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No 'F' Grades for Youngsters

April 06, 1986

I missed your article regarding the action of the school board abolishing the failing grade for children in the early grades (an action I applaud as a genuine act of humane intelligence), but I did see the responses in the letters column.

None of your letter writers addressed a point that is far too basic to be ignored: Children come to kindergarten or pre-school already prepared to accept failure if they are not prepared to do the best they can to avoid failure. Parents, after all, do not hold their children in some sort of learning limbo against the day they set foot in a classroom for the first time.

The essentials for an academic attitude, whether it be for achievement, mediocrity or failure, are determined by genetic endowment and by parental preparation and is settled for all time long before the child enters the classroom. To start dumping symbols of failure on a child who can not meet standard academic expectations is cruel. The school board understands this.

The first step is to stop brutalizing these children. The next step is to create another learning environment for them.

JOHN A. NILSEN

Los Angeles

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