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Should students grade one anothers' work? The Supreme Court will decide. (News connection: up-to-date and usable education information from schools, government, business, research and professional organizations).

Kristja Falvo, a mother of four, started the legal right to change the practice of students correcting one anothers' papers. That was 1998, when her son, Philip, was in sixth grade in Owasso, Okla. She says he was called "dummy Sham; make-believe; pretended; imitation. Person who serves in place of another, or who serves until the proper person is named or available to take his place (e.g., dummy corporate directors; dummy owners of real estate). " and "stupid" because his reading disabilities were made public knowledge because peers were correcting his pop quizzes. She says she got nowhere when she complained to the school. She eventually won in court.

Falvo's legal battle went to the 10th Circuit Court where she and her lawyer won the argument by charging that paper swapping violates the Family Education and Privacy Right Act. That 1974 act states that education records are to be kept private.

Although her concerns are in the past, and her children now do well in school, her battle lives on at the U.S. Supreme Court level. Before the close of 2001, the justices heard the case regarding the legality le·gal·i·ty  
n. pl. le·gal·i·ties
1. The state or quality of being legal; lawfulness.

2. Adherence to or observance of the law.

3. A requirement enjoined by law. Often used in the plural.
 of children correcting one anothers' work. The Rutherford Institute Founded in 1982 by constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead, the Rutherford Institute is a civil liberties organization that provides free legal services to people whose constitutional and human rights have been threatened or violated.  argued the case on Falvo's behalf. Deputy Solicitor General An officer of the U.S. Justice Department who represents the federal government in cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The solicitor general is charged with representing the Executive Branch of the U.S. government in cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.
 Edwin Kneedler argued for the government.

Although a decision is not expected until late February or early March, the justices did not seem especially sympathetic to the privacy argument. Justice Antonin Scalia questioned whether the court should be dictating the way teachers run their classrooms. Other justices, including Stephen Breyer Stephen Gerald Breyer (born August 15, 1938) is an American attorney, political figure, and jurist. Since 1994, he has served as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. , noted that peer pressure often motivated students to do better.

The National Education Association filed a friend-of-the-court brief favoring peer grading. "We support the school districts," says Michael Simpson There are several people named Michael Simpson or Mike Simpson:
  • Michael Simpson (producer) - record producer and member of the electronic group Dust Brothers
  • Michael Simpson (journalist) - editorial supervisor of two newspapers in Vegreville, Alberta, Canada
, the assistant general counsel. "If the decision is allowed to stand, it could have significant impact on teachers' methods."

There are good reasons for peer rating, adds Simpson. Teachers and students receive immediate feedback. Enlisting student help in grading also frees up teachers' time for creating lessons plans. If the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the circuit court's decision, teachers may be prohibited pro·hib·it  
tr.v. pro·hib·it·ed, pro·hib·it·ing, pro·hib·its
1. To forbid by authority: Smoking is prohibited in most theaters. See Synonyms at forbid.

 from assigning group work, or from accepting help from parent tutors, Simpson argues.
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Author:Angelo, Jean Marie
Publication:District Administration
Date:Feb 1, 2002
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