WJ should reinforce the Loss of Credit policy


Illustration by Nour Faragallah

For many seniors who have poor attendance in Honors English 12, admin will overturn the teacher’s decision to fail them because the student is “ready to graduate.”

At the beginning of high school as a part of the thousand presentations students have to sit through, we are warned a lot about attendance, about how parents would receive a warning after five unexcused absences. And if students have more than five unexcused absences, they are in danger of receiving a failing grade. It’s called the Loss of Credit policy, but that literally never happens.

That is especially true for seniors in a required graduation credit like English. Some students would have over 30 unexcused absences and still pass the class. That is because when a teacher attempts to fail them, the administration intervenes. They schedule meetings with the student’s parents in an attempt to push the teacher to not fail them. Phrases like, “They tried so hard” or “The student is ready to graduate” are said in these meetings in an attempt to make the teacher manipulate the grades so they can pass a class they made a minimal effort in. Multiple teachers have reported being overridden by administrators if they do fail a student. Imagine being that teacher; what is the point of sitting down to grade everything if these grades don’t matter and can be easily overridden by administration if it doesn’t fit their agenda?

There are various reasons why administrators would not want to fail students. Firstly, it makes the school look bad by lowering the graduation rate. But is it right to put statistics and public image over actual fairness? The second and more prominent motive is that the administration is afraid of parental backlash, especially in a particularly affluent area. It is known here how parents get very defensive with teachers and administrators, even if their child is in the wrong. Delaying their child’s graduation by a year would receive a very loud recoil, but again, should that overrule fairness?

While the administration might think they are doing this effort for the students, it really isn’t in their best interest. MCPS has many policies that help students’ grades that I agree with, such as the 50% rule and taking the higher quarter grade for the semester. Recently most teachers don’t check whether an absence is excused or unexcused before allowing them to submit make-up work. But where do we draw the line? We have got to stop spoon-feeding students grades; it doesn’t prepare them for college or life, where they won’t be coddled and pass a class without effort.

This is also not fair to the other students who actually did the bare minimum by showing up to class. All of these students get equal credit for a class they very much did not put an equal amount of effort into.

Some might say that a lot of students will fail if we do enforce the rules, but students don’t show up to class because they know they can get away with it. If the administration stops letting students get away with doing less than the bare minimum, then more students will show up to class.