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Senator Jane Nelson: District 12
Senator Jane Nelson
P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
News Release
November 19, 2009
Contact: Janet Elliott
Senator Nelson Criticizes School Districts' Lawsuit Over Truth-in-Grading Law

AUSTIN — Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, today condemned the filing of a lawsuit attempting to block the implementation of legislation she filed to end "no-fail" grading policies in Texas public schools. The lawsuit, filed by several Houston area school districts against the Texas Education Agency, challenges the provisions of SB 2033 by Senator Nelson, affirming the rights of teachers to assign merit-based grades.

"It is a sad state of affairs when school districts are willing to go to court for the right to force their teachers to assign fraudulent grades," Senator Nelson said. "When I filed this bill, many were skeptical as to whether these policies even existed in our schools. Now we know the truth -- that administrators are substituting their judgment for that of our teachers in the classroom. Not only that, they are willing to waste precious education resources on a misguided lawsuit to continue these policies, which undermine the authority of our teachers and reward minimum effort from students."

SB 2033, approved unanimously by the Legislature and signed into law by the governor, requires Texas school districts to adopt grading policies and expressly prohibits policies that prevent teachers from assigning grades below an artificial minimum of 50, 60 or even 70 percent. The lawsuit contends that the law was not written to apply to report card grades. However, the author of the legislation disagrees.

"It is never appropriate to force a teacher to give a student a grade that they haven't earned. 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," she said.

SENATOR JANE NELSON represents District 12, including portions of Tarrant and Denton Counties. She is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services.