I Wish I Were A Consultant

From time to time, I will facetiously suggest to my wife that when I grow up, I would like to be a consultant. In actuality, it is quite an amusing, even ludicrous statement. By definition, an individual needs an area of expertise to qualify as a consultant. Alas, I am still looking for that area. But, an individual named  Ken O’Connor has found his area and it is education. The Wake County North Carolina school system is considering(at this point) about whether or not they should hire Mr O’Connor, at a cost of several thousand(?) per day.

The cost alone has raised some red flags but some of Mr O’Connor’s proposals have raised even more. He has written a book entitled ” A Repair Kit for Grading: 15 Fixes for Broken Grades.” Some of his ideas are a bit controversial. They are:

  • No-zero policy
  • Not reducing an academic grade for cheating or handing in late work

One would think these, especially #2, would be a no-brainer  to oppose. Wonder of wonders, the Saturday edition of The News & Observer published four letters to the editor on this topic. Two were pro Mr O’Connor and two were not.One of the pros was a middle school teacher and one was a parent.

I find it almost astonishing  to imagine that a student who cheated would not have his/her grade reduced. If they got the grade, why should they care if  non academic “punishment” ensues. And a quote from the muddle school teacher,”If work is submitted late but still demonstrates understanding of a concept, it is necessary to acknowledge the understanding. Huh?

Breathes there a student who in looking back wishes they had had the benefit of this policy. Boy, I  sure can think of times I would have benefited. But, believe it or not there are real world deadlines that have to be met. Getting to work in a timely manner is expected and if one habitually violates said expectation, one can even be asked to seek employment elsewhere. And, cheating, well forget it unless you are a valuable Obama appointee.

So, the unanswered question to me is  this. Why would  a consultant who has been doing this type of work since 1996 which was preceded by about 30 years of teaching experience in Canada and Australia would advocate such revolutionary ideas? Why ask why?


May 18, 2009 - Posted by | education | , , , , , , ,

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