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June 29, 2010
Texas Schools Fail in Court
Twisted Logic 101. If a student earns a failing grade for their assignments during the semester they can still receive a passing grade on their report card because the law requiring honest grading does not specifically mention report cards. In other words, if little Barry fails to learn his lessons he can still be deemed to have passed.
The Houston Chronicle reports.
Austin - A Travis County judge ruled today that Texas public schools are required to give students truthful grades on class assignments and on their report cards under a 2009 state law that 11 school districts were challenging in court. The school districts involved in the suit claim that they are acting in the best interests of the children because failing grades are discouraging and can cause students to drop out of school. This argument was so ludicrous that even the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers had to weigh in on the side of the state, claiming that the fraudulent grading system did nothing to prepare the children for college or the working world-go figure.
The school districts - most of them in Harris County - argued that the law applied only to grades on assignments, noting that the statute didn't specifically mention report cards, semester grades, or six- or nine-week averages.
But state District Judge Triana-Doyal ruled that the statute is "not ambiguous" and clearly means districts cannot require teachers to give students grades that they did not earn. The bill's author, Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, has said she intended it to apply to all grades.
This bizarre case may not be over yet.
Richard Morris, the attorney for the school districts, said he would ask his clients whether they wanted to appeal the decision or to try to lobby for a change in the next legislative session. So what is more disturbing, the fact that the state of Texas actually had to enact legislation requiring schools to give truthful grades or the fact that 11 school districts filed suit to be allowed to continue to hand out fraudulent grades? Call me crazy, but maybe with a little honest effort the schools could actually teach the kids just enough to pass their courses.