At Boston University, and several other schools, students are no longer graded on their writing. Marisa Milanese and Glen Kordonowy, master and senior lecturers respectively, wrote an article recently in which they said the school's writing program is undergoing an “‘ungrading’ movement.” In the column, Milanese and Kordonowy state that, of the 100 instructors in the B.U. program, “nearly half employed contract grading in some form this semester.” Contract grading values effort and labor over “subjective” ideas of quality. The lecturers themselves say they still comment on students’ writing, but “no longer place a letter or number on anything they write. No As and Bs. No 82s or 94s.”
Who is to say that one piece of writing is better than another? Can one conglomeration of words truly be more elegant, uplifting, informative, insightful, or pleasing than any other? Or is this idea really just another racist trope? “Competence” and “quality” are so yesterday, right? They are probably just dog whistles aimed at oppressing minorities and strengthening the white patriarchal society.
Lincoln said at Gettysburg: “Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
What if he had labored long and hard and said: “Like, dude, a really long effing time ago, the people who came here earlier, like, started, you know, the country and shit, and supposedly believed in freedom and equality…you know, um, like for certain people, anyways. Or whatever.” Would it have mattered? Is the opening to his actual speech any better than this fictitious alternate one? Why?
Sadly, the writing is on the wall. Competence, quality, eloquence, discipline, merit, self-control, reverence—and virtually everything else that used to be valued and considered vital to a rewarding life and a prosperous society—is under attack by leftist thugs. Many of whom wear tweed and are called “professor.”
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