GPAs and other Evil

Nerf Mjolnir Award of the week… smite smite smite…

While filling out a job application (for a second part time job… take that DC morons, I know too many people doing this kind of thing… smite smite smitedty smite smite smite)…

…I am asked “what was your GPA”…


They didn’t have those back in the Dark Ages of the 60s. At least not in Dover (where the BBC has investigated us multiple times, and Nova did an entire series on our insistence on putting unIntelligent Design in a science class…)

(Lemme ‘splain something about what the definition of science is…)

I digress.

I loathed school. I was a good student, acquiring As and Bs (except in math which I still detest to this day because we did not have anything as cool as PBS’s Odd Squad…).

Which puts me on one scale as kind of 3.3 to 3.7…ish.

I loathed school because the teaching style of the day did not match my brainstyle, not even a little.

Then I found this…


The model of education from its earliest times was one of mentorship, starting with hunter-gatherers taking their children out on the hunt 100,000 years ago, all the way up to the teaching methods employed at the university founded by Thomas Jefferson. The teacher and the students got to know one another. They interacted constantly throughout the day. The teacher knew each child, had a clear vision of each child’s understanding of the coursework, and worked with each child (or encouraged them to work with each other) until the teacher was satisfied each child understood the material … or was hopelessly incapable of being educated. Because this latter was virtually an admission of failure on the part of the teacher, it happened rarely.

This is how things went from 98,000 BC to roughly 1800 AD. Then came William Farish.

Farish came up with a method of teaching which would allow him to process more students in a shorter period of time. He invented grades. (The grading system had originated earlier in the factories, as a way of determining if the shoes, for example, made on the assembly line were “up to grade.” It was used as a benchmark to determine if the workers should be paid, and if the shoes could be sold.)
Grades did not make students smarter. In fact, they had the opposite effect: they made it harder for those children to succeed whose style of learning didn’t match the didactic, auditory form of lecture-teaching Farish used.

This why I still have nightmares about school buses….

I loathe you Farish. You are an Evil $%(^&^%$#!!

I hope you were reincarnated as a ….(thinking furiously as to what would be appropriate)…

…bacterium. The kind they use antibiotics on.

Grades didn’t encourage critical thinking or insight skills, didn’t promote questioning minds. Such behaviors are useless in the graded classroom, and within a few generations were considered so irrelevant that today they’re no longer listed among the goals of public education.
Grades didn’t stimulate the students, or share with them a contagious love for the subject being studied. The opposite happened, in fact, as the normative effect of grades acted as a muffling blanket to any eruptions of enthusiasm, any attempts to dig deeper into a topic, any discursions into larger significance or practical application of content.

Without grades, the assembly-line-classroom would not be possible. With grades, whole categories of children were discovered who didn’t fit onto the conveyer belt, providing an entire new realm of employment for’ adults who would diagnose, treat, and remediate these newly-discovered “learning disabled” children.

I do love the man who wrote this article.

He needs to be president.


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