THANK GOODNESS! Every state should follow suit!
By ERICKA MELLON
March 17, 2011, 8:58PM
The measure, which now goes to the House, clarifies a 2009 law that prompted a legal challenge from 11 school districts, many of them in the Houston area.
Numerous districts had policies that prohibited teachers from giving students grades lower than a certain number — typically, 50 percent or 60 percent.
District officials argued that their minimum-grade rules were designed to give students a mathematical shot at passing a course after having a bad grading period. But teachers countered that such policies took away their authority and taught students a bad lesson.
“This bill is intended to ensure that Texas school districts may not require teachers to artificially inflate a student’s grade, including report card grades or other cumulative grade averages,” state Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, said in a statement.
Nelson, a former public school teacher, sponsored the original grading bill and the clarification.
The districts that sued state Education Commissioner Robert Scott over his interpretation of the 2009 law were Aldine, Alief, Clear Creek, Deer Park, Dickinson, Fort Bend, Humble, Klein, Anahuac, Eanes and Livingston.
In an Austin courtroom last spring, attorneys for the districts argued unsuccessfully that the law, as written, applied only to grades on classroom assignments and exams, not to cumulative averages on report cards.
But state district Judge Gisela Triana-Doyal ruled against the schools, saying the law was “not ambiguous” in covering all grades.
The districts decided not to appeal, noting that the Legislature likely would clarify the law against them.