WHAT'S GOING ON IN OUR SCHOOLS
Lack of Leadership
One of the most important roles of an elected school board, outside of guiding budgeting and finances, is to help develop the district's instructional philosophies and goals. Beyond that, they are meant to empower the superintendent and ensure he or she is executing as envisioned.
Because of the recent lack of scrutiny, the absence of diplomatic and healthy pushback, and group think, the school board has allowed their role of collectively directing the district's affairs to be assumed by nonelected officials.
Deemphasis on Foundational Learning
Foundational learning is not word play. It refers to basic literacy, numeracy, and transferable skills that are building blocks on which all other learning is built. Recent administrative initiatives have sacrificed foundational instructional time to secondary learning, with a correlating decline in academic performance.
Prioritization of Technology Over Teachers
Technology can create an enhanced, dynamic learning environment. But, when implemented without proper management, it impedes education. Teachers are the key to the balancing act, but RISD hasn't prioritized them or their classroom environment. The district's spending and governance of technology has fostered an environment where educators take a backseat to digital instruction and devices.
Lower Student Expectations
The quality of learning in a school is measured by grades and enriched by the culture. However, an "A+" at RISD does not mean what it used to, and the district's learning environment--especially at the high-school level--has been in decay. Principals tell teachers to not hold students accountable for their efforts and to lower the standards to keep students from failing classes. It's time to reevaluate academic rigor and overall student standards.
Poor Financial Stewardship
In recent years, there has been a lack of accountability for the administration and Board of Trustees, resulting in a lack of financial stewardship and responsible management of resources. This can be seen as central administration budget has increased and instructional spending has decreased. Poor financial stewardship can also be seen in RISD paying for four indoor football stadiums while simultaneously closing the planetarium. The lack of financial stewardship is wasting resources that could go towards student achievement.
A general lack of educational rigor has led to diminished academic performance among students of all ages and grade levels. In Richardson ISD schools, less than half of third graders can read on a third-grade level and only 38% of eighth graders pass Algebra I before high school. This continuing decline in academic performance not only puts the credibility of our school district at risk, but it is also indicative of an even larger problem- the failure to offer our kids the best education possible.
As administrators continue to prioritize secondary curriculums over core subjects, our students continue to fall behind on the core subjects needed to equip them for
future successes in their careers or pursuit of continued education. Our schools should be teaching kids how to think, not what to think. But these policies don't just harm our children, they also place an incredible burden on our teachers, which is reflected in the astronomical teacher turnover rate of 17.5% in Richardson ISD.
As academic performances continue to dip across all grade levels, the ripple effects are already starting to spread across all facets of Richardson ISD. Once noted as a top Texas district, Richardson ISD has been on a steady free-fall in rankings- dropping from being ranked the 110th district in Texas to the 412th.
It's no secret that great communities are largely driven by great schools. The failure to maintain quality schools with high-rankings puts the desirability of our community as a whole at risk, impacting not just the quality of our kids education, but also the value of our homes and the future successes of our businesses as well.
WHAT'S BEING TAUGHT IN OUR SCHOOLS
Richardson ISD’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) department was created four years ago under the direction of Superintendent Jeannie Stone. The EDI department created their own curriculum previously named “Racial Literacy” which has since been changed to “Connecting Cultures”. This curriculum has been implemented into every classroom within RISD and is taking precious time away from core subjects. Failing to actually connect and educate students within the district on the multitude of cultures that RISD serves, it deploys the political viewpoints held by its creators and the organizations cited in the curriculum bibliography.