one of the things we’d like to have done, but that we never do until we absolutely have to. Usually, the reason we do homework is because we have to; and for those who say “You can choose not to do your homework,” that’s akin to saying “You can choose to abandon your future by pushing your car off a cliff.” That’s not a choice. Wrecking your car would make your wallet unhappy, and wrecking your grades would make your future unhappy.
But school should be a time to experiment with what matters to you; children don’t know what they want to do in the future (usually), so they have a place that is supposed to be convenient to experiment. Instead we get the opposite; experimentation is discouraged, and conformity is a must. There are many problems with school, including the extremely short periods we have to work with, stupid spirit days, “core” classes being mandatory, and this comes together to penalize motivation.
However, examples of schools that are starting at better situations and have fewer problems exist; the example I use is the CACC of Pleasanton. Nothing’s perfect, but doing something like that – or doing anything, really, is a long shot better than what we have now.