EPISD–a parent’s comments

A loyal reader sent this in:

I simply must express my deep disappointment with EPISD’s instructional technology.  I’m a parent with one still in EPISD.  I have expressed concern about the technology with my AP, but things don’t get fixed.
Technology is fragmented:  My HS student and I use too many different online services.  Teacher specific websites with notes (mostly on Weebly), Schoolology and online textbooks, 3rd party smart phone apps like Remind used by some but not all teachers, Parent Portal for grades and attendance, services like https://www.commonlit.org/ for an English class, emails from teachers with handouts/policies (one attachment per email due to EPISD rules means my inbox is flooded with emails and attachments vs. those being housed and organized online), plus more.  Can’t this school district get a single integrated online learning system like Canvas or Blackboard? If not, then something else but this fragmentation of learning supports must end.
The free computers are starting to break.  But when they do, the family is charged for repairs like broken screens.  Well, kids do need to be careful with their belongings and pay for negligence.  But, accidents do happen and I wonder why families must insure the equipment at their cost (about $200 for a repair of a two year old laptop I think).  I tend to think that if a child is required to carry a laptop then the authority who required such is responsible for upkeep and replacement; the child doesn’t have money and parent didn’t make a decision to issue laptops; this was an EIPSD decision.  I wonder what happens when a family can’t afford the fee to fix a broken laptop.  I’m not against technology, but this computer centric initiative was rolled-out without enough thought.
Finally, and this isn’t a total technology issue, the active learning really is not working – listen up EPISD – I’m telling you that active learning, no matter how good in theory, is not working.  You are hurting some kids with this ill conceived approach.

The Wizard

23 Responses to EPISD–a parent’s comments

  1. The Wizard says:

    Was just told at parent teacher conference that, for this one class, my student needs to use Turnitin.com to submit work. Geez, another website added. I vote no confidence in EPISDs technology ….system.

    Like

  2. Dan Wever says:

    This is data posted above hope it is better.

    SOCORRO ISD
    GRADE 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th EOC
    READING 2 2 2 1 1 1
    MATH 2 2 3 2 2 1
    WRITING 1 1
    SCIENCE 3 2
    SPCIAL STUDIES 1
    ALGEBRA 1 3
    BYIOLGY 3
    ENGLISH 1 2
    ENGLISH 2 1
    US HISTORY 1
    TOTAL SCORE = 39 RANK # 1

    YSLETA ISD
    GRADE 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th EOC
    READING 4 5 4 2 3 5
    MATH 1 1 2 1 5 3
    WRITING 3 3
    SCIENCE 2 5
    SPCIAL STUDIES 4
    ALGEBRA 1 1
    BYIOLGY 2
    ENGLISH 1 1
    ENGLISH 2 3
    US HISTORY 2
    TOTAL SCORE = 61 RANK # 2

    CANUTILLO ISD
    GRADE 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th EOC
    READING 1 1 1 4 4 2
    MATH 3 5 1 4 1 4
    WRITING 5 5
    SCIENCE 1 1
    SPCIAL STUDIES
    ALGEBRA 1 5
    BYIOLGY 1
    ENGLISH 1 3
    ENGLISH 2 3
    US HISTORY 5
    TOTAL SCORE = 62 RANK # 3

    REGION 19
    GRADE 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th EOC
    READING 5 4 5 3 2 3
    MATH 5 3 4 3 3 2
    WRITING 4 2
    SCIENCE 4 3
    SPCIAL STUDIES 3
    ALGEBRA 1 2
    BYIOLGY 4
    ENGLISH 1 4
    ENGLISH 2 4
    US HISTORY 3
    TOTAL SCORE = 75

    EPISD
    GRADE 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th EOC
    READING 3 3 3 5 5 4
    MATH 4 4 5 5 4 5
    WRITING 2 4
    SCIENCE 5 4
    SPCIAL STUDIES 5
    ALGEBRA 1 4
    BYIOLGY 5
    ENGLISH 1 5
    ENGLISH 2 5
    US HISTORY 4
    TOTAL SCORE = 93 RANK # 4

    LOW TOTAL SCORE IS BEST

    Like

  3. al bundy says:

    In the old days, if kids lost or messed up their textbooks they were charged for it. Today when they lose or break their computers, they’re charged for it. Little difference.

    And it’s hilarious that anyone in this thread thinks teachers are in it for the income. Plenty of us can barely pay our bills.

    Like

  4. Truth says:

    Schools are just following the overall cultural trend of encouraging screen time rather than face time, getting kids even more addicted to technology rather than teaching them how to relate to other human beings. Parents are not helping because when you see families are together, it is common for all the members of the families to each have their eyes glued to their phones or iPads.

    Like

  5. Retired boomer says:

    Right now there are future H1B visa holders, if those visas still exist in the future, engineers, mathematicians, STEM types, who are being educated with nothing more than thatch overhead by instructors using chalk blackboards. I suspect we will need these folks as our education system is not meeting the demand. In their defense not all can be blamed on teachers, we have students who simply don’t value or respect the education offered, parents who view schools as free daycare, and administrators and others making rules and decisions who have never spent a day in the classroom. Additionally, we are expecting our schools to feed neglected children, ‘educate’ those unfortunates who will never learn to read or write, and tolerate in the standard classroom children already exhibiting violent or other pathological behavior.

    Like

  6. Concerned Tax Payer says:

    I blame Tim Holt for many of the issues EPISD is currently facing. He is the one who pushed the laptops. He is the one who recommended the implementation of free electronic books. Yes, free. You get what you pay for. They are horrible. I wish we could go back to no laptops, no useless active learning and regular textbooks.
    The laptops have only provided yet another distraction to students (as if they did not have enough).

    Like

  7. Julie says:

    In national rankings of high schools across the country, there is one school that is always at the top or near top — Basis HS (a charter school) in Phoenix / Scottsdale, AZ. They do not have “technology.” Computers are totally absent in their Middle School and are secondary in their HS. Everyone needs to get off the technology band wagon and start teaching the students.

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  8. Dan Wever says:

    The Wizard,
    How in the world can you say that the Active Learning program that the EPISD has embraced is really not working. You must not have been paying attention.
    The EPISD web site Screamed for a couple of weeks that they were Number 1 in Region 19 concerning schools with the most distinctions. And then at https://www.episd.org/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&ModuleInstanceID=1366&ViewID=DEDCCD34-7C24-4AF2-812A-33C0075398BC&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=23833&PageID=888&Tag=&Comments=true you will find a chart that shows how great the EPISD is doing.
    And when you look at the actual STAAR for the Spring 2018 results you will find that in 2018 only 24% of the students tested FAILED the test. Of course the State and EPISD do not use the word FAIL but that is the real result of their scores. Also 23% FAILED the Math test, 34% of 4th and 7th graders FAILED the Writing test, 24% of 5th and 8th graders Failed the Science test and only 43% of the 8th graders FAILED the Social Studies test. I think any fair thinking would realize as the TEA and State did that these scores long with a couple of other factors gave the EPISD a grade of 86 or B+ as some like to say. These are the students that did not even APPROACH meeting the State standard of MEETS which is counted as passing.
    Wizard, there is also a presentation that was presented to 3 board members on Sept 6th. It is a power point presentation and they further show how good the Active Learning program is working. It is also on the video of the board meeting for that date. The tell us that 21 schools scored over 90% on the ratings but they did not say that these schools had almost 40% of their students not MEETING the State standard. They also brag about the 11 schools that got all possible distinctions but they did not mention the 27 schools that got zero.
    I cannot see how you can even think that the Active Learning program or concept is not working for our children in the EPISD. Better Accountability might be better in the future. The EPISD has been one of 25 districts that will offer a pilot program by making their own accountability program and the Superintendent’s Chief of Staff has been picked to develop the program. You can rest assured we will be an AA school next year.

    Like

    • Dan Wever says:

      And just for the record the 43% of the 8th graders that FAILED the Social Studies test needed 23 correct questions out of 44 which is a 52% and they would have passed.

      Like

    • Everything was great with Dan on the Board says:

      Those passing rates are about the same they have been for the last 20 years Dan. Same as when you were on the Board. You make it sound as if EPISD is setting those ranges. They are set by the state and approved by the US Department of Education. I’m not disagreeing the rates are low as far as the number of questions required to pass an exam but it is the same across the city, county, region and state.

      Like

      • Dan Wever says:

        Tim, then let’s compare EPISD to Socorro, Ysleta, and Canutillo!

        Like

        • Everything was great with Dan on the Board says:

          Ok. Compare them based on what?

          Like

          • Dan Wever says:

            OK, Tim Let’s compare them to each other. Which district had the best score in every STAAR test subjects. Let’s also include the Percentage of failures in each district in each subject and the Percent MEET State Standard. I ignored the Approaches and Masters as they are bogus in reality. If you would look at them you might learn to look at other districts and see what they are doing right to excel in certain subjects. Of course, I doubt if anyone would suggest any changes to the Active learning program and Project Based Learning but regardless you can see that they are not working in the EPISD, at least not as good as whatever they are doing in the other districts. I added the Region 19 scores to get an idea of how close we are to being on track with other districts.
            Every subject was compared and given a Ranking in relation to the other 4 districts. The Region 19 was not rated in the Final rating. And Tim why do you always mention when I was on the board. I know it was not perfect but I did not steal or even accept donations from vendors. Speaking of back then I do you rank you health care now with when I was on the board?

            SOCORRO ISD
            GRADE 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th EOC
            READING 2 2 2 1 1 1
            MATH 2 2 3 2 2 1
            WRITING 1 1
            SCIENCE 3 2
            SPCIAL STUDIES 1
            ALGEBRA 1 3
            BYIOLGY 3
            ENGLISH 1 2
            ENGLISH 2 1
            US HISTORY 1
            TOTAL SCORE = 39 RANK # 1

            YSLETA ISD
            GRADE 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th EOC
            READING 4 5 4 2 3 5
            MATH 1 1 2 1 5 3
            WRITING 3 3
            SCIENCE 2 5
            SPCIAL STUDIES 4
            ALGEBRA 1 1
            BYIOLGY 2
            ENGLISH 1 1
            ENGLISH 2 3
            US HISTORY 2
            TOTAL SCORE = 61 RANK # 2

            CANUTILLO ISD
            GRADE 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th EOC
            READING 1 1 1 4 4 2
            MATH 3 5 1 4 1 4
            WRITING 5 5
            SCIENCE 1 1
            SPCIAL STUDIES
            ALGEBRA 1 5
            BYIOLGY 1
            ENGLISH 1 3
            ENGLISH 2 3
            US HISTORY 5
            TOTAL SCORE = 62 RANK # 3

            REGION 19
            GRADE 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th EOC
            READING 5 4 5 3 2 3
            MATH 5 3 4 3 3 2
            WRITING 4 2
            SCIENCE 4 3
            SPCIAL STUDIES 3
            ALGEBRA 1 2
            BYIOLGY 4
            ENGLISH 1 4
            ENGLISH 2 4
            US HISTORY 3
            TOTAL SCORE = 75

            EPISD
            GRADE 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th EOC
            READING 3 3 3 5 5 4
            MATH 4 4 5 5 4 5
            WRITING 2 4
            SCIENCE 5 4
            SPCIAL STUDIES 5
            ALGEBRA 1 4
            BYIOLGY 5
            ENGLISH 1 5
            ENGLISH 2 5
            US HISTORY 4
            TOTAL SCORE = 93 RANK # 4

            LOW TOTAL SCORE IS BEST

            Like

      • Anonymous says:

        Hello Tim,

        You can compare EPISD on any metric to Socorro and Canutillo and see how horrible they do in comparison. Sure EPISD will have the most overall distinctions they have 92 campuses while Socorro has 48 and Canutillo has 10. To say that EPISD has the highest number of overall distinctions is the same as saying that they got a participation trophy as if we were in T-Ball all over again. I’m sure they will also have the highest number of teachers, buses, books, computers, cafeterias, etc.. I just can’t believe that whoever is advising Mr. I Fly First Class would think this would be something to boast about.

        Compare them based on what? Well how about the state’s school rating system: Canutillo 91, Socorro 88, EPISD 86. Oh, but I’m sure that there are a million excuses why EPISD is not the highest rated district.

        Tell you what Dan to make our friend happy, let’s compare them by the number of computers bought with multimillion dollar Bond money, number of penny swap elections (teachers vote yes or no raise for you!), number of Superintendent out of town trips, and the number of Directors of Tech Pilots (whatever that is!) and….. EPISD wins!! See Dan, he can win a couple of arguments.

        Like

  9. Chico says:

    Waiting for Deputy Dawg to chime in with his wisdom. He, after all, is the author of this disaster.

    Like

  10. Jeff says:

    I’m sure all these problems can be solved by another all expenses paid EPISD management “workshop” on Santa Fe, wot?

    Like

  11. JerryK says:

    I’m so glad we didn’t have to deal with this shit in the 70s and 80s when my kids were in school.

    Like

  12. Wiggs Parent says:

    My 6th grader has one of the laptops. I had to sign an agreement that I understood the cost of broken or lost or damaged laptops. The principal at Wiggs told me that icoul opt out of having a laptop if I porvided one for my son. The laptop also came with a very padded sleeve to protect it, and my son keeps it in that sleeve any time he is not using it. So far so good.

    Like

  13. Anonymous says:

    I agree with every point except the laptop. If your kid breaks it, taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for it. When I was a student if you lost a book or really damaged it, you paid for it. Buy your kid a padded laptop sleeve (they are cheap) and teach him to put the laptop in that when he isn’t using it. I’ve travelled with a laptop for years. If you use a padded sleeve they can take a hit with no damage. All that said, back when I was growing up my parents made me “pay” for stuff I damaged either by withholding allowance or having me do extra chores at a set payment rate. Taught me a lot of responsibility and the value of money.

    Like

    • The Wizard says:

      I agree. My question and concern is for the family who did not choose to take on the computer liability and can not afford to replace one.

      Like

  14. Anonymous says:

    Public schools aren’t about educating children, they haven’t been doing that very well for decades. Third-world country’s have better education systems than ours, and that is a fact.

    U.S. public education is about unions and income. Everything is geared around higher wages each year, and every so often they come up with some new plan to cover for the old plan that didn’t work. When the new plan doesn’t work they come up with something else, all at public expense.

    In the interim period, teachers and administrators whine and cry about how they are underpaid and incessantly fight anything that represents accountability. The education of children is merely a pretext for high wages and low accomplishment.

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    • In Fairness says:

      It’s grossly unfair to paint all teachers and educators as being unaccountable and in it only for the money. I know some great, dedicated teachers, who could have chosen other fields or who could have retired years ago, but they teach because they are trying to make a difference. Many spend money out of their own pockets for supplies and books for students.

      As for income and benefits, why is it that teachers should not want to improve the financial situation of their own families? Every working person in the nation hopes for “higher wages each year.”

      If you’re truly concerned about high wages and low accomplishment, focus on terminating Cabrera’s egregious contract.

      Like

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