No-zero teacher feels vindicated by draft policy

The Edmonton teacher fired from his job teaching high school science after giving zeros on incomplete assignments says he feels better knowing that so-called no-zero policies may be phased out in the city's public schools.

“Surprised and very very pleased. It’s not going to help my situation, I’m done in terms of my career. But it will help out my colleagues,” said Lynden Dorval.

Dorval, who taught physics at Ross Sheppard High School, was suspended from his job in May after refusing to go along with the school’s no-zero policy.

Yesterday, Edmonton’s Public School Board released a draft policy that stated student’s grades "may include a range of performance grades on individual assignments" from A-D and 0-100 per cent.

The current policy is to leave student evaluation up to individual schools.

Dorval says the draft policy is better for students. He says it also puts the decision of how to grade a student back into the hands of the teachers, where he says it belongs.

“We don’t just do this flippantly....we ask ourselves ‘are we doing the right thing or should we be doing something different?’”

The Edmonton School Board says the decision had nothing to do with Dorval’s firing, and the board was planning to look at student evaluations before his story made national headlines.

Dorval finds that unlikely. He says, despite losing his job, he’s happy he spoke up about the policy.

“It had the effect - I never really thought it would have this effect,” he said.

“It’s exploded beyond my wildest expectations.”

He says he is still teaching part time at a local private school and is pursuing an appeal of his firing, which will continue in May.

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