As followers of this website know, there are plenty of so-called leaders at 2425 East Main who aren’t worth the cost of the paper their overinflated paychecks are printed on. But as our new two-part series will discuss, there’s one individual whose long track record of incompetence requires a special review, because his negative impact on curriculum continues to lessen the quality of education CCISD students receive.
Let’s start with what’s new. In the latest in a long line of missteps and blunders that are costing children their educations, the CCISD Board of Trustees approved a disturbing recommendation at its February 24, 2020 board meeting:
Approval of a new policy, “EIE(LOCAL): Academic Achievement – Retention and Promotion,” which effectively removes the requirement for intermediate school students to earn a 70 or above in social studies and science. Instead, they need only to earn a 70 or above in ELA (English & Language Arts) and math, and a 70 overall as the average of all their class grades, to be promoted to the next level.
Breaking down EIE(LOCAL): Academic Achievement – Retention and Promotion
Let’s break down this new policy. In its simplest terms, it makes it easier for intermediate students to be promoted to the next grade level, without actually passing all their classes. Science and social studies are core subjects; that’s where students put critical thinking, reading, research, writing, and math skills into practice. But CCISD has apparently decided that proficiency in these skills isn’t necessary, despite the District’s proximity to NASA (and with a NASA employee on its Board of Trustees, Arturo Sanchez. Has he told NASA that science doesn’t require a passing grade?) Keep in mind that Texas history is taught as part of the 7th grade social studies curriculum – apparently, failing grades in Texas history isn’t a big deal anymore. Guess we don’t need to remember the Alamo, after all.
The rationale for this is that, according to the district, there is a very small percentage of students who are not passing social studies and science, and these are “at risk” students anyway, so they’re already being monitored. In other words, CCISD doesn’t want to deal with costly struggling or troubled students a day longer than necessary by making them repeat a grade.
The problem with this change, however is that the fear of not advancing to the next grade level is perhaps the primary motivator that encourages average and below-average students to try their best in school. No kids want to tell their parents they failed, and repeating a grade or attending summer school while their friends enjoy moving on is downright miserable. But once the intermediate students catch wind of this change, do you really think the ones just barely passing social studies and science by the skin of their teeth are going to be motivated to earn a 70 or above? No, we don’t either.
Policies are passed by the Board of Trustees on the “second read,” which is what was voted on during the February 24 Board meeting. On the first read, January 27, Trustee Scott Bowen requested some research to prove that this policy would benefit the students. One month later, he was not given any supporting evidence, and voted against this policy. Mr. Bowen is the only Trustee that voted against yet another CCISD curriculum change that defies logic. This sort of change is exactly why CCISD’s TEA ratings slip, and how students’ educations suffer. (As an aside, since it’s election time, remember that Win Weber and Mr. Sanchez both voted for this change.)
Tomorrow, we’ll conclude our series with an in-depth look at the person who is largely responsible for developing this curriculum change: Dr. Steven Ebell.