When I first started blogging I promised myself that I would never post anything that would jeopardize my job. So I'm not. We won't talk about the specifics of what has me fired up today.
I will say this, though. Including homework completion or being prepared for class when factoring grades is bad for students. It's irresponsible. It's not good educational practice. When a student shows up for class without a pencil, give them a pencil, not a zero.
I can hear some teachers out there now. They're saying, "But, kids need to be responsible to be successful."
And they're right. But I've never heard of a student who was having trouble completing their homework or being prepared for class that learned responsibility because they got a bunch of zeros in a gradebook. And I've never read any research that states it works, either.
If you want to teach responsibility, then teach responsibility. Explicitly. Teach lessons. Create a course. Make it a priority.
If grading is about sharing what students know, then these things have no place in a gradebook. If grading is about showing the potential our students have for future success, then we should all have a column in our gradebooks for empathy, passion, innovation, and "questions authority".