Senate Bill 2033

Senate Bill 2033
Local Control,
Where Did You Go?

White Oak ISD recently received Texas Association of School Boards Policy Update 86. For the reader that is not familiar, this is school districts operating procedures and state law mandates prepared as a service of our membership in TASB. Many of the changes that are sent have to do with changes in the law that we can not change or choose to ignore. However, school policy does include “Local Policies” that are in place to allow each school district a certain level of discretion concerning the way a district (WOISD) operates.
I am concerned about one of the changes being required of the district in Update 86. In policy EIA (LOCAL), Grading/Progress reports to parents, our district no longer has the local option of assigning a failing grade of no lower than fifty (50) on a students six weeks report card. Senate Bill 2033 passed into law by the 81st Legislature removed this local option for educators across the state. On the surface one might say this is a good thing. If a student does not do any work, that student should get a zero (0) and if his/her average is a twelve (12) then so be it! Please allow me to express another point of view that is well understood by educators. A student with a twelve average will not receive credit for the six weeks, as will a student with a fifty. The student with the twelve will have to average 99 out of 100 for the next two six weeks in order to receive a passing grade of 70 for the semester. The student with the fifty will have to average 80 out of 100 over the next two six weeks in order to receive a passing grade of 70 for the semester.
The obvious purpose of giving a student the grade of fifty that he/she did not earn is to give the student a chance turn a bad six weeks into a successful semester. If the student does not change his/her ways and continues to do poor work, they fail the course with a fifty average. There is not difference between a fifty no credit and a twelve no credit except that we gave the student a chance to succeed. SB 2033 will succeed in increasing the number of dropouts at the secondary level and will result in more discipline problems in our classrooms. A student that might have considered making a change in behavior will not change when there is NO REASONABLE CHANCE of improving the poor grade from the past six weeks.
Senate Bill 2033 removes a very vital measure of local control that schools can use to save students from dropping out of school. More drop outs and more discipline problems at school translate into a more difficult learning environment for students that want to succeed. This places greater demands on our public school faculty and staff members while the legislature continues to pile on more restrictions that seem to be designed to hamper our efforts to provide a quality education to all students. It is obvious that there are legislators that would like to see public schools fail to make way for vouchers and privatization of education. It must be very frustrating for those legislators to watch the faculty and staff members of the Texas Public School System as they take what ever is put in front of them and turn it into success stories for public education. Productivity in Texas Public Schools is on the rise even when we are handcuffed by laws passed by lawmakers that do not have our student’s best interest at heart. I am proud to be a part of the faculty and staff at White Oak ISD and proud to be a part of the Texas Public School System for over 28 years.