P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 1, 2011
AUSTIN — The Senate Committee on Education today passed Senate Bill 79 by Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, which protects the authority of teachers to assign grades based on merit. The bill now goes to the full Senate.
"The Legislature unanimously passed a measure I filed last session to prohibit no-fail grading policies, which reward minimum effort from students and keep parents from having an honest picture of their children's progress. This bill makes clear that state law prohibits district policies of artificially inflating cumulative averages and report card grades," said Senator Nelson.
In 2009, Senator Nelson authored Senate Bill 2033, prohibiting minimum grade policies in schools, after teachers reported that they had been instructed not to assign grades lower than a minimum of 50, 60, and -- in some cases -- 70 percent.
In an effort to block its implementation, eleven school districts sued the Texas Education Agency, contending that the bill only applies to individual grades and not to averages or report card grades. The judge ruled that the law is "unambiguous" in its applicability to average grades. Senate Bill 79 codifies that ruling by making clear that the provisions of SB 2033 apply to averages.