Are schools lowering expectations?

Teacher fired for giving zeros

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Are schools lowering expectations?

Sebastian Petzinger, Writer

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A couple of months ago in Florida, a teacher was fired for giving a student a zero percent on a paper he didn’t turn in. She left a powerful message for her students to see the next day.

The eighth-grade teacher, Diane Tirado, worked for the West K-8 School in Port Lucile, a school with a “No Zero Policy” which meant the lowest grade a student could receive was a 50 percent even without turning anything in. She went against the grading system and that, unfortunately, resulted in her job termination. The school defended this policy by claiming that it prevents students from falling behind.

That is an outrageous statement.

Why don’t students just keep up with their work and be responsible for turning things in? When you turn an assignment in, you should own your work and be responsible for it. If a good effort is not present, the grade will reflect that. If there is no work, then there should not be a grade associated with it.

Ever since the story went viral with over 2,000 Facebook shares, arguments have been made from both sides. Anybody who supports the policy in an enabler of laziness.

Students should not receive credit for not trying. Giving them a 50 percent for zero percent effort is unfair to other students who actually work hard.

There are some cases where students have poor home lives, but these students still have support in the school system. If there is a problem with a child’s home life, he or she can talk to counselors or teachers privately and get problems ironed out.

Many students who don’t turn assignments in are just flat out lazy and don’t care about school. It is becoming a pattern that the majority of students who do drugs, break rules and cause havoc are the ones that don’t care about learning. Some may call it a stereotype, but it is the cold, hard truth.

People who reward those students with better grades are completely wrong in their practices and should rethink the way they do things. With schooling, you are responsible for your own actions and you should receive what you deserve.

Seeing lazy students is not a rarity in schools everywhere. Over the past three years, I have taken a few classes in which people have absolutely no work ethic. They are not from troubled households either but just hate school and don’t care about being successful. This behavior makes it hard for motivated students to focus in class because it is frustrating to the classmates and the teachers trying to do their jobs.

Throughout my schooling career, my parents have made me get all A’s or else there would be consequences, and while this might seem extreme, I am glad they did that because it motivated me to work hard. This external motivation has evolved into an internal motivation to be the best student I can be.

Tirado’s firing was absolutely uncalled for and the school has some rethinking to do with their “no-zero policy.” Hopefully, no more schools will follow in this path and will start encouraging hard work and responsibility.