In February 2016, three out of five Laguna Beach Unified School Board members chose to eliminate honors course grade bumps, with few courses remaining intact. The presentation provided little evidence or facts other than a wish to align with UC grade weighting ideals.
Parents, concerned for our children’s futures and opportunities for scholarships, admission, and motivation, are requesting that the school board reverse this policy, reinstate all honors course grade-weighting, and apply this retroactively.
Fundamental items seem to have been overlooked in the board’s final decision-making process. The Academic Task Force did not consider the relationship between weighted grades and merit scholarship. Private colleges and out of state colleges seek to boost their own school’s overall GPA rating and offer merit scholarships based on incoming students’ higher GPAs.
Lack of community awareness contributed to confusion about what was being decided at this meeting. In that same meeting, the board also took away the advanced math pathway classes that had been offered at the middle school. The advanced math program has since been reinstated, but only after a group of parents took the board to task for taking away opportunity from students to excel.
While trying to align with UC weighting practices, the board did not consider that many LBHS students do not go on to UC schools. Nor did they seem concerned that honors course grade-weighting is fully intact for neighboring school districts putting our students at a further, competitive disadvantage.
Students choose to take these rigorous courses on their own, knowing that if they put in the extra effort, they will be rewarded in their overall GPA. There is concern that some students take honors and AP courses simply to grade-pad for coveted class ranking positions. This is easily remedied by doing away with class rank. Instead of a number 1, make it the 4.3-4.5 GPA and above achievers who receive recognition at graduation
We all want to promote excellence in our district. The Class of 2020 is the first group that will graduate without the advantage of having all honors courses grade-weighted. The board’s policy decision to take away grade advantage will no doubt be under scrutiny.
We have asked that the school board add this item to the upcoming April 23 meeting agenda. Although not assured that this will occur, we ask those who are interested attend this meeting and speak at public comments. Interested parties can also sign a petition to retroactively reinstate all honors course grade-weights by visitingwww.change.org/p/retroactively-reinstate-all-honors-course-grade-weighting-bumps-at-lbhs.
Amy Kramer, Laguna Beach