After the huge outcry from parents and students alike on Clear Creek ISD’s grading standards and grading policy for the second semester of the 2019-2020 school year, you’d think the Board of Trustees would be willing to revisit the policy. You’d think that, given how other school districts have been able to allow students to receive letter grades, the Board would want this explored.
You’d be thinking wrong, and obviously giving the feckless Board of Trustees entirely too much credit.
In an April 20, 2020 special Board meeting, Trustees “addressed” parent concerns. And by “addressed,” we really mean explained why parents and students were wrong, and they were so obviously right, and why they weren’t changing their minds, with a Chernobyl-like dose of gaslighting radiation.
3 hours of bloviating
For nearly 3 hours, the Board of Trustees gaslighted viewers on why this policy was in the best interest of the students, even though it isn’t. Even though CCISD fully intends to remove grades from the second semester of the 2019-2020 school year from any student that transfers in with grades, admitting that the policy puts the 13,000 CCISD high school students at a disadvantage when it comes to applying to colleges.
After half an hour of public comments, largely asking the Board to reconsider the policy, Dr. Greg Smith came on saying that he reviewed all the comments. In his usual roundabout, talking around the issue matter, Dr. Smith did admit that parents had done the homework for the District on different models that other school districts were using to count the third nine weeks and even the full semester. But the District wasn’t interested.
Ebell gets the mic
Dr. Steven Ebell then got the mic to gaslight viewers. He’s got a lot of nerve talking about core values. How is this fair and equitable for the college-bound students? What kind of high performing school district does away with grades? One that clearly doesn’t want to be high performing.
Dr. Karen Engle was no better. She went through the advantages and disadvantages in a presentation that was not displayed. That’s where CCISD illustrated how they’d remove transfer students’ semesters. Their own presentation showed that grades do matter, probably the most, when applying to colleges.
Bowen’s fight for students
Trustee Scott Bowen had a lot of questions for Dr. Engle and Dava West of the counseling department to try to get grades for students. He tried to get at least the third 9 weeks to count for students. And he asked why this couldn’t happen. The answer to that was that it would be “too difficult.” You know, too difficult for CCISD to put in the effort.
“GPA is one piece but a very large piece – again I am a college recruiter saying this!!!” noted one viewer.
When Mr. Bowen tried to get a straight answer as to why this couldn’t happen, Ms. West and Dr. Engle talked around it. You could see the frustration on his face (because he actually puts on his webcam). He asked for data. He was not given any.
As one viewer so astutely observed, “Unfortunately, only 1 Board member seems to care enough and thinks the work required to modifying the policy is worth it. He seems to be the only one that cares that this policy is negatively affecting a good portion of the students. He seems to be the only one that truly cares about ALL the students.”
What’s ironic is this is the one Board member that does not have children, yet gets slammed for that at every turn. And he’s the only one trying to get CCISD to do the right thing. Keep fighting the good fight, Mr. Bowen.
The rest of the Board’s kowtowing
Of course, the rest of the Board, the feckless cowards, were all in favor of leaving this alone. Whether it’s pure laziness or part of a larger agenda to dumb down CCISD – and we don’t discount the latter as a possibility, given previous decisions – they all had a pile of excuses as to why they support this policy. Here are some of the lowlights we heard.
Trustee Jennifer Broddle had one of the most asinine responses to the policy. She allegedly has a senior, and of course her student has been accepted into college. So what does she say? “It’s time to focus on changing the world!” How completely useless is that? Everyone is under stay at home orders! No one can go out and “change the world!” Is she really that clueless? “We’ve been given the gift of time.” Sure, Ms. Broddle, the “professional volunteer.” Did you decide to run for the Board because you were bored being a housewife and a “professional volunteer”?
“Now is not the time to tell students to “tell the colleges your story on how you overcame adversity “ when they are literally locked into their homes. They can’t go out and volunteer, or obtain a new job, get extra credit, or help their fellow neighbors….how do you expect them to overcome this when we are under government guidelines to stay home?” commented one viewer.
Trustee Arturo Sanchez, who is up for re-election in November, demonstrated very clearly why he should absolutely NOT be re-elected. He accepted the explanation at face value. He asked a question, then when Ms. West and Dr. Smith were bloviating, didn’t appear to be listening. It was very clear that he had already made up his mind to accept the policy at face value.
Trustee Jay Cunningham’s senior has already been accepted to college as well. In fact, his senior was recruited by NCAA athletic programs! Since this change doesn’t affect his kid, and since NCAA is totally fine with this policy, surprise! – he doesn’t care! So he bloviated about his special little snowflake, of course, not caring about the students and families he represents. He’s just leaning off to the side, talking about his own experience as a student athlete, but contradicts himself by noting that GPA is used by coaches as a measure of work ethic.
“Yup he’s like who cares my kid got accepted where he wanted,” one viewer commented.
He then talks about the FFA animal raising. Well, how many students were able to complete that successfully with the stay at home orders?! Mr. Cunningham “respects the work done in policy.” He also says the Board reads every email that it gets, but it obviously does not. Is he trying to scold parents for being understandably angry?
How clueless can these people get? And complacent?
Well, we found out when Trustee Page Rander took over. She had totally made up her mind to leave the policy in place and had reached out to a “top tier university” but refused to name it. Apparently the fictional top tier university said pass/fail was fine. Well, why didn’t she name the university?
Then she played the “mom card,” an anecdote about her own mother. How was this relevant to the policy? Stories about virtual performances?! One elementary school student? Ms. Rander desperately needs to be booted off the Board. She’s completely incompetent.
And now we come to Trustee Win Weber. In typical Storm Trooper fashion, she’s totally accepting the policy at face value and not counting at the very least the first 9 weeks of the semester. The rest of her “commentary” is in circles, and then she jumps completely off topic to talk about stress. As if the policy penalizing students who are relying on their grades isn’t causing any stress.
“It seems the only thing they’re discussing is all the difficult things they might have to do and how hard it will be, but not addressing, at all, any ideas to support those students who’ve really lived up to the standards of the district. Shame on CCISD,” commented another viewer.
Dupont sinks all hopes
Dr. Laura DuPont is the Board president, which basically means she gets to feed her overblown ego and bloviate a little bit more than the others. She seized upon that opportunity on April 20 to talk about why the easy way is so much better for the District, but not the actual students.
Apparently it’s too hard to ask a high-performing district to spend time trying to figure out a well-thought-out policy that would be beneficial to students. And of course she says other districts have the “same issues.” “We’re all in the same boat,” she claims. But how many of them are throwing their students overboard, like CCISD is doing?
If, as Dr. DuPont says, colleges already have an image of CCISD based on its policies and integrity, then they must have a piss-poor picture of the District.
So 3 hours wasted by CCISD explaining why they don’t plan to change their minds. Three hours of 6 Board members who very clearly do not care about students and families and only care about doing the easy thing. Three hours of gaslighting.
Feckless. Cowardly. And almost criminally incompetent. Two of those 6 could have brought this back for discussion at the April 27 Board meeting. But they did not. Obviously they do not listen to parent and student feedback, despite what they try to tell you. It’s all lip service and gaslighting.
Oh, and Dr. Smith? You’re not exempt. You recommended this on April 20. But according to Mr. Sanchez’s statement of candidacy, you’re on your way out. Are you following Dr. Ebell’s example and leaving CCISD in worse shape than you found it?