A story out of southwest Florida had me gunnin’ the engine on the river boat today. I heard that the Collier County School District came up with a bone-head “improvement” and I just had to see if it was true.

According to the Naples Daily News (Naples, FL), the Collier county School District has instituted a policy in which the lowest score possible in Collier County Elementary Schools is now a 50. Thats right, even if your child tried his or her hardest and actually scored a 50 and my child barely does anything and scores a 20 – oops, I mean a 50, they get the same score!

Now here is some great thinking from a state that barely knows how to vote. Lets not have the childrens’ feelings get hurt, wouldn’t want them to feel “stupid” because they get a 0.

Beth Thompson, the district’s executive director for elementary school programs said, “A zero has a profound effect on a student and can mean that they have little chance of success.” She is absolutely right. If I get zeros on a performance review I have little chance of success. A zero means you have to do better, A LOT BETTER!

Thompson also said that zeros are rarely an adequate reflection of what a student is able to do. Instead, they are used as punishment for not doing what they are capable of. “Zeros are really punitive,” she said. “If you receive a zero, you have a long way to get to a D. Getting a zero has a profound effect on a student’s self-esteem.”

Right again Ms. Thompson! The consequence of not doing your best and trying hard is failure. There is a punishment involved and part of it is getting a big fat ZERO. As far as the student’s self-esteem, how about the self-esteem of a Collier County student who has had everything handed to him or her without having to work for it? How about the self-esteem of someone who is proud of what they have accomplished as opposed to someone who never faced failure? Sounds like we’re creating the next wave of Obama voters.

I don’t know about you but this looks to me like just another way of lowering the bar instead of expecting the best from our children. What do you think?

Sit back on the deck of the boat, think it over and leave me some comments. Got a long way to go to get the river boat back home…… Until next time, watch out for the alligators.