Many of us believe that failure is highly underrated, that inherent in a dismal showing are lessons to be learned. But in a number of districts across the country, failure’s reach is limited by design.
For instance, many Texas districts establish minimum grades of 50, 60, or even 70 for assignments and report cards. In other words, fail, then get a grade boost.
Apparently, such administrators believe that by thus helping students bypass failure, they will feel better about themselves, work harder, and meet success.
If only it were that simple. Unfortunately, many kids figure out the system and play it like a fiddle, getting away with minimal effort, yet receiving the same grade as other students who work their butts off to pass.
Down there in Texas, Republican Jane Nelson doesn’t think that’s fair, so last year she sponsored legislation to prevent districts from setting these minimum grades, and her efforts are supported by the state’s education commissioner, Robert Scott.
National Education Association-Dallas board member, Diane Birdwell agrees and says, “We have now raised a group of students through the school system that know if you do nothing, you get a 50. I don’t know any job that pays me half my salary for doing nothing.”
The districts in question are fighting back, though, so stay tuned. Hopefully, they’ll lose in court, so that whatever students earn ends up being the grades that appear on their assignments, tests, and report cards.