"At Daniels Farm Elementary School in Trumbull, Conn., (principal Gail) Karwoski's teachers grade papers by giving examples of better answers for those students who make mistakes. But that approach meant the kids often found their work covered in red, the color that teachers long have used to grade work. Parents objected. Red writing, they said, was 'stressful.'
"The principal said teachers were just giving constructive advice and the color of ink used to convey that message should not matter. But some parents could not let it go.So the school put red on the blacklist. Blue and other colors are in. 'It's not an argument we want to have at this point because what we need is the parents' understanding,' Karwoski said....
"The color has become so symbolic of negativity that some principals and teachers will not touch it. 'You could hold up a paper that says 'Great work!' and it won't even matter, if it's written in red,' said Joseph Foriska, principal of Thaddeus Stevens Elementary in Pittsburgh. He has instructed his teachers to grade with colors featuring more 'pleasant-feeling tones' so that their instructional messages do not come across as derogatory or demeaning.
"At Public School 188 in Manhattan, 25-year-old teacher Justin Kazmark grades with purple, which has emerged as a new color of choice for many educators, pen manufacturers confirm. 'My generation was brought up on right or wrong with no in between, and red was always in your face,' Kazmark said. 'It's abrasive to me. Purple is just a little bit more gentle. Part of my job is to be attuned to what kids respond to, and red is not one of those colors.'"
- Associated Press, 4/5/05