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What's So Terrible if Students Fail?

August 28, 1994

In response to the article on grade changes at Brea Olinda High School ("Discipline Possible for Officials Linked to Grade Changing," Aug. 17), I believe the issue of grade changing has a much deeper significance that is symbolic of our times. It reflects a general belief of parents, administrators and school boards that no student shall fail. This means that students are not held responsible or accountable for their own success or failure.

Education thrives on new ideas and innovative teaching but as with all new ideas, we tend to go overboard. Project Self-Esteem is an example. We all want to feel good about ourselves, and we certainly want our children to be positive about themselves, but we carry this concept too far if we don't allow our children to fail because it might damage their self-image. Sometimes, we learn more from our failures than our successes. We have to stop acting on the idea that no student shall be allowed to fail.

We also need to add more courses to our curriculum for students not college bound. Not every student is qualified or wants an academic program. There should be no stigma or loss of self-esteem if a student chooses other options.

We tend to forget in talking about the debacle at BOHS that what made us a Blue Ribbon school has not changed. We have a fine staff dedicated to the well-being of its students. We have students who graduate from BOHS and find that their high school experience has prepared them to compete successfully in college. We have parents who support their children and the public school system. I believe that in the long run we will have a stronger school if we learn from this painful experience, and isn't that what education is about?

ESTELLE WASLOSKY

Brea

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