As every parent in the East Penn School district knows, our schools no longer provide students or parents with paper report cards. Instead, parents are expected to know when each grading period has ended, and log on to a special website to see grades.
This policy is more than just silly: it is actively harmful to the mission of the district. Online report cards effectively make it more difficult for parents to keep informed about their children's progress, discouraging parental involvement. This is especially true for families who don't have reliable internet access, or are uncomfortable in the world of navigating websites, online passwords, etc. Yes, the district will provide a paper copy to such parents if they request it...but how many do? And why throw up these kinds of barriers in the first place?
I'm told the answer is in cost savings. But today my son brought home four different printed pieces of paper from school, all dealing with mundane issues going on in the classroom and the district. This is an average haul for a day; sometimes there are more, sometimes there are less. Click on the image above to take a closer look them. Why not put these kinds of notices online too? The answer is simple: nobody would ever see them! But if notices about the school play, spirit day, and summer track camp are important enough to print and send home, on a daily basis, surely a student's grades are important enough to print and send home four times a year.