09/02/2014 10:58 EDT | Updated 11/02/2014 05:59 EST

Lynden Dorval Says Edmonton School Board's Zeros Policy Still Not Working

Stacey Newman via Getty Images

EDMONTON - An Edmonton teacher who was fired for giving zeros to students who didn't hand in their homework or take tests says nothing has changed in the two years since he lost his job.

Lynden Dorval made a presentation Tuesday to trustees of the Edmonton Public School Board, saying the new marking regulations are just a reworking of the old policy.

He says teachers still aren’t allowed to make decisions on marks and grades, despite the board's declaration in April 2013 that it had reversed its "no-zero" policy.

Dorval says under the new system, teachers must go through five intervention steps before they can finally award a zero to a student.

He says that's really no different than the old policy and says it still fails to demonstrate to students that there are consequences to them not doing the work.

Board spokeswoman Lisa Austin says the new policy was built in collaboration with 5,000 teachers, adding the board is very proud of it.

Dorval disputes that claim.

“I play hockey with a group of teachers from all around the system and know from their conversations that they were not consulted," he says. "They were told in the spring by their principals what the new administrative regulations were going to be but they were allowed no input into it."

He says the new rules require students be given multiple opportunities, that teachers document those efforts, contract the administration, meet with the student's parents and discuss strategy.

"Only after all of that fails can they give a zero.”

Dorval predicts that teachers won't want to get bogged down in the process and will simply hand out fewer assignments to students.

“Why the ATA isn’t stepping in here, I don’t know, because this is going to really increase the workload of a teacher.”

An appeal board recently ruled Dorval was unfairly fired and ordered he be paid his salary from the date of his dismissal and that his pension be topped up.


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