MAILBAG: School Report Cards For Coronavirus Time?! Seriously?

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Dear YWN.

Two manila envelopes arrive in the mail yesterday unexpectedly, so I opened them up – and to my surprise and bewilderment, they were REPORT CARDS!

Yes, You read correctly. REPORT CARDS.

Perhaps the wonderful readership of YWN can explain to me and the rest of the outraged parents what was the point of sending reports cards to “grade” the students who were all in quarantine?

What exactly did they base these grades on? Who do these Mosdos Hatorah consult with? No one apparently.

I have dug around and learned that many schools were in touch with leading Gedolim along with professionals and were advised NOT to issue report cards based on the student’s performance during COVID-19. The children (and parents) were under tremendous stress the past few months, and now this unnecessary added stress. On what basis exactly could they possibly “grade” them on? The phone-conference participation? The Zoom-conference participation? How can schools gives grades on student performance given the state of the world and the unknown conditions at home? Students were never meant to learn on the phone or Zoom, nor were teachers to teach using these methods without training or preparation.

Do these schools have any idea what kind of mental health fallout there already is, with therapist dealing right now with a huge number of new cases of young students suffering from anxiety, behavioral issues and many other destructive behaviors? Is this what the children needed now?

Or was this done to “show” that the school is still “functioning perfectly” and in the minds of some school-owners this was warranted to be able to collect tuition?

Just wondering where the children’s best interests are in any of this?

Disgusted in Flatbush.

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t see why the school can’t issue report cards to the parents so they know how their children are doing, regardless of the circumstances.

    What the school does in response to those circumstances is a different matter. But I don’t see the harm in letting parents know how their children did.

  2. My boys’ school also issued a report card for their Zoom sessions but they only entered 2 marks: attendance and class readiness. The latter mark was if the children came properly dressed and with the requisite books. They did not mark classwork nor homework although my sons did their work diligently. The rationale was that this was necessary to keep children from cutting out. I think they made the right decision. They were mindful of the stress going on at home and tried to keep yeshiva functioning as best as possible. I think they did the right thing! Enough bashing our institutions: they tried hard.

  3. I am wondering if it was the exact same style report card as in the past, or if there was some kind of letter that went along with it empathizing with the parents’ plight? I think that would have gone a long way.

  4. Is this what the children needed now? Is it the children or parents having the meltdown? We received my son’s progress report which indicated how the rebbe tried the best he could to take attendance and based on how my son answered questions and participated in the daily leaning. Neither my wife nor I were taken aback or upset with receiving the progress report.

  5. Shouldn’t the children who succeeded during corona be recognized for their efforts in challenging times? Maybe the fact that many children couldn’t thrive during this time period shouldn’t be held against them, but those that did well should certainly be recognized.

  6. Please remember that for every parent who agrees with you, there is one who disagrees. From first hand experience I know that many parents wanted to know how their children were doing. This is especially true in middle/high schools where the students were more independent.
    Please do us all a favor and relax before condemning all schools. That is what you are doing, throwing all of them under the bus because you don’t agree with something that one school did.
    Before writing to a public forum, speak directly to the school.

  7. My brother is a rebbi he tells me it was extremely unfair to give report cards this term. When a child is sitting in your class you control the situation. When a child is sitting at home who is control? who is supervising? Do you know the dynamics of the child’s house. He had one boy who was trying to learn while his mother was sitting shiva. How was he able to concentrate when his mother was answering phone calls in the next room? My brother’s principal, whom I know, is an ish chochom. He told his rebbeim to write a letter to each parent instead of marks. The rebbeim were asked to try to write how the learning environment was different, and what they should focus on during the summer.
    This letter is going to come back in September when some nut job principal or board of director will tell the rebbeim or Moros we have a curriculum to complete make sure you complete it. This will really help the weaker students to catch up on the skills they missed the last four months.

  8. Why oh why is everything a crisis? Just don’t look at it or show it to your kids and the crisis goes away. Stop looking for fake issues.

  9. a. It would be helpful to know which schools the author is complaining about.

    b. My kids all got very good report cards, and they were happy to get their report cards and awards, especially under the difficult circumstances of Zoom classrooms. One thing that I am sure helped them was their mother’s determined and persistent efforts to keep them engaged on line. It seems this feedback from the schools can make the best of a very difficult situation.

  10. Personally, I believe the parents should write report cards for how well the Rebbe and Teacher taught. How well did they engage the students? Did the school administration really do the best possible? Did the parents get what they paid for?

    True that we’re in uncharted times, but if there should be grades let it be that way. Every parent knows where is child is holding better than the Rebbe/Teacher.

  11. Zaidy78 I assure you that parents did issue their “report cards” about the school and their rabbeim. Often. For compliments and plenty of complaining. Your comment shows an ignorance that a zaidy has over a parent. Many parents have no idea where their kids are holding and it is naive to think otherwise. Again I don’t see the big deal in a school doing their job and sending out report cards. As I said earlier if you don’t like then throw it out and don’t read it. Problem solved.

  12. So sorry for your pain.

    Report cards in this time period should be based on effort and that’s all.
    Not attendance. Some kids can’t learn well on zoom. They should get graded for effort for all the times they DID show up.
    If someone did really well learning these past few months- so give them their own unique report card.