Shelby County teacher’s union outraged after school board decides to keep grade floors

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — This afternoon, the president of the Shelby County teacher's union is expressing his outrage after the Shelby County School Board decided not to make changes to the controversial grading policy known as the grade floors.

Last night, the Chair of the Shelby County School Board told WREG that she has no problem with the grade floors - meaning schools can give students a grade that they didn't earn.

"We can not get in the business of arbitrarily handing out grades," said Shelby County education association president, Keith Williams.

Williams says grade floors do just that.

Grade floors is a grading practice at Shelby County Schools that provides teachers with the ability to give students a higher failing grade than they necessarily earned.

Earlier this month, WREG told you about an email that a Kingsbury High School teacher sent to us. The email came from the assistant principal and it ordered teachers to fill in missing grades with at least a 65.

The teacher says it just makes it easier for students to pass without the knowledge they need.

"This happens all across the country and definitely with in our state. Our schools try to provide an opportunity for students to make upgrades," saith Chairwoman Shante Avant.

The School Board discussed grade floors at a recent committee meeting where the public did not have the chance to weigh in.

Apparently, that's when they decided that no universal policy is needed.

That is opposite of what Superintendent Dorsey Hopson told us earlier this month.

"The teacher's say the concern is a lack of consistency. That's something I have to own, which is why we'll be asking the board to have a policy that applies across the board," said the Superintendent.

We are waiting to hear from him on whether his position has changed.

In the meantime, Williams says he will bring grading back up at the next board meeting.

"What are you to do? You do not see a child, you do not teach a child, but you have to give them a grade? If you do that, you are committing malpractice," said Williams.

WREG reached out for the state's stance on grade floors. They acknowledge our email, but we are still waiting for a response.

We called some of the major school districts across the state. School systems in Nashville and Chattanooga told us they do not have grade floors. Officials in Nashville said they allow students to redo work for a higher grade.