Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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‘F’ your failing grades

COVID isn’t the time to punish students but to understand and assist. Tough times aren’t limited to teachers.
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COVID isn’t the time to punish students but to understand and assist. Tough times aren’t limited to teachers.

COVID-19 has without a doubt taken away what could have been a normal spring semester and for any professor to hand out a failing grade without any hesitation is to show how incredibly disconnected we can be as human beings.

It would have to take the most apathetic, cold hearted and out-of-touch “educator” to look between the two options of failing a student or simply dropping them with an “EW”, and still choose the “F.”

Because, yes, these professors are perfectly capable of dropping their students from their computers within the safety and comfort of their own home.

News flash: They have to look at a screen. Just tap their fingers on a keyboard. Click a button or two.

Student advocates and a few faculty members have shown support for allowing all dropped students to receive an “EW” for the Spring 2020 semester.

But some educators, for whatever reason, don’t want that. Why?

The common rule has always been that the student is responsible for dropping out of a class themselves and may be handed a failing grade at the end of the session.

This rule was made prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, however.

It was made before students had to now worry about unemployment, their own mental and physical health and their own adaptation and survival during a literal global pandemic that is killing hundreds of thousands of people.

Make that 60,000 in just the United States alone.

Maybe even some within the student’s own area.

For a lot of students, school is one of the last things on their minds, especially as many consider dropping out altogether.

Sure, a student can click the button that drops them. Professors have the option to drop those students, too.

So why not just do it? It costs them nothing and may save a student’s academic career.

What’s with these “power moves”? What does an educator possibly gain from staring at their screen, watching their student fail?

It seems while a lot of students have to grow up and start handling real world, adult issues maturely, a lot of these faculty members are having too much fun playing the part of the petty, stubborn child.

Concerns about dropping a student who does not wish to be dropped can solved with one easy solution:

“All who don’t want to be dropped must respond to this email within this period of time.”

The students who are willing and able to stay in class, will stay. The ones who don’t respond have made their choice and have clearly shown that school isn’t a priority of their’s right now.

And that is okay.

To be honest, some students have to worry issues like unemployment, basic needs and insecurities before the pandemic and the situation just became a whole lot more difficult for them.

The California Students Higher Education Advocacy Round Table recognizes this and emphasizes the importance of college and university leaders including real students in their decisions that will directly affect them.

“Don’t make student decisions without students,” Valerie Johnson, transfer student affairs officer from the UC Student Association, said.

Students deserve the academic leniency that they are demanding.

It is not the student’s fault that the world is changing drastically around them; it is the school’s responsibility to change its rules and adapt to the new normal.

It is unfair and completely unrealistic to hold students to the same academic standard as before.

Other’s may point out that some students are genuinely earning a failing grade or perhaps that they were failing before the pandemic hit.

It’s been said by professors before: “You have to really try to fail my class.”

Again, who cares?

What do you possibly gain from bragging about how students were failing YOUR class prior to the world becoming more difficult around them?

The students aren’t failing. The system is.

COVID-19 has created unique problems for the Spring 2020 semester and must be fixed with unique solutions.

Maybe some “bad” students “lucked” out this semester.

To think that any dangerous, global pandemic is “lucky” is completely beyond words but if I must choose some, I’d say this way of thinking is ignorant and aloof.

This is not a “lucky” situation for anyone involved.

COVID-19 has definitely shined light on who should be working in the field of education and who shouldn’t, but for those who still aspire to teach, look within yourself and ask if you’re doing what you can to encourage student success.

That is, after all, your role.

Adapt to the unfortunate reality and give your students the academic leniency they so rightfully deserve.

Dropping a student rather than dragging their grade through an unfortunate semester than can affect their future is the right thing to do.

In fact, it’s the easier thing to do.

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About the Contributor
Kianna Znika, Editor in Chief
Kianna Znika is the current Editor-in-Chief for Talon Marks and previously worked as the News & Community Editor. Her goal is to work for any publication that values nature, mental health, community and the overall wellbeing of others. When she's not working on a news story or sharing her unfiltered opinion with the world, she enjoys reading/writing, hanging out with friends, and taking care of her dog, geckos, and indoor plants.
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    Allen ForsytheMay 5, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    I hope your EW proposal is adopted. Although, education is a two-way street between educators and students. each sharing responsibility for success, professors, like medical doctors, should do no harm. In the event a student receives a fail, the mark could be appealed and the student would very likely prevail due to the covid-19 situation. You are absolutely right, it would be very easy for the professor to assign the EW mark but if he/she doesn’t, it should be equally easy for the student to appeal the inappropriate mark of fail.

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