The Rubber Stamp Committee of the Board of Education will meet on Wednesday

This Friday some Coventry parents will see a new style report card.  Gone are the days when a student of excellence earns an “A” or a student fails with an “F”.  So what is the new system and why has Coventry changed?

The answer is not as simple as the question.  The first widespread public notice of the change was reported in The Willimantic Daily Chronicle and for citizens of Coventry that watch Board of Education meetings on television it was a surprise.  A surprise because it was never discussed by the Board of Education at any public meeting and members of the Board of Education didn’t even know about the change.

Does it amaze you that a basic system of student evaluation which has been in place for generations was changed without notice, input or approval of the Board of Education?  The representatives of the people charged with the responsibility to over see the educational system in Coventry were left out of the discussion or decision to implement this change.  Our elected representatives didn’t even have any opportunity to ask questions or offer input prior to the change going into effect.

This Wednesday the Board of Education will be presented with a presentation of what is now the policy for grading in our schools.  The first of the new report cards are due to be sent home on Friday.  Isn’t it nice to know that the elected officials charged with the responsibility to oversee our educational programs will finally be made aware of the change?

When you vote for members of the Board of Education do you expect them to just rubber stamp programs and changes after the decisions are made or do you expect they will actively participate in educational oversight?  The issue here is not the quality or justification of changing the grading system it is an issue of responsibility and authority for the Board of Education.

According to the newspaper the Lebanon Superintendent was also quoted as saying it was an issue to be looked at for Lebanon but it would be brought to the Board of Education for more discussion.  The new report also disclosed a report card workshop was held to inform parents in Coventry and that feedback from parents was positive.  So if a parent had a question and was not at the workshop they would have been in the dark like members of the Board of Education.

The key word is “informed” as if the administrators are presenting the parents and the Board of Education the information as a courtesy to keep them “informed”.  It seems appropriate to have the Board of Education involved in policy decisions and given the opportunity as leaders to have input and vote to approve such changes.  They are the elected voice of the people and yet too often they sit in darkness and silence only to react with a rubber stamp of approval after the fact.

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