Former Irving ISD Trustee Nancy Jones expresses concerns regarding curriculum

Ms Jones- Former IISD School  Board Trustee Volunteering at BIG DOGS Youth Summit

Nancy Jones, Former IISD Trustee- Odyssey Sims, former IISD Graduate- volunteering at 2013 BIG DOGS Youth Summit

Recently former Irving ISD Trustee Nancy Jones sent the letter shared below to the Dallas Morning News reporter Avi Selk a letter addressing her concerns regarding the district’s recent curriculum changes. The letter was provided to the North Dallas Gazette by Jones along with the documents referenced in her letter. To read the Irving ISD 2013-14 Recommended Budget and the District’s Resolution 12-13-166 request to approve the renewal of the C-Scope  Curriculum Management System and Content (cost was $189,505) and Eduphoria (cost as $67,650 before a discount of $5,000) visit NorthDallasGazette.com. The request for approval was denied.

Good Evening Avi:

I wanted to share some info with you that I find to be very interesting. First of all, the community should give kudos to Irving ISD for the outcome on the state ratings. It seems to me that when the former Board approved a more rigorous curriculum, we did the right thing. I guess CScope naysayers could still say the district rankings are “too low.”

Because I have many friends in the district who are teachers and expressed their concern about the lack of curriculum, I requested some information about cost, etc.

I have attached a couple documents that you may already have, regarding the budget. In May, the Board voted down CScope renewal, largely due to cost. They would not even consider a phase out plan. On the one document, page 1 (towards the bottom), you can see the cost for the curriculum (CScope) renewal ($250K). Also included in that were YAG (Year at a glance documents), Instructional focus documents and lesson plans. I know this because I served on the Board when we had the CScope presentation. Our Program Coordinators could modify lesson plans, as needed, which is what they were sharing at the Spring Board Meetings. It fell on deaf ears. The current Board wanted a new curriculum, period.

On the next document, you will notice (I believe it’s on page 5) under Special Projects, the cost allocated to curriculum development, albeit a one time fee, at over 1.3 million dollars. I assume this includes the $100K consultant fee that we are paying to a former administrator. . It is also my understanding that we are purchasing a Social Studies curriculum from another district (you may need to clarify as I am not sure if the purchase is a one time fee or not). I suspect, as with all districts, there is an annual cost allocated to curriculum. If the figure that I heard is correct at $750K, that seems to be more than twice what we were paying for CScope and didn’t have to create an in-house curriculum.. The question, in my mind, becomes – was this really about saving the taxpayers money? Was this really because the in-house curriculum was better, even though the administrative subject experts said we needed a stronger curriculum to stay in line with the new state testing?

Avi, I hope you will research and find a balanced approach to really educate parents. I am sure Mrs. Cabrera can substantiate the figures in the enclosed documents. Their children deserve the best education possible and I am really bothered by changing a major decision so close to school. I feel it was not well researched and that phasing out CScope would have allowed the time needed to determine a curriculum that teachers, administration and the Board could perhaps agree upon. Instead we had an emotional decision done by a new Board (practically at their first meeting!) whose sole purpose was to rid the district of Dr. Bedden and his administrators.

I have great faith and respect for teachers and what they are trying to do in such a short period of time. I hope this gamble will be worth it. Our students deserve it.

Thank you, 

Ms. Jones 

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