A Florida teacher did not want to reward students with the required 50 percent despite not doing any work, so the school fired her.
The "no zero" policy
Diane Tirado believed that rewarding students with 50 percent despite not handing in their assignments only harms their education. The history teacher opted to properly grade her students at West Gate K-8 School in Port St. Lucie and ignore the school's "no zero" policy.
The teacher gave students an exciting assignment: to keep a two weeks diary as if they were XV-century explorers. Many parents thought this was too challenging, and several students failed to deliver their projects. Tirado ended up in the principal's office.
The teacher's story
Talking to the NY Post, the educator with nearly two decades of experience said, "I got called down to the principal’s office because parents were not happy with me. It was ruining my life for weeks." While at the principal's office, she learned that her new school has a "no zero" policy.
Tirado did not know what to make of this
She shared, "I’m used to kids not handing in work… but then chasing them until the report cards are in to make sure they make it up. But I don’t give a grade for nothing." The teacher did not want to give anyone a pass because, as she stated, “A grade in Mrs. Tirado’s class is earned.”
The teacher was fired
After less than two months in her new school, the teacher was fired, and she told the media, "I loudly bucked the system. I refused to do their policy. I guess you would call that defiance."
Tirado left a message
On the whiteboard, the teacher wrote, "Bye, kids! 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." She shared the same message on her Facebook, which soon went viral.
The teacher's point
Tirado said, "It’s absurd to give someone something for nothing and to do that is creating a future that is pretty darn bleak. We’re creating monsters out of our children." She added, "We give them too much... people that experience that kind of childhood, then that’s what you want, you’re entitled for the rest of your life."
The school denied the "no zero" policy
"There is no district or individual school policy prohibiting teachers from recording a grade of zero for work not turned in," the school officials told WPTV. They added, “Tirado was released from her duties as an instructor because her performance was deemed sub-standard and her interactions with students, staff, and parents lacked professionalism and created a toxic culture on the school’s campus.”
The teacher had a proof
Tirado showed to The Post that in bold, capital letters in the West Gate and Parent Handbook, it says, "NO ZERO’S – LOWEST POSSIBLE GRADE IS 50%."
Other teachers understood Tirado
Across social media, teachers shared why they don't believe in the "no zero" policy. Some alleged that schools only implemented it to get high graduation rates, which bring in money.
Education beyond curriculum
Other teachers discussed the importance of educating students that failing is part of life. This leads to conversations about responsibilities.
The educational system in the States is falling behind
Many European and Asian countries have much better scores in science and math than the US. The Programme for International Student Assessment results from 2015 positioned the U.S. at 38th place out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. The newer results are even more gloomy.