Killing Minimum Grades in Texas

April 13, 2009 1 min read
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It’s getting harder and harder to fail in Texas. According to The Dallas Morning News, a growing number of Texas school districts are prohibiting teachers from giving grades lower than a 50, 60, and sometimes even a 70. This prompted state legislators to create a bill that, if passed, would prohibit the practice of giving minimum grades to failing students.

Republican Senator Jane Nelson, a former teacher who introduced the bill, said the practice of putting a minimum on student grades encourages students to “game” the system.

“Kids are smart and can figure it out,” she said. “A student in one of these districts with a minimum grade of 70 can sit in class and say, ‘I don’t have to do any homework, I don’t have to answer any questions on tests, and they still have to give me a 70 no matter what.’”

According to the Morning News, Senate Education Committee Chairman Florence Shapiro supports the legislation along with all of the state’s major teacher organizations.

Critics of the bill say it would both infringe on local control of schools and do away with a built-in safety net for struggling students.

“There are students who make mistakes and wind up with poor grades in one grading period during the semester,” said Leslie James, assistant superintendent for policy and planning in the Fort Worth school district. “If they are not allowed to turn it around, it can become hopeless for the student. They need an opportunity to bounce back.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.


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