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No zero policy wrong for Alberta schools: McAllister

EDMONTON, AB (June  6, 2012): Ross Sheppard High School teacher Lyndon Dorval should be applauded for advocating on behalf of his students and refusing to toe the line on the No Zero grading policy, Wildrose Education Critic Bruce McAllister said today.  Dorval was suspended for refusing to adhere to the controversial policy.

 Dorval defended his actions by arguing they were focused on student success, “The students know that in my case they're not permanent zeroes, it's just an indicator that they have to do something about it because this is how their mark is going to turn out if they don't."  There has been a recent wave of support among Albertans for Dorval yet little indication a change in policy is on the horizon. Education Minister Jeff Johnson himself failed to support Dorval in a recent interview, and went on to say that he doesn’t have a problem with high schools having a zero grade policy, suggesting it serves a useful purpose.   “Minister Johnson owes an apology to Mr. Dorval who has risked his livelihood and taken the time and effort to identify the damage a zero grade policy has in the education of our children,” McAllister said. “Instead of defending this nonsensical policy, what is the Minister actually doing to ensure our students are held to the kind of real-life standards they need to be prepared for?”  McAllister added that there are plenty of alternatives for helping our students achieve success other than failing to recognize shortcomings.  “What life lessons are we teaching our children when we say there are no consequences to their actions?” McAllister said. “We can’t keep pushing kids along like products on an assembly line, we need to work towards better solutions that will help our students achieve real success both now and in the future.”  The Wildrose believes in a student centred policy that respects individuality and helps enable students to master course material.  More on Wildrose education policy can be found here