I wrote earlier today about clueless policymakers who think they are helping struggling students by raising standards. They believe fervently that the students will try harder and get higher test scores if the passing mark is raised.

A reader responded:

A similar policy is being rolled out in LAUSD.   The total number of credits needed for graduation have been reduced so that students can retake and retake courses they have failed.   However, the stakes are even higher because a “D” is no longer considered a passing grade.    Again, there is no pilot program to base the efficacy of such a move.   As class sizes increase and services are cut, there is no plan to address the cause of poor performance that leads to failure in high school.

Many feel that this policy will actually increase the dropout rate and/or create pressure on schools to demand that teachers inflate student grades in order to get a positive evaluation.

When this policy eventually fails, as it most certainly will, who will take the blame?    Most likely, the school board will have new members and the district will have hired a new superintendent.    So, who will be left to take the blame?    Could it be the teachers?

This is becoming a national story. First, they cut the budget. Then they lay off teachers. Then they increase class size and cut out the arts and other things not tested. Then they say the schools are failing. And the reason: Not enough effective teachers.