To the Editor:
The Bayonne Board of Education approved lowering passing grades from the traditional passing mark of 70 to 65 at the July 25 school board meeting. They said that they are doing this to keep students who are at risk to pass from dropping out of school. What a false and asinine decision!
School officials said that state and federal funding are tied to passing grades and that the Bayonne district is at a disadvantage to other school districts that have lowered their passing grades. What this really all about comes down to is receiving more money in state and federal aid!
Rosalie Mora, director of the District Title 1 Program, stated, “We are not lowering our standards by lowering the grade to pass.” We still maintain the same high standards! To me this is strictly a copout. If you institute high standards, the passing mark will result in a much higher mark than a low 65 or 70! Whatever happened to the so-called excellent school system that we have? She insults the dedicated teachers who teach the students to be the best that they can be! Where now is the desire to do so?
It’s time that we put our public school system in its true perspective. The school budget is $114,500,000. The school debt is $105,000,000 or more. The interest to the school debt is $10,700,000. This constitutes a total of $231,200,000 to run our public schools. All this to institute a passing grade of 65! What a disgrace! You must remember that school expenses are totally paid by city taxpayers. If not, schools don’t make money!
State law states that a student must attend school up to the age of 16. This means that elementary students cannot drop out. This means that the actual students that can are the 3,000 students in our high school. Why is the Board of Education dumbing down the mark of elementary students? It also states by state law that a student shall receive a thorough and efficient education. This is not being done by having a passing grade of 65 or 60! By allowing this, the state is breaking their own law!
I say to you, the parents of school students, that if you condone the dumbing down of your children and fail to protest against it, then you have failed to advance their good and welfare in life! Will you do it? Presently your silence, by allowing this to happen, is deafening! It’s your decision. Our mayor, who is chairman of the School Board of Estimate, condones it. You will receive no help from him!
LEONARD R. KANTOR