Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Did You Move Out of Davidson County for the Fake Rolex of Schools?

Posted By on Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 9:00 AM

One hears quite a few parents talking about how they moved to Williamson County for the schools, because they’re so much better than the ones in Davidson County. So, it is with great amusement and some concern that I read The Tennessean's story about David Beahm, who thinks that Williamson County Schools are comparable to a Fake Rolex — in other words, not as nifty as they appear to be.

Parent David Beahm told members of the Williamson County School Board last week that it was a slap in the face to find out his honor student’s weighted 3.3 GPA didn’t qualify him for state HOPE Scholarship funds.

He displayed a fake Rolex watch while he spoke about how parents should be informed of the difference between a weighted GPA and the other version, on which state scholarships are based. “This is a serious problem,” Beahm said. “This is a bogus GPA.”

That does indeed suck. But there are two ways to get a HOPE scholarship — you can have either a 3.0 grade point average out of a possible 4 (Beahm’s son has a 3.3 out of 5) or you can have a 21 on your ACT.

And so it seems the real problem is not that Beahm’s son’s 3.3 doesn’t count — it’s that Beahm’s son is in the advanced, weighted classes when he has less than a 21 on his ACT. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing to be ashamed of in getting less than a 21. Hell, the state average is 19.7.

But the ACT has a well-researched benchmark set of scores they think you’d get if you’re ready for college:


English 18
Mathematics 22
Reading 21
Science 24

That means that if you’re ready for college, you should get at least a 21 on your ACT. It’s not unreasonable for parents to think that if their kids are in advanced classes and being graded on a weighted scale to take into account the college prep classes they’re taking, that they’re being, you know, prepped for college.

Beahm’s son, for whatever reasons, is not prepared for college by the ACT standards. And yet, because of Williamson County’s bizarre decision to not give parents both sets of grade points, and to continue to let Beahm’s son take honors courses when he clearly wasn’t excelling in them, it’s hard to know how Beahm or his son were supposed to know there was a problem until it was too late to do anything about it

Which makes one wonder if Williamson County schools really are so much better than Davidson County schools, or if they just do a smoother job of lying to parents about how their kids are doing in them.

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