Cash defends new no-failure policy - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Cash defends new no-failure policy

By Lori Brown - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The man in charge of Memphis City Schools is defending his decision to change the way your child is educated. Beginning this year, students in Pre-Kindergarten through the 3rd grade can no longer fail.

Dr. Denise Winsor an expert in Educational Psychology at the University of Memphis is skeptical about the new policy.

"It certainly leaves it wide open for children to not perform to their ability," Winsor said.

Winsor says she's concerned about the one-size-fits-all approach, that takes away a teacher's power in the classroom.

"I'd have a hard time saying this is the answer," Winsor said. "Teachers have to have the ability to pass or fail at any grade level."

Experts say grades aren't just for students, they speak volumes to parents, in a language they understand. Dr. Winsor says with no more "F's" there could be a communication gap.

They might have less pressure to do homework on a consistent basis or even know what a child is doing for that matter," Winsor said.

Under Dr. Kriner Cash's new policy, all letter grades will be replaced with what he calls student assessments. He says the new policy will work.

"We need to be smarter about how we educate our children," Cash said.

Dr. Cash maintains that a system that holds students back a year, in turn, holds them back for life.

"When you fail once 50% are not going to graduate, when you fail twice, 80% aren't going to graduate," Cash said.

The Memphis City Schools Board approved spending three million dollars on literacy and math materials support for students who need intervention under the no-fail policy. Dr. Cash says not failing students will save taxpayers money in the long run.

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