Friday, April 30, 2010

Jennifer Shockley-Daniels on RRISD Issues

I had more time to visit with Jennifer Shockley-Daniels, candidate for Round Rock Independent School District Board of Trustees, Place 5, and found her a candidate worth my vote, as she has several significant ideas about education and our district.

Her platform has centered around open/honest communication between the Board, administration, and district parents and residents. Unfortunately, many parents in the community feel that the Board is not open enough, and largely rubber-stamps everything the administration desires. Shockley-Daniels advocates changing the boundary process to allow for a standardized set of data (and the formulas used to create data) to be distributed before the process, so that ALL neighborhoods will have the same access. She would also like to review each school's policies to make sure issues are properly addressed without creating unnecessary bureaucracy or new issues.

Jennifer Shockley Daniels is also concerned that our district, although stating otherwise, is not actually providing a challenging education for all students. Students at, or above grade level are not always being challenged. Students challenged at appropriate levels are good for the district as well as the students. Test scores, college readiness, etc., would be improved. Currently, RRISD does not have an accelerated learning program. In fact, our district spends half of the state average on accelerated learning.

Round Rock Independent School District Superintendent Jesus Chavez responds that the intent was for the regular classroom to be rigorous enough for all learners, and cites teacher enrichment as the answer for achieving this rigor. With the number of students per class and the various ability levels of all those students, asking teachers to also be responsible for enrichment seems a bit much, and Shockley-Daniels wants to implement plans used by other successful districts.

Finally, Jennifer Shockley-Daniels is smart and well-informed, AND a stay-at-home Mom with children in the district schools. We do not agree on every issue, but I do think she will have time and energy to focus on making the best decisions for the Round Rock Independent School District, and has an attitude of openness and honesty that will make it easy for us to work with her.

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