EPISD–trailing the other local school districts

This graphic has been floating around town for a couple of weeks:

It shows the percentage of students who took the state standardized tests this year that passed.  We don’t know as a fact that the numbers are accurate.

EPISD has the lowest scores in every test category.

Is that because EPISD’s students are somehow different than those in the other districts?  Are they more financially challenged?  Are more of them from households that don’t converse in English?  Are EPISD’s kids just dumber?

Could it be the teachers?  Are they lazier? Less competent? Less professional?

If EPISD wants to attract more students to the district they might start by providing a better education.

We deserve better

Brutus

39 Responses to EPISD–trailing the other local school districts

  1. Tickedofftaxpayer says:

    In my experience as a student in middle school, high school and later in graduate school, I felt that classes that incorporated problem based learning worked. In grad school we called it the case study method. In 8th grade my math teacher had us measuring the school to learn geometry. I have lost count of how many times I’ve worked on a project as an adult and mentally thought back to what I learned “hands on.” That said, the success of this teaching method is highly dependent on the competency and imagination of the teacher in engaging students, and on the willingness of the students to think things through. It won’t work with all teachers or all students.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Tickedofftaxpayer, tell me when you used PBL the first time could you add, subtract, multiply and divide? Did you speak the English language well enough to be able to communicate ideas and concepts to your fellow PBL group? Was the whole group involved and interested in the problem’s that PBL used to teach the group? I think all of these elements need to be present before any type of PBL is used and a district with 59,000 kids who are 80% Hispanic and many with language problems are just not ready to have this type of education foisted upon them.

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      • Dan says:

        Above is by Dan Wever

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        • Tim Holt says:

          Anonymous, among others, totally misunderstands the concept of Problem and Project based learning. It is one of MANY pedagogical tools teachers can use. It it not the only one. It can encompass many other techniques into it as well.

          Let me give you a very simple example: Driving a car.
          Did you learn to drive a car by reading about driving a car or by actually getting behind a wheel and doing it? I think most normal people would say that actually driving the car is was a much better way of learning. That essentially is what PBL is all about. Students learn by doing instead of always listening to someone tell them about it or reading about it.

          The other teaching techniques can be woven into the fabric of the overall PBL unit. If a lecture is called for as part of the unit, then a lecture is used. Need to read, then read, and so on.

          Do you think that football players learn best by listening to the coach tell them about the plays they are going to run, or by actually running the plays? PBL.

          Do orchestras learn a new piece by someone telling them about the music, or by actually playing the music? PBL.

          Would you prefer to have surgery done on you by a doctor that has just had lectures about your particular surgery or one that has actually done the surgery? PBL.

          Imagine how you would feel if your plane was coming in for a landing and the pilot got on the speaker and said something like “No need to worry folks, I have never actually landed a plane before, however, I have spent 100 hours reading the “How to Land Planes” textbook, and I have sat through multiple lectures on landing a plane so I am sure we will be fine.”

          These are all simple examples I know, but they illustrate that people learn best when they are doing something, instead of just being told what to do, or to sit down and listen to the teacher.

          Over the years, I have collected many articles and have written a bit on problem and project based learning. Here is what I know about it:

          https://holtthink.tumblr.com/search/PBL

          For those that do not like PBL, or think that it not a worthy teaching technique, please share your articles as well.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    One of the reasons the scores are so low is because EPISD decided to get rid of regular textbooks and implemented “Flexbooks” Teachers do not have the resources they used to have and neither do the students. Yes, now everyone has a laptop that is actually more damaging than helpful. As if kids needed another distraction. It sounds beautifully when they say they gave a laptop to each kid. Well, here are the results. Expect the scores to keep on dropping as they keep on refusing to provide real textbooks.

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  3. Dan Wever says:

    Well Sendurkidsaway says: You never got the right information out there so I will do it for you.
    The high US history scores are a smoke screen to fool the public into thinking our students are really smart in US History. Not really so if you understand that it takes a 41% on the test to pass. Then from 41% to 62% is the APPROACHES area which is still passing but new. It was probably put in because the people that understood the STAAR knew that if the public realised that it only took a 41% to pass the test they would complain so they had a new area that tells them that their kids passed the test and are approaching the Meets expectations which occurs at 62%
    But isn’t it wonderful that our children know so much about US History?
    .

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    • Dan Wever says:

      So if you wanted to make a correct statement about the EPISD 87% score on US History test you could say that 87% of the students that took the US History Staar test scored at least a 41%.
      Does that make any difference to parents? Probably not! 🙂

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  4. Al says:

    Tied with SISD at 94% for first place in U.S. History is “EPISD has the lowest scores in every test category”? Why not read the numbers you’re posting?

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    • Dan Wever says:

      Al, who are you talking to. Ysleta and Socorro tied at 94 in History and EPISD was 5th. Of these figures, Yes EPISD is last in every catagory. Do not know if these are valid figures, the EPISD usually claims foul or posts an objection and the state has to check it out and most of the time the TEA just changes their complaint cause it takes to much work to answer them.

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      • I deserve better says:

        Dan you state that EPISD usually claims foul or posts an objection and that TEA just changes their complaint. Can you give specific examples of this and when it has occurred? TEA publishes if appeals are granted or not and I have not seen EPISD file an appeal in a very long time.

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  5. Dan Wever says:

    Could it be that Active Learning where Teachers will become facilitators (EPISD’s own words) and a 50 year old Project Based Learning model that was given up by educators a long time ago but resurrected by Vendors who say it is great!  It ain’t! In short, they both suck!  

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    • Tim Holt says:

      Hi Dan, Can you send me the info about the failure of Problem Based Learning? I would like to read it. Thanks

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      • Dan Wever says:

        Tim, surely you can do your own research. There have been many studies on the subject as it has been around probably since Socrates. I am sure you love it because it is tied so closely with technology. Look at the company that is running the program in the EPISD. Their first school was in Napa over 20 years ago and now they deal with almost 200 schools and districts. That is 200 out of 10,000 in 20 years so I don’t think the American educational system is beating down their doors to get in.
        Tim, when you are looking at the studies, try to get away from Vendors studies as they are biased. Also look at which large fund is paying for the study as they are also biased. There is a good Canadian study that shows some positive aspects but they are not sure why. In the EPISD the students are cherry picked and if they are not working in the group they are kicked out.
        Education Reform has won the battle in the EPISD against Public Education so now we will sit back and look at the results. This thread is an example. If these scores are correct then somebody needs to do something to tell the public how great the new Reform programs work in the real world.

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        • Tim Holt says:

          The reason I ask Dan is because I have been studying PBL for quite some time, all the way back into the late 1980’s. Problem Based Learning came out of Medical and dental schools and was developed because med students had a lot of “book smarts” but when put in front of a human, they soon realized that the pain in Mrs. Jones’ left knee didn’t exactly match the example in the Ortho book.

          UNM in Albuquerque, in fact, was a leader in PBL in medical schools during the 1990’s. The practice soon expanded to dental schools as well as nursing and Architectural schools. I doubt that medical schools would risk losing accreditation by teaching an unsound methodology, or using one that didn’t show positive results.

          The idea is simple: Students are presented with a real life problem that they have to solve. In the process of solving the problem, they learn the material.

          I also asked because I was wondering if you were reading the same material I was. I have seen study after study, not financed by any particular company, usually a University, that said PBL and Project Based Learning was in fact a very good way to teach students.

          Consider Vocational Ed: Teaching kids to repair cars while actually repairing cars is in itself Project based learning. “Hey, my car is making a weird noise. fix it.” If that isn’t problem based I don’t know what is and we have been doing that since the beginning of public education. .

          Here is some info about how PBL works with low income kids. Te study was done by the University go Michigan.

          I think like any type of teaching, if it is done well, you will get good results. If it is done poorly, you will get poor results.

          https://www.edutopia.org/article/new-study-shows-impact-pbl-student-achievement-nell-duke-anne-lise-halvorsen

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          • Dan Wever says:

            Here is some info about your Project PLACE. As you can see it is funded by the Spencer Foundation and the George Lucas Educational Foundation, both heavy hitters when it comes to favoring CHOICE and Education Reform and I don’t believe any study that is funded by these people.

            These units were developed for Project PLACE (Project approach to Literacy and Civic Engagement), an initiative at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. They are project-based units designed for second-grade students. Support for the development of the materials was provided by the Spencer Foundation and support for their testing was provided by the Spencer Foundation and the George Lucas Educational Foundation.

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        • Tim Holt says:

          Okay Dan we will agree to disagree about PBL. Here is a lot of other studies that you can disagree with as well. http://www.bie.org/objects/cat/research

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          • Dan Wever says:

            Tim, if you are going to read the advertisements from companies that are selling PBL like the one you gave me I can assure you they will say it is the best thing since sliced bread. Here is the basis of BIC selling a program. “BIE is dedicated to improving 21st Century teaching & learning by creating & disseminating products, practices & knowledge for effective Project Based Learning.”
            Yes we will have to agree to disagree. You seem to be an advacoat for Choice rather than pro Public Education.

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      • Tim Holt says:

        Dan,
        You might want to tell the largest teacher organization in the US, the AFT, that PBL is not a viable way of teaching and that the method was determined to be unsound. They have PBL all over their website, like this:

        https://www.aft.org/education/igniting-fire/project-learning-essentials

        Why they even have a web site with Project ideas and this article mentions that evil Buck’s Institute of Education ..

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        • Tim Holt says:

          Dan, by your logic AFT is an advocate for school choice as well since they approve of Problem and Project Based Learning. Am I misreading that?

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        • Dan Wever says:

          Tim, the local AFT guy also supported the District of Innovation which was designed as a great tool to destroy Unions. This will be accomplished by not allowing dues to be taken out of pay checks. He also supported Bond Issue that will cost Union jobs when the close the schools.
          I have nothing to do with AFT anymore. What my wife worked so hard to build up is being torn down before our eyes. So Sad!

          Like

    • Anonymous says:

      No, it is the wonderful idea to remove academic coaches, remove real textbooks, implement flexbooks (that are terrible, by the way), and give laptops to each student. You can also add the refusal to remove/block skype from such laptops or the denial to add software to monitor/limit the use while in class. The kids are constantly on skype or playing games.

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  6. Jud Burgess says:

    The “tonedeaf twins” Fenenbock and Cabrera would have us believe that we are in the Top 10 school districts of 16,000 national districts according to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation…yet as your chart and recent “report cards” given by the TEA to our local districts EPISD received the worst grades in reference to several aspects of education. In fact they were not even close to SISD and YISD.

    Most of the problems our border region faces regarding education stem from the fundamental lack of English skills that thousands of students suffer from. If they can’t speak proficient English, they will not understand their subjects and continue failing tests.

    Dual language will not fix the problem. My mother came to school as a child from Juárez and was placed in a 3rd grade class to essentially learn to speak English in an immersive way. By next year she was moved up to her middle school grade because English was hammered into her daily…and she flourished.

    El Paso needs a specific school or two for weak English speakers where they are immersed in classes that teach English and the value of an education ONLY. Have special educators with experience in language education teaching them and when they are ready to transfer into regular schools, they WILL BE equipped to learn and not fall in the cracks as thousands do today.

    All the “innovative” BS programs that Fenenbock and Cabrera push will not solve this basic problem we have here in El Paso. We are not Denver, we are not Dallas, we are not Des Moines so why are they studying their educational programs??!

    And guess what…when this basic language issue that is affecting the quality of education in El Paso is dealt with properly, all the corruption and scandals and gaming of the system will no longer happen.

    We hope.

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  7. What an embarrassment says:

    So I have a question. Referencing the KVIA XTRA /Cabrera Public Relations Spin Show, why was it necessary for Fenenbucks and Cabra to wear In Ear Monitors? This was the most idiotic interview ever. It was obvious that some puppet master was feeding answers to these two rubes. And the answers were unconvincing lies. But really, in ear monitors? Take a close look at the video!

    Cabrera says no one was interested in the EPISD superintendent position and no one applied for upper level jobs. A simple public information request will show over 72 applicants for the superintendent position including YISD superintendent De La Torre. All other positions have had large numbers of applicants. So he is a liar and so is she!

    The chart that you published is correct. EPISD scores were lower in every area than all other districts including Fabens and Clint. I saw that a previous poster is alluding to the fact that scores aren’t everything. He over simplified the issue. Quality education programs should result in higher scores. It is an embarrassment to be last in academic achievement in our area.

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  8. Reality Checker says:

    Based on many of the young people I meet and observe, it appears that many of them have no real interest in education. A lot of parents also don’t seem too concerned about their kids’ education. They are consumed with other stuff, including sports and consumerism. Teachers can try to inspire students, but they can’t make kids want to learn. And the parents definitely can’t do anything about lousy parents.

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  9. Old Gringo says:

    Education starts at home. Too many parents do not teach their children even simple stuff, like the A, B, Cs, how to read, and how to count and ,yes, speak English. The parents offer the children little or no help with their lessons. The schools have become a taxpayer paid child care center.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I was an EPISD campus administrator until I could not stand all the BS and retired. You are dead on about parents. I would add that the curriculum facilitators did nothing to help out. I hear that has not changed. The facilitators are never at the campuses and never at Ed. Center. where were/are they? They never responded to my help for assistance, particularly Carla Huereca. She’s worthless and incompetent at her job. So was the one now principal of the girl school with NO experience! David Honhholt was arrogant and help. I never got to meet the English facilitator. I heard he left after he finished his PHD on District time. That’s what Carla and Ontiveros did. Nothing changes. But teachers and administrators are responsible for the scores. Not sad I left but sad for all those still there.

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  10. Tim Holt says:

    By “better education” you mean being able to pass a standardized test on any given day?

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    • Reality Checker says:

      Life is one big test, especially after we get out of school, and we don’t get to pick and choose which days we will be tested in life.

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    • Rupert Willowby says:

      EPISD no longer considers rigor part of education. It’s all about customer service, pleasing the parents. This is why teachers who teach rigorous courses are demoted from AP and IB classes to regular classes, since too many parents are upset their supposed geniuses are failing. The state tests are a good measure on any day that EPISD is falling behind under the current administration.

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    • Anonymous says:

      If they cannot even pass a standardized test, how will they pass placement tests at college? Isn’t EPISD supposed to be getting them ready to go to college? It does not seem the initiatives are working at all.

      Like

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