There is something comforting about honesty, even if you don’t like what you are hearing. Immediately, you know what’s going on and/or you know where you stand. Sadly, our educational leaders here in Jacksonville traditionally haven’t been that honest. Remember these? “Kids can get the same education at neighborhood schools as they can at magnet schools”… “Tying Principal’s evaluations to suspensions does not affect discipline”… and, finally, among other whoppers: “The district respects its teachers and thinks they are our most valuable resource”. However, where the district has a long way to go on the honesty road, at least in the last few days they did make some strides.
For years, teachers have dedicated a disproportionate amount of time teaching just to the F-CAT test. All other facets of education sadly became secondary. Well, this year at several schools throughout the district, they have gone ahead and created an F-CAT prep class that every student will take every day. Now, since the district has not completely committed to honesty, they are instead calling it an “enrichment/remediation class”. Don’t worry though; kids will receive credit for the class. It’s what’s called an academic elective; unfortunately, I am not sure if many kids would have elected to take it had they been given the option.
Next, the district made some honest changes to the Grade Recovery program. In theory, grade recovery was for students who missed a lot of days for an illness or another legitimate reason, or for kids that came to school, worked hard and tried hard but just didn’t “get it”. They could make up work, and, if they did well improve their grade. In reality, however, any kid could do it regardless of the reason they failed a class. The district renamed “grade recovery” – it’s now called “learning recovery” . Just like the county; if they think something has a negative connotation they change the name – say goodbye, “autistic”, say hello, “communication and sensory deficit”. They also officially changed the requirements – now, any kid can legitimately take it regardless of the reasons (behavior, absences, lack of effort) they failed. Now, that’s honesty in full effect!
There’s something comforting about honesty even if you don’t like what you are hearing. If only our school district was a little more honest more often, maybe people would understand the damage they are doing to the cities children.