Texas School Districts Sue State Over Grading Policy

By Dakarai I. Aarons — November 20, 2009 1 min read
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Several Texas school districts filed suit this week against the Texas Education Agency, charging that education commissioner Robert Scott is misinterpreting a new state law on grading policy, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Scott says the new law, which banned no-fail and minimum-grade policies used by most Texas school districts, applies to assignments and report cards, but the school districts say the law should only apply to assignments. The policies mean, for example, that teachers can’t give a student a grade on an assignment lower than a 50. The idea is that while students are still getting a failing grade, they can catch up later on.

“The ultimate goal is to give kids hope,” said Sarah Winkler, the president of the Alief school board. “Kids make mistakes. A 50’s still an F. We’re offering them the opportunity to still pass.”

But the bill’s author sided with the commissioner.

“It is never appropriate to force a teacher to give a student a grade that they haven’t earned,” she said in a statement. “When I explained the bill to the Senate and when it passed unanimously in both houses, it was very clear that the policy was to apply to all student grades, including cumulative report card grades.”

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A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.