Ramblings of a Tampa engineer
Featured image from the Facebook post of Diane Tirado.

I heard a story on the radio about a teacher who gave 0% to students for not doing their work. She got fired for not listening to the district "50%" minimum rule. There might be more to that story, but what went viral is that portion.

Port St. Lucie teacher Diane Tirado taught U.S. history at West Gate K-8 School until she was fired on Sept. 14, she told WPTV. She said her school has a "no zero" policy that requires educators to give students at least a 50 percent grade for all assignments - even if the students don't turn in any work at all.
Source - Knox News

In my days in school, zeros were very much a thing. I forgot plenty of assignments, whether from a genuine forgetfulness or intentional choice to not do an assignment. I was left with a 0%, which meant different things as school progressed. In some years of school, missing assignments meant spending your recess inside. This meant the one activity that most looked forward too was attached to doing your homework.

Once middle school was reached, the idea of recess was gone. Not doing an assignment was a 0% for that assignment. Thankfully with assignments nearly daily, you could miss a few assignments without a problem. This is where things got interesting – there are students in every school who never do homework. This might be a problem at home or something in that child's life that is preventing them from sitting down and doing homework. I remember those kids, until they were no longer at our school.

My district back in Kansas had a school that was unlike the others, it started later in the morning and had a different style of teaching. It had very small class sizes and wasn't something you could attend - you were asked to go there. When a student failed to preform at any of the high schools in my childhood, they were asked to switch schools to this strange one. This wasn't falling one test, but repeat failures and no path to success in the original school. In the big picture, this other school was better equipped to handle the learning style they needed - whether it was later start, personalized teaching or a different medium to learn.

The students who went there were usually mocked, because it was known among the kids as the stupid school. However, those kids would be back at our main school during any big assemblies, graduation, etc. They were still part of our school, but not learning at our school. My guess at the legal level is by teaching at a different building, their grades didn't count for the original school they attended. This allowed all the high schools to maintain the "Blue Ribbon" as the students who would destroy that badge were moved to a different school.

Bringing this back to the original point, let me think about this from a work perspective. If I showed up and did nothing (0%), should I get paid (50%)? In an hourly based job, it would be outrageous to not show up for work - yet get 50% of the pay. There would be no incentive to work at all, you could do nothing and get 50% pay.

several silver and gold trophies on wooden surface
Photo by Ariel Besagar / Unsplash

I see a similarity in children sports with regard to partial success for failure. I was busy playing Ingress at a park and witnessed a line of players (in different jersey) colors walking up to get a medal. Perhaps this was the away and home jersey arrangement, but it sure looked like two different teams were receiving medals from the same person. Was this a 1st/2nd place of a major tournament? Participation trophy for end of season? Who knows.

I do know that in my years of competitive soccer, the losers sat and watched the winners get medals/trophies as 2nd place got nothing. We tried and lost - there was nothing wrong with that. It taught us to get better, train more and goof around less to better.

What are we starting for the next generation if they get something for nothing? That is what this boils down to and as you can tell - I'm not too happy about it.

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