As I had predicted here, the eleven Houston-area school districts that brought suit against the Texas Education Commissioner over their unwillingness to accede to the will of the state legislature have caved in and will not seek an appeal of Judge Triana-Doyal ‘s decision last June that their reading of the law was diagnostic of their lack of 9th grade reading comprehension skills.
Judge Gisela Triana-Doyal of the 200th Judicial District Civil Court, on the other hand, had no problem reading the meaning of SB 2033, a bill written by Republican State Senator Jane Nelson (R – Flower Mound) in response to teacher complaints of district grading rules, requiring them not to assign a grade to a student of less than 50. She ruled that the language in the bill was unambiguous, as claimed by the eleven districts.
Texas AFT president Linda Bridges noted their lack of follow-through in this way.
“All Texas school districts should implement this law as intended, with no more unearned minimum grades but with reasonable opportunities for students to redo assignments or exams in order to earn a passing grade.”
Alief ISD Trustee Sarah Winkler noted that it would have cost her district another $15,000 to appeal the decision (assuming all of the other districts were in, I would imagine). Taxpayers, already irate over the handing out of undeserved grades, would have made their lives miserable, I imagine.
But cost aside, Clear Creek ISD was philosophical in their statement, saying that no matter what the outcome of an appeal, the 2011 legislature would simply do an end-around to any end-around that they could divine.
“‘While we fundamentally disagree with the judge's ruling, we're not appealing because any successful appeal would likely be readjusted during the legislative session,’ spokeswoman Elaina Polsen said.”
All fundamental disagreement aside, this is clearly a win for teachers. Teachers are not heartless souls – well mostly not. Most teachers weigh each and every case independently rather than apply a broad brush to students and their grades. Students who exhibit willingness or incentive to improve have a better chance of passing a class than ones who simply occupy space and use up the classroom’s air.
The outlawed policy was clearly created because districts have no faith in the professionalism of their teachers. SB 2033 corrected that attitude.
It’s too bad that economics and failed lawsuits have to bring sanity back to the school districts, but as they say, a win is a win.