But now lawmakers want to get back into the game, and, as usual, we should be scared:
wo key lawmakers say they want to close a loophole that allows students with bad grades to slip by the state's no-pass, no-play law.There are three areas in which I have disagreed with the original law (and thus side with the idea of exemptions) ever since the beginning. Here are the first two:
Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, said she plans to pursue legislation to tighten the law, which requires students to score at least 70 in their courses to play sports or participate in other extracurricular activities.
Rep. Rob Eissler, chairman of the House Public Education Committee, said the state clearly needs to change rules that allow school districts to label courses as advanced and exempt them from no-pass, no-play requirements.
The legislators spoke out this week after The Dallas Morning News published a story Sunday showing that schools across the state use the exemption policy to exclude yearbook, auto shop, cooking and many other courses from those rules.
"It is appalling," said Ms. Shapiro. "It was certainly not the intent of the legislation. It has obviously taken a turn for the worse."
The Legislature approved the no-pass, no-play law in 1984 to bench students for poor grades. The exemptions are designed to encourage students to take tough classes without fear of losing eligibility.
- Students shouldn't be penalized for accepting an academic challenge. If a student attempts to take a challenging course (many of the AP courses fall under this category), he or she is doing so for personal enrichment; such a course is not part of the basic education. If the student aims high and falls just short in a class that's an "extra," there's no reason to assess a penalty by taking away part of another class (athletics, fine arts, etc.). If someone's failing basic math or English, that's another story, but the reward of AP classes should be greater than the risk. (After all, it's not like someone can just go drop the class, as could be done in college.)
So what's the correct way it should be done? Cumulative grade point average, of course. That's the only number that matters in class rank, college admissions, and so on. If that number drops below a certain level (70, for sure, but I'd even go for 75), then the punishment kicks in, but to me, the whole idea of meting out this penalty for failing a single class has always struck me as absurd.