A Lee's Summit school implements harsh grammar rules for homework



Christian Academy kids better get comfortable with grammar.
  • Christian Academy kids better get comfortable with grammar.
Students at Summit Christian Academy in Lee's Summit better wean themselves off text lingo and the annoying habit of typing in all lowercase letters and invest in a copy of The Elements of Style. A harsh new homework policy at the private school mandates that papers with more than five grammatical errors automatically earn a grade of F. Students can redo the paper, but the best score they can get on a do-over is 75 percent. That will teach kids how to use a damn semicolon!

Media blogger Jim Romenesko reports that the school's principal is giving teachers some leeway with the policy. "One concession we’ve made is if it’s the same error that’s repeated in the paper, the teacher has the discretion to say, for example, 'I’m going to take these five run-on sentences and count them as one error,'" Kim Gill told Romenesko. Otherwise, it sounds like tough nuts for the kids if they're sloppy. And, Gill claims, students have come to accept the policy because "[T]hey realized it was in their own best interest."

But over at the school's Our Times newspaper, intrepid reporter Kyle L., a senior, writes of a student body in turmoil. Kyle reports that some students don't think the school's curriculum has prepared students well enough for such stringent standards.

From Our Times: "The writing curriculum in the past has not been up to par, and these new rules felt far too demanding in lieu of the writing instruction students have received thus far. 'I understand that it is a college prep thing,' one student told me, 'but we haven’t been taught well enough for it.'"

A parent told the paper, "It seems that we are incorporating new assessment procedures before we incorporate new teaching strategies and writing curriculum."

And now I'm going to ask our copy editor to evaluate whether I could pass at Christian Academy.

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