GCISD, April 13, 2018
An Open Letter to Those Who Supported Me in Last Year’s GCISD School Board Election
by Julie Lawrence
I experienced a ground swell of stakeholders dissatisfied with changes in the district. I appreciated your support. We almost made a difference! Half way through LEAD 2021, with 3 students who experienced TAAS, TAKs and STAAR, who spent the last 6 years of their GCISD careers under the guise of “Personalized Learning,” I found nothing could be further from the truth. The “personal” in lead 2021 is adaptive technology, not human guidance. My youngest, who was exposed to LEAD 2021 in her more formidable years, did not have the academic legacy of my oldest. Many know our family history and I will not discuss it here; but, the district did not teach my girls to read, as a parent, I accepted responsibility and made sure they had appropriate Reading instruction. After that, I stood before the GCISD board, which is very different than today’s board, and with a group of other parent’s, we made the board aware that GCISD is responsible for providing appropriate reading instruction for ALL students, not just the easy ones. Today, that is truer than ever, in all subjects. Every child in GCISD needs to learn to read well, write well, solve math efficiently and effectively, learn history and learn proven science laws and principles. The district vision, created by the board, should include definitive measures of academic proficiency. SAT and ACT are the only national measures of college readiness the majority of students in GCISD will take. Despite great GCISD expense in test preparation and LEAD 2021 vision, the scores on these 2 nationalized tests are statistically flat. What are GCISD tax payers getting for the investment in redefined education?
While GCISD taxpayers have approved large, bundled bond packages, I felt again, with the last bond package, that the school board did not trust me, the tax payer to determine which part of the proposed debt should be priority. Canon Elementary was crumbling; but, for that building to be replaced, voters were forced to approve and elementary and 2 multipurpose activity centers. Look around the state,
nothing in LEAD 2021 or the bond package is unique to GCISD. Our board of trustees, as strong Texas Association of School Board members have abdicated responsibility for an independent GCISD vision of learning and adopted the vision created by the Texas Association of School Administrators; “School Transformation and bring the new vision for Texas public education to life.” Despite community input, LEAD 2021 was not created here and does not represent GCISD history for creating really well-educated students, who know how to read, how to apply math to real life, and know historical facts are the basis of a well informed citizenry.
LEAD 2021 has required huge amounts of money, how convenient that the economy of Texas has created every increasing property tax appraisals. Despite participating in a Robinhood lawsuit, GCISD trustees have not appeared to be fiscal stewards of tax payer money. There are no visible indicators that our trustees ask that Robinhood be repealed. Hard decisions could be made that, while they may not have been easy or beneficial to certain special interest lobbies, our students could have still been provided a stellar education without bond debt for items that are technologically obsolete before the bond is repaid.
For these reasons, I ran a year ago. I have spoken at length with this year’s challengers. They bring history, knowledge of the classroom and board experience to the race. Please continue to the ground swell for change and support the challengers. I endorse Tim Raine for place 1 and Amy Putnam for place 2, GCISD Board of Trustees in the 2018 election.
Julie Lawrence, advocate mom