Bring Back the “Independent” in Grapevine Colleyville INDEPENDENT School District
An Open Letter to Those Who Supported Me in Last Year’s GCISD School Board Election.
When I ran for GCISD school board one year ago, I witnessed a groundswell of stakeholders dissatisfied with changes in the district.
Halfway 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 parents, 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 taxpayer 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 a new elementary school and two multipurpose activity centers.
Looking around the state, nothing in LEAD 2021 or the bond package is unique to GCISD. Our board of trustees, strong supporters of the Texas Association of School Boards, 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 that historical facts are the basis of a well-informed citizenry.
LEAD 2021 has cost taxpayers enormous amounts of money and the Trustees have taken advantage of the economy of Texas which created ever-increasing property tax appraisals. Besides participating in a Robinhood lawsuit, GCISD trustees have not appeared to be fiscal stewards of tax payer money. There are no visible indications that our trustees have asked that Robinhood be repealed. Hard decisions could be made that, while not easy or beneficial to certain special interest lobbies, could have provided students with a stellar education without bond debt for items that are technologically obsolete before the bond is repaid.
For these reasons, I ran for the board 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 the groundswell 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