While our district begins the battle over DOI, it seemed helpful to have a cheat sheet of sorts that we could update with information to share with teachers, parents and taxpayers.

Great resource from ATPE on DOI: https://www.atpe.org/en/DOI

TASB FAQ: https://www.tasb.org/Services/Legal-Services/TASB-School-Law-eSource/Governance/documents/districts_of_innovation_apr16.pdf

School Board Member, George Scott on Community Input for DOI: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=328356127514486&id=195944790755621&refid=18&_ft_=qid.6332529469176241353%3Amf_story_key.617353611780489%3Atl_objid.617353611780489 

WOW Blog on Big Picture DOI: http://www.voicesempower.com/texas-districts-of-innovation_initiative-is-not-what-you-think/

Read the law Texas Ed Code: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/ED/htm/ED.12A.htm

PUBLIC TESTIMONY

Jenny Evans Teacher and President of Lewisville Education Association  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t92klvMEb1M  

Kim Belcher, Katy ISD Parent https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=v6yZ98EzpM0

TIPS

From Mellany Lamb: Check to see if your district has an intra local transfer policy. She reminded her school board that due to their flexible policy for students to be able to move to other open seats in the district, they already have school choice.


 

Following is an address to the KISD board at their 9/19/16 work session:

Good evening.

I am Kim Belcher, a Katy parent, taxpayer and public school advocate.

I am here to comment on agenda item 6.6, the District of Innovation initiative that has received little to no publicity by this board, nor the district administration leading up to this review.

Districts of Innovation or DOI’s have the power to change the entire nature of a community. Such an undertaking should not be taken lightly by anyone involved, due to the potential of undermining the roles of the professional educator and the parents of our students.

Districts of Innovation do NOT allow school districts to exempt from state or federal requirements that charter schools are subject to, which means that the two greatest problems in Texas education today cannot be solved through a DOI.

Poorly crafted standards that are interfering with our students’ ability to perform fundamentals of math, write coherently and comprehend what they read will not find resolution in a DOI.

The new, so called accountability system cannot be avoided due to this limitation, which means that our kids are subject to “real time” “any time” assessment, not only from an academic standpoint, but also social and emotional responses to stimuli in the classroom, according to Commissioner Mike Morath who would like to see us set standards for our kids’ behaviors, beliefs and personal value systems.

 In addition to the two primary problems in education not being remedied by implementation of a DOI, if a district so chooses, educators could no longer have to be certified to hold their positions, could lose their ability to enact or enforce disciplinary measures in the classroom and could provide unfair contractual advantages to the districts over the educator that have the potential to impact pay, work hours and rights to paid leave.

While parents are already seeing a push to keep them out of the education of their children, DOI’s afford the opportunity for a district to exempt itself from providing parental access to a child’s instructional materials, limit a parent’s right to prohibit videotaping or tracking of their children, lose broad access to teachers and administrators and lose the expectation of safety in the classroom as teachers’ rights to discipline are negated.

According to Deputy Commissioner AJ Crabill, the three most common exemptions that the schools are taking as a result of this new fad are:

Exemption from the uniform start date TEC25.0811 and TEC25.081

~ Could be addressed through legislative changes or administrative rules without giving carte blanche to a district under DOI

Exemption from the teacher certification requirements TEC21.003

~ There is no good reason I can think of to undermine the professional status of our classroom teachers; if there is any one thing that Katy has done right, it has been the placement of qualified, exceptional instructors in our classrooms

Exemption from limiting class size to 22:1 TEC 25.112

~ This already has remedy available to the district under a waiver process; schools are giving away the farm for something that already has an existing solution

Deputy Commissioner Crabill had no statistics or report on what “innovative” programs were being piloted under this initiative.   It seems these districts are more interested in what they can exempt themselves from than what they can do to improve student outcomes. None of this points to a more sound academic education for our kids.

The Texas Education Code has safeguards in place for the districts, educators, parents and students that should not be set aside hastily.

I respectfully request that you hold an open forum so that all of those stakeholders have an opportunity to provide input, not just a limited three minutes at the end of an already long day. You are setting Katy, Texas up to be left without a traditional public school.  Our public schools have been the cornerstone of our community and our culture for decades and that should not be stripped away without the involvement of those who are funding it… your property tax payers.

Mr. Scott, you made a promise to fight for our kids and our teachers when we put our names behind your campaign. Tonight, we are here to hold your feet to the fire for exactly that.  Stand up and be counted with us.  Be the voice on this board that insists the constituents of this board get to participate in deciding the future of our kids and our community.

Thank you all for your time.


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