education pays?

High school journalism students graded on ad revenue

COLLIER COUNTY: The NBC2 investigators have uncovered more controversy in the Collier County School District. Honors journalism students are not only getting graded on how they write, but half their grade is determined based on how many ads they sell for the yearbook.

Collier County School Board Member Linda Abbot says she was shocked to find out students at Naples High School are graded based in part on sales.

"I was very surprised," said Abbot.

The controversy started when a school volunteer emailed her concerns to the school board.

"It's not a good situation to me at all - I do not need to condone that," said Abbott.

The syllabus says $600 will get you an A, $500 will get you a B, $400 gets a C, $300 gets a D and less than $300 worth of ads sold will earn a student an F on the assignment.

"It bothers me. I don't think you should be able to buy a grade. We have to come up with a better way to encourage participation," said Abbott.

Naples High parent Michele Fernandez says grading students based on the amount of money they can generate puts poor students at a disadvantage.

"There's a million problems with selling your school for a grade," said Fernandez.

She points out it’s a journalism class, not a sales class.

"I do think there are students who are not good sellers and puts them at a disadvantage, not to mention students with a language barrier," said Fernandez.

"I don't think it's such a big deal," said student Courtney Dahl.

Dahl takes honors journalism at Naples High and says selling ads teaches students to communicate.

"It shouldn't be a problem. There's so many people that would buy a page or something, doesn't bother me," said Dahl.

School board members say the district needs to take a closer look at this class, and others, to find a better way to grade students.

"There has to be a way to encourage participation without it being related to money," said Abbott.

The school district didn’t make anyone available to talk to us on camera, but in a statement, said they are working with the Naples High School principal to make sure the school is following all local and state guidelines.

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20501423/


MommaBoo said...

Well, I was on the yearbook staff in high school, too. We sold ads and we also organized the yearbook.
Grades were based on sales and "journalism", I guess. I got A's, so I never thought about the others who might not have. I was a "little turd", huh?

Cat. said...

It's in the syllabus. Something tells me this is not the first time it's been done. This is what working in the field of journalism is like now: sell yourself.

I think it's a great idea (and I won't be taking this particular journalism class, either!). :-)