Charlottesville High School (CHS) has found a novel way to ensure “equity” in student achievement: dumb-down the grading scale.

A school-wide email from principal, Dr. Eric Irizarry, teases the new procedures with education doublespeak that frames the changes positively:

Our goal at Charlottesville High School is to educate all students in a way that allows them to show mastery of content. In order to do so, we are revising our grading practices to be aligned to the standards students must meet. In this way, grades will be a clearer indication of what students have learned, not simply a measure of how much work they can turn in or how hard they might try in class. Learning is the indicator of success.

The details, however, are sinister:

  • No extra credit
  • No grade penalty for late work
  • No midterms or final exams
  • The lowest possible grade is now 50% (in order to promote grading “equity”)
  • Missing assignments will be noted but will not receive a “0” grade
  • Students will be allowed unlimited grade do-overs, known as “reassessments”
  • “Reassessment” grades will supplant original grades, if higher

Principal Irizarry will utilize these underhanded techniques to conceal Charlottesville High School’s vast, perpetual achievement gap between white and black students

For the latest school-year data available, CHS black students trailed CHS white students by:

  • 28 points (67 to 95) in English Reading Performance
  • 51 points (22 to 73) in Mathematics Performance
  • 60 points (27 to 87) in Science Performance
  • 19 points (80 to 99) in English Writing Performance
  • 35 points (58 to 93) in History Performance
  • 44 points (37 to 81) in receipt of Advanced Diplomas

The probably life-outcomes indicated by these racial achievement differences at Charlottesville High School are significant and generally predictable.

Instead of admitting failure in properly educating this large subgroup of students, CHS administration is doubling-down on dumbing-down. Hoping no one will notice that the coming statistical uptick in achievement and narrowing of demographic disparities is a result of administrative manipulation, duplicitous education bureaucrats will claim victory.

As a result of this institutional trickery, Charlottesville High School students will be less prepared for life, less successful in their pursuits, less confident in their endeavors, less knowledgeable in virtually every subject—and ultimately, more dependent on government. But they will have better scores!

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Rob Schilling is founder of the multi-award-winning Schilling Show Blog and News, proprietor of Schilling Show Media; host of both the Schilling Show Unleashed Podcast and WINA's The Schilling Show heard weekdays at noon; husband; father; worship leader, Christian recording artist and Community Watchdog.


  1. I can’t think of a better way to reward laziness and stupidity then this. The gap is already so wide you remove any incentive for white kids to do more to excel only to be brought down to the level of lazy black kids.
    So if you think about it, ask yourself who really benefits from this the most? The TEACHERS! Now they will not be held accountable for being a lousey teacher. It starts in the home, lazy, stupid parents, missing father, equals lazy stupid kids. This is all caused by dumb white liberals who have incentivized the breakup of the black family.

  2. This is sad. I have been in education for 22 years and this is absolutely disgraceful. Allowing failure and calling it success is a lie in itself. This will cripple a generation of children to be reliant on others. How do we get kids to achieve when they don’t even have to try?

  3. Although it would appear that there are nuances to this new policy that need greater scrutiny, it also sounds like the school system may be trying to implement a mastery learning model of education. Mastery learning is a viable pedagogy that has shown some great success when tested. One of my masters degrees was offered using mastery learning, and I can honestly say I learned more in that program than in any of my other four masters degrees or in my doctoral program. If done well, mastery learning works.

  4. I hope everyone complaining about “lazy, stupid parents” and ” lazy black kids” supported the recent Virginia minimum wage increase. Parents who have to work two or three jobs to make ends meet often don’t have the time or energy to help their kids with homework. Most likely they themselves weren’t taught the value of a good education. If you don’t like what looks like dumbing down to make disadvantaged kids feel better about themselves and not quit trying altogether, help sorely stressed parents be better parents.

    Mark Tinsely, thanks for your perspective. I hope mastery learning works here.

  5. Stop inventing what others say or think. The only lazy stupid person discussed in both the article and comments is Principal Dr Irizarry. As for Mastery Learning, I’m all for a replacement for “memorized” learning that puts so much emphasize on recalling trivial details versus developing critical thinking skills in order to solve problems or find information. However this article discusses creating an everybody passes grading system that might make a student feel better until he or she enters the real world only to realize they have been virtually cheated out of a quality education.


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