Jacquielynn Floyd Totally Pwns Dallas ISD

J-Floyd’s column today is worth a read for two reasons: 1) You rarely see the paper take a risk like that with a high-concept piece. It was a welcome surprise. 2) She makes a good point. As an ardent Dallas ISD supporter, I’m having a hard time with the district’s new grading policy. I read Superintendent Hinojosa’s defense of it. The new policy still strikes me as asinine.

My favorite directive is this one: homework grades should be given only when the grades will “raise a student’s average, not lower it.” Hinojosa says, “Our mission is not to fail kids.” The district’s stance is that students who get bad grades fall behind, lose hope of catching up, and simply give up. The district’s solution, in short: don’t give students bad grades.

This is worse than absurd.


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50 responses to “Jacquielynn Floyd Totally Pwns Dallas ISD”

  1. Andy says:

    why, Tim .. I didn’t know you were a Professional Educator!

    You have the same qualifications as the “mad creationist dentist” Don McLeroy, who’s ramroding his Christian curriculum through the science and math classes without so much as a whiff of educational insight. (Google: Texas State Board of Education)

    In other words, if you didn’t talk to a professional educator before giving your opinion, please .. keep it to yourself.

  2. Trey Garrison says:

    Potemkin Village, Tim.

  3. Kirk says:


  4. Bananers says:

    High-concept? Hah!

    “Those teachers would be so totally cheesed!”

  5. Dallasite says:

    I thought their mission was to education kids, not pass them whether they’re educated or not.

    I wonder where the DISD defenders are today?

  6. DM says:

    There is no ‘i’ in Fale-yur.

  7. Missy says:

    There truly will be “no child left behind”. Not as intended … but… This is truly sick. What a message to send to the students who really want an education.

  8. Andrew says:

    I feel sorry for the responsible students because I imagine colleges will look askance at grades from DISD schools.

  9. Meredith says:

    I appreciate the point she is making but the article itself is, like, lame, dude. If she wants to make a serious point, write a serious article. This article is, quite frankly, boring and ridiculous.

  10. Bananers says:

    Thank you, Meredith.

  11. Tim, I have an idea…tell Wick that your next article will be a tad too late for press, and but ask him if you can still get paid in the meantime… You’d be fired, ’cause that’s the real world. And that’s the type of values we should be instilling in our children.

    Our children are being raised to never hurt, to not ever be disappointed, to never lose. This new DISD policy is more of the same.

    Policies like this help to kill the needed success of southern Dallas, where most people can’t afford private school and therefore their kids must attend DISD.

    I am the consumer that the DISD wants back from private school. I hope to start a family soon. I need compelling reasons to entrust my future kid to this district. If the middle-class residents don’t come back to DISD, it’s toast. I want my kid to study in an environment where the competition is tough and an ‘A’ means something. And oh yeah, where on-time HOMEWORK means something too.

    Example: Say your kid works hard and gets A’s & B’s. But some other kid half-steps, turning in work late and gaming the system but both of them earn the same GPA. How is that fair?

    I want the DISD to succeed, but policies like this seems counterintuitive to any progress.

    Is it too late for this policy to be rescinded? Come on Dr. H, help us out here.

  12. Tim Rogers says:

    Michael, if I were a student in Dallas ISD next year, I’d do one homework assignment at the beginning of the year for each of my classes. I’d make sure I did them well and got a 100 on each. Then I’d continue to study and everything (because I’d still want to keep up and do well on tests), but I wouldn’t turn in any more homework, because all those zeros for missing homework would, according to policy, be tossed, since they’d only lower my perfect scores.

    Bingo, 100s on all my homework grades for every class. With minimal effort.

  13. ^ Exactly, and how many kids will try that this year? Too many, unfortunately.

  14. jrp says:

    Floyd once again proved what a clueless geriatric she is with that trite shiite…she makes no point, as usual, and calling it high-concept blows my mind, as well

    i don’t like the new policy but understand some of Dr. Hinojosa’s intent

    and an adult thinking he’ll know what today’s kids will do or pontificating about what he’d do if presented with the situation is about as pointless as pointless can get

    seriously, what’s worse that hearing some old fart tell you about what he woulda done then had he known what he knows now???

    i hated that crap when my uncles/old men did it to me when i was young and i vowed not do it to kids when i got older

    sure, a lot of kids will take advantage of the new rules, but i guess i’m naive enough to think it will only truly impact the actual grades of a limited number of students

  15. Louisa Meyer, Dallas ISD parent since 1993 says:

    While I don’t like what I’ve read about the new grading system, I’d prefer to hear it fully explained by Drs. Hinojosa and Collier without the filter of the self-appointed education experts at our failing hometown newspaper.

    I’ve heard Collier and Hinojosa speak many times about raising academic rigor. So the portrayal of the grading policy doesn’t match with what I believe they expect of and hope for all students.

    What does ring familiar is DMN launching a controversial story on Friday and piling on over the weekend while the district offices are closed.

    As for Meredith’s comment on Floyd’s piece. I agree. My greatest frustration, as a Dallas ISD supporter, is that anyone continues to take DMN seriously.

  16. Trey Garrison says:

    Kool-aid. Oh yeah.

  17. Mike Ramsey says:

    Kool-aid with Cactus Juice, perhaps? (since it is a weekend, and the district offices are closed)

    My greatest frustration, as a Dallas ISD taxpayer, is that no one at DISD continues to take academics seriously.

  18. monkey god says:

    No homework and test only, sounds like some of my college classes. The only thing different is you couldn’t take a test again if you failed it.

  19. Sophie says:

    I was just impressed that she got the word “bong” into the DMN.

  20. Roofer says:

    Thank God the bond issue passed and that $1.35 billion is safely committed. You never want to tell a mark the exact nature of a project until you get a check for the full amount cashed and in hand. Then you can sip on a quality cold drink of choice and nod sympathetically while he screams about sloppy work and cutting corners. After all, a big part of every job is helping the mark come to terms with the fact that he’s a blind, stupid fool and he always will be.

  21. DISD fmr student and Parent says:

    The graduation rates are dismal, and our future Dallas workforce is poorly prepared to be productive citizens. Perhaps Dr. Hinojosa is trying ANYTHING to improve the prospects of his students, even at the risk of making some big policy mistakes.

  22. Chris says:

    the wussification of America continues. Count me as a parent who will NEVER let their children attend a DISD school.

  23. jody says:

    Wonder if they still want people to pay their taxes in full and on time…

  24. Virgogirl says:

    This policy is a most insidious form of racism. Essentially, DISD is saying that it is willing to lower district standards to “increase” success. While DISD officials may be well-meaning, they are absolutely WRONG. All that does is make it okay to achieve at a less than an appropriate standard as well as curb the amount of angry parent phone calls and emails regarding low and missing grades. I say, if you don’t want to deal with explaining a kid’s poor performance to his/her parents and tell them how to help their kid succeed, then get out of administration. Do we really want to be a state that says that our kids are successful because we don’t ask much of them?
    Both Michael Davis’s and Tim’s comments recognize the tricky part of grading. It would be just lovely if grades could merely be a representation of what students know/understand, ie. an 85% on a paper equals 85% understanding of the concepts that paper is designed to demonstrate. Wouldn’t it be lovely if the world worked that way? Hello. It doesn’t. Grades can, should, and do reflect not only mastery of content but also scholarship– quality of work and timeliness of turning in assignments. It’s silly to pretend like grades can be some pure thing. How can teachers teach students what it means to be a strong student without teaching them quality of work and meeting deadlines? DISD is doing a monumental disservice to its students. Teachers, parents, and students should rage against this disgusting policy.

  25. Harvey Lacey says:

    Whata pond. And look at all them frogs. With one fork, where to I start?

    Maybe with the most obvious. Education as we know it doesn’t work. It really never has but there were so many other options for the poorly educated few bothered to consider what would. Someone could skate through school and still find meaningful employment and have what society would judge as a good life. Those that didn’t find that good job and decent life we carried one way or another without too much wear and tear on society in general.

    Things have changed. And it isn’t pretty. We have the Walmart concept ripping us a new one. You know the Walmart concept. Make the job where any idiot can do it. Sounds almost like education as we know it, right?

    The biggest problem with the simplifying so any idiot can do it is you end up with a job that only idiots would want to do. It’s the same thing with education. When you make it so any idiot can do it you find yourself creating idiots.

    Back to Walmarting one oh one for a minute. Why do they want to make the job any idiot can do it? How about because then they don’t have to do what management is paid to do? They don’t have to manage. Which is only fair I guess, we all know management are idiots, right?

    The same principles that fail in management as we know it fail in the education system for the very same reasons.

  26. Harvey Lacey says:

    What the heck is wrong with the word that starts with an I, ends with a T, and has latin for God in the middle?


  27. Harvey Lacey says:

    Man oh man, what I see here is eveyone screaming about her skirt being too short and no one noticing she hasn’t on underwear.

    Education as we know it is about one thing and one thing only. That’s getting kids through the school system with as little an inconvenience as possible to the adults.

    It’s not DISD that’s got a problem. The whole system is broken for gawd’s sake. Education as we know isn’t about learning, it’s about processing children for twelve years.

  28. Don says:

    As a guy who used to live in a rented house on the M Streets and in a loft in Deep Ellum, I used to dream of having my own small fixer upper I could call my own. I would fill it with a wife and a couple kids, maybe down a post-lawn mowing beer while I chatted with the neighbors. However, I could never justify sending the future offspring to DISD.

    My solution? I moved to Plano, bought a house, married, and have two kids. I felt like I owed it to my kids to actually give them a great, not simply average, education. With this new DISD policy in place, it only serves to justify my actions.

    I still enjoy the beer with neighbors, but sometimes I still pine for the days of Tipperary Inn and Tietze Park. How I wish the powers at DISD would see how people in droves are leaving due to their decisions.

  29. jody says:

    Be careful there, Virgo. You might sound like some clueless geriatric. You know – one of those idiots who helped win a world war, triple the standard of living, build the interstate highway system, land on the moon, march for civil rights, etc. I mean, heaven knows how those mouth-breathers even survived. All that business about standards and stuff. Fools. If they were only as enlightened as we. Seriously. Shoot – just look how much better we’ve done. Now excuse me. I have to go update my Facebook page, watch The Daily 10, and grab a latte. Been busy all afternoon with our soccer party at CiCi’s. Everyone got a trophy, even though the kids went 1 and 17. Isn’t that neat? But it’s late and tomorrow is a busy day. Got to get up early and see if the bank will renegotiate the loan before they foreclose. I’m sure they will. After all, what’s wrong with sending a few payments in past 30 days. The credit card people don’t seem to care. With luck I should roll into work about 10, but they won’t mind if I’m late. Everybody does it. Ciao.

  30. bleacherbum says:

    Schools already give too much homework — much more than schools did a generation ago, when most of the folks commenting on this board were in school. Be honest: do you remember spending 2-3 hours a night on homework.

  31. Harvey Lacey says:

    Doesn’t anyone remember the thrill, the high, the trip, it was when you finally got it? Pull your head out of the gutter Eric, Tim’s wants running room.

    Seriously, there’s this endorphin high that we get when we learn something that means something. That high is what makes us want to learn something else. It’s there in each one of us from about day twelve or so.

    Education should be about culture, culturing that natural high that is us.

    People wonder why kids turn to drugs and stupid stuff like television or video games. They do it for the same reasons their parents do. They’ve missed out on learning for the fun of it.

  32. jody says:

    I remember teachers giving me about an hour’s worth or work, and me needing three to do it. And the folks hovering over me every minute.

    Truth is, no system can succeed with today’s level of parental involvment.

  33. Mike Ramsey says:

    Bleacher —

    Call me crazy, but I just have this hunch that kids that are spending 2-3 hours per night on homework are not at issue here (except to the extent that their academic accomplishments are tainted by these lowered standards).

    And as Jody alluded to — few will be putting that kind of effort into their studies without engaged and involved parents.

  34. Our kids need some pressure. They need to know life isn’t fair, and you should study your behind off to make it in this world.

    Truth be told, the toughest teachers are the ones that you think about the most. I’m most grateful to a professor I had in college that gave us two tests to pass the class. Midterm, final, have a nice life. In your last semester, you were either the toast of the town or just toast. And oh yeah, Mommy & Daddy already bought plane tickets for your graduation. Pass or die.

    Maybe I’m lost here because I’m not a parent; I really need a legit reason for this.

  35. jrp says:

    “…helped win a world war, triple the standard of living, build the interstate highway system, land on the moon, march for civil rights…”

    believe me, jody, yous’ve made your point about how all of us under 40 owe everything we have to you baby boomers, but the problem is you boomers didn’t do any of that, your parents (my grandparents) did

    and so many people here talk about effin elementary/middle/high school as if it’s the end all be all of a child’s education, and that’s simply not true

    i mean, you got guys that happily drink the Kool-Aid of the suburbs each and every morning calling out those that stayed behind in the city simply because they stayed behind…but i guess it’s always easier to flee than stay and fight

    the hatred and bias so many have toward the DISD is just sad and sorry, man. so many talkers and not enough doers

  36. Chris says:

    Denise Collier has much more credibility than the DMN education writers or Jacqueline Floyd regarding improving student achievement. Can’t we, as a community, support the educational leaders who are committed to improving instruction and student achievement and not be so reactionary?

  37. Col. Sanders says:

    Floyd still uses that 1985 mug shot. She should be called out about that every day.

  38. monkey god says:

    The problem begins and ends with the parents of these students. Some of these kids have one parent or are being raised by their grandparents. Some parents see the school system as a day care. If the child is having problems at school and you try to contact a parent usually some parents never call back. If that same child is expelled from school for bad conduct, then the parent shows up instantly to complain.
    The DISD doesn’t help when some of their leaders let students cheat by illegaly changing their grades. The leader keeps their job and the teacher is let go or moved to another school.


  39. Jim says:

    Bottom line…DISD gets state money for every kid who’s butt is in the seat each day.

    Dropouts mean less $$$ for DISD.

    Hinojosa wants fewer dropouts and is willing to make school life easier to do it.

    God I wish I was back in school…no homework…take a test as many times as I like…teachers would hate me, but I’d have a good time.

  40. Susan C Nelson says:

    After reading about these ‘new grading policies’ in Friday’s paper, I was appalled. Maybe I’m in lala land, but my understanding is that an educational system should actually educate students and prepare them for a future. What kind of future will this prepare our students for? And what’s more — we’re paying for this nonsense with our tax dollars. Truly frightening!

  41. jody says:

    Oh. I misunderstood the use of the word geriatric. You meant it metaphorically, as in anyone with a semblance of old fashioned common sense. True – I’m not especially stewardship we Boomers have shown, being that we may be the most narcissistic generation in history. Think of it – since 1941, our magazine choices have shifted from Time and Life, through Look and People, and now to Us and Self. Tells you where the priorities have been. Facebook and MySpace are just their children. So it’s no surprise that second-guessing insane philosophies might smoke out a few products of those philosophies – with evident disgust for any authority or structure not his own. Bulletin – human beings aren’t much different now than they were when we tried Independent Progress in the 50’s, or Continuous Progress in the 70’s. Some students will work hard because they are hard workers. Others will play grab-ass. I put two boys through the public education system for twenty years, and attended every ARD meeting, parent-teacher conference, school function, game, or fundraiser they had. I’ve coached and volunteered through the schools. I’ve paid the taxes and watched the results – or lack of same – and have been there at the board meetings. I have another child just about to enter that system – in a district that is far from being either affluent or exemplary. And being a child of teachers, I learned early that school is just one part of an education. Thank goodness. The “bias” against DISD has been earned, thanks to a long litany of abuses, incompetence, and arrogance – and academics who think what works in theory will work in fact, and dismiss any ethic involving accountability as antiquated. Chances are they went to school on a grant or daddy’s money, because they apparently have no idea that bills come due – and banks and employers aren’t “effort based”.

  42. chandler says:

    Before i pitch an idea to management, I run through it as many times as I can. I try to see it from different angles to anticipate where people might object. The first step in this process is to explain the idea out loud to myself just to hear the words. Someone should have done that here because making school easier isn’t the answer at all.

    What is probably the answer is less complex subject matter, or new ways of presenting material. If kids aren’t doing homework then that’s a problem well outside of aptitude and not necessarily indicative of a lack of learning.

    I did as little homework as possible in high school. I had two jobs most of the time as well as other commitments outside of class. Three hours of homework a night wasn’t in the cards as far as I was concerned and my poor grades had nothing to do with not knowing the information.

    Homework has too much emphasis when you consider that it’s practice. I’ve heard that it makes perfect but once you can isolate variables, doing it 50 times for algebra class in the morning may not be the best use of time. Not counting it as part of the final grade isn’t such a terrible idea, but allowing students to retake tests without a certain amount of required practice is what makes this whole plan stand closer to negligence.

  43. jrp says:

    believe me, man, my common sense as an Irish Catholic yankee that grew up in the big city and the common sense of my wife, who was born a Southern Baptist in Dallas and grew up in the suburbs are diametrically opposed

    so that’s tricky there, and i use geriatric to simply mean outdated and behind the times, which i believe Floyd, Ragland and Blow are

    i’ve only been in Dallas three years, so i don’t have the deep-rooted and apparently valid bias many have toward the DISD, but i still feel it’s just sad to see

    also i agree with most of you points, jody

  44. ERG says:

    I am the parent of two kids in private schools. When the tuition bill comes around, my husband and I always discuss our options. In the past, we listened to people in our neighborhood describe the great things happening in DISD neighborhood schools and magnet schools. However, this policy is absurd and will hamper all DISD schools. If you learn nothing else in school, the concepts of showing up prepared and working on a deadline are two of the most important life’s lessons that will prepare you for the future. With these new policies, I am not even sure that DISD is preparing the next generation of fast food workers. Would DISD allow parents to opt out of these policies?

  45. the long-time teacher says:

    Do you know why Hino-hosedyou is doing this? He so badly wants the “Broad Award” for his portfolio (future job search) that he doesn’t mind shooting the teachers’ feet out from under them. Or making a DISD diploma worthless.

  46. the long-time teacher says:

    And allowing parents to opt out of the policy won’t work because it would require teachers to keep 2 sets of grade books with extensive “proofs” for every entry. Less and less time to teach!

  47. dazzling urbanite says:

    This policy is a result of schools and teachers being held responsible for the decision of families and students to drop out. I see all of you dog-pling on DISD for the drop out rates (especially when they affect the NCLB, AYP and TAKS rankings) but I haven’t seen you offering solutions.

    I imagine this policy (especially if it works to keep kids in school) will spread like wildfire. So, get off your high horses.

    These changes will not affect high-achieving kids who are already in competition for college and against each other for class rank.

    Don, you should have investigated your schools. M-Streets are served by the excellent Stonewall Jackson Elementary. In fact I saw a Realtor advertising a listing in “Stonewall Jackson ISD” in Sunday’s paper.

  48. DISD should be taken over by the State. The DISD Board is now planning to extend their terms to four years what a tragedy.The DISD Board does not have term limits some serve a lifetime. DISD will never win the Board Award there are to many internal problems.My last comment on DISD because its worthless and my largest property tax bill.

  49. CV Gilkeson says:

    Fools. Don’t you know that the focal point of DISD and other institutuions like it is to make sure the lives of its highly paid leadership are as easy as possible? Achieving rigor = hard. Less pressure for the kids = easy.

    Congratulations on entrusting over a Billion Dollars to these guys. Great job.

  50. jody says:

    This policy may not affect the self-motivating student in competition for a scholarship or placement, but it most decidely will affect the marginal or disaffected student who wonders why in the hell he ought to even try. It will affect the student dealing with a broken home, wondering why he or she should stick to it when his parents have decided not to. It will affect the student who needs something from without when there is nothing within – which is most of us, since we all have days when we just don’t feel like it. And most of all, it will feed that awful part of human nature that compels us to do the least we can.

    The saddest part is that there are many, many good people within DISD who get this slop dumped on them by association. Those of us who are old enough or have lived her long enough remember the catastrophies of past administrations, and administrators who opted to pad their resumes and their butts with mismanagement and largesse. The fear of failure is a powerful motivator – any 4th-grader knows that, or used to – but the staffers who concoct bilge such as this face little accountability. They simply move from this job to the next, devouring futures with their “experimentation” as locusts devour crops. High horse? You cannot raise performance by obviating excellence. Let me put it this way – would you drive a car built to the minimum safety requirements? Would you want a house that just meets code, or surpasses it? Would you prefer a surgeon who just barely got his license?

    But none of this will change. If you can’t get parents to the PTA meetings or school plays, what makes anyone think they’ll help with the homework or even have any expectations of their own? What we have created is a culture that thinks everything should be given and not earned.