A teacher in Florida claims she has been fired because she refused to give her students credit for work they didn’t do.
Diane Tirado, a history teacher at West Gate K-8 School in Florida, had given her students an assignment. When several members of the class failed to turn it in, she planned to give them a grade of zero. At this point, she claims, she was told that the school district had a no-zero policy and that the lowest grade possible was 50%.
Ms. Tirado pushed back and refused. In mid-September, she was let go. However, no “official” cause was given as she was still technically on probation as a new teacher.
Ms. Tirado wrote a goodbye note to her students and posted it on social media.
She also spoke with local television station WPTV and said, “I’m so upset because we have a nation of kids that are expecting to get paid and live their life just for showing up and it’s not real.” She further posted on her Facebook page, “The reason I took on this fight was because it was ridiculous. Teaching should not be this hard. Teachers teach content, children do the assignments to the best of their ability and teachers grade that work based on a grading scale that has been around a very long time. Teachers also provide numerous attempts to get the work collected so they can give a child a grade. By nature, most teachers are loving souls who want to see students succeed. We do above and beyond actual teaching to give them the support they need.”
But it’s clear that support stops when it is no longer helpful and turns into enabling.
As with everything, there are two sides to every story. The school district has been relatively silent on this story other than a comment denying that such a policy exists. Comments on her initial Facebook post seem to indicate other teachers have come up against similar policies, and the vast majority of people seem to stand in support of the teacher.
Proponents of the “policy” (which may or may not exist) make the case that a 50% is still a failing grade so students are still getting an “F” for missing work, and that a grade of zero makes it mathematically difficult to come back up to a decent grade so the 50% grade gives students a better opportunity for future success.
It’s worth noting that this type of minimum-grade shelf isn’t exactly unique, and has actually been adopted by several districts.
What’s clear is that this story isn’t going away quietly, so I’m sure we’ll learn more details in the coming days.
What are your thoughts on this? Is giving a student a grade of 50% giving them credit for nothing, or is giving them a “zero” grade robbing them of a second chance? We’re especially interested in hearing from teachers!