Education has changed a lot over time, and teaching has been modified a lot to comply with trends and newest research findings. Yet, don’t you think it had gone a bit too far? Can we expect grading to be drastically changed too?
Well, a former teacher of 17 years in Port St. Lucie, Florida, didn’t agree to give a free pass when the assignment has not been completed.
Unfortunately, this attitude got her fired. Diane Tirado refused to give students a 50% credit for work they did not do.
Tirado was teaching Social Studies to eighth-graders at West Gate K-8 School. During the school year, she assigned them an explorer’s notebook project and gave them two weeks to complete it.
Yet, when some of them didn’t turn in the assignment, she gave them a mark of zero. She found it illogical to give somebody a 50%, if “there is nothing to grade”.
At this point, she came across a strange policy in the West Gate student and parent handbook- No Zero policy- written below the grading outline, and highlighted in red: “NO ZERO’s – LOWEST POSSIBLE GRADE IS 50%.”
The handbook even suggested that a letter grade of “I” (incomplete) is equivalent to 0.
School administrators explained that she was obliged to give her students a 50 even if they don’t turn anything, but she refused to do it.
She was terminated on September 14, 2018, but in the letter of the principal, there’s no cause mentioned, as she was still in her probationary period.
Before she left, she wrote a goodbye note for her students on a whiteboard:
Mrs. Tirado loves you and wishes you the best in life! I have been fired for refusing to give you a 50% for not handing anything in.
[heart] Mrs. Tirado”
One of her students responded by agreeing with her for “ not giving people 50s.”
Afterward, she asked the school to revisit the strange policy:
“I’m arguing the fact that you don’t get something for nothing. I want the policy change, and it’s not just here. I’m so upset because we have a nation of kids that are expecting to get paid and live their life just for showing. And it’s not real.”
The statement of Kerry Padrick, the chief information officer for the school district, clearly contradicted it all, claiming there is no policy stopping teachers from giving students a grade of zero.
The school district added that she was released from her duties due to her sub-standard performance and professionalism-lacking interactions with students, parents, and staff.
Tirado denied it all and added that her goal is to make a change, as “having schools compete by grading them is a failure to the children and the teachers. “
Time will tell if Mrs. Tirado will manage to change the policy of the school, but one thing will remain unchanged for sure, grades in her class will always be earned.
After she shared her story on Facebook, the post has gone viral, and most people agree with her position.