P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2009
AUSTIN — The Senate Committee on Education today approved legislation by State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, prohibiting policies that require teachers to give students a minimum grade for their schoolwork. SB 2033, which passed unanimously, moves to the full Senate for further consideration.
"Students should be graded on the merits of their work. Minimum grade policies encourage minimum effort from students. These policies undermine the authority of our teachers, whose professional judgment should be trusted to work with those children who are falling behind," Senator Nelson, a former sixth-grade teacher, said.
Senator Nelson filed SB 2033 in response to concerns raised by teachers about policies prohibiting them from scoring a student below a 50, 60 or, in some cases, 70 percent. It is unclear how many districts in Texas have minimum grade policies in effect.
However, Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott testified before the Senate Nominations Committee on this issue. "I recently asked teachers attending a conference how many were barred from giving low grades. I was stunned when half of the hands went up,” he said.
The Texas Legislature is in session through June 1, 2009. To track issues before the Legislature, visit www.capitol.state.tx.us.