There were no emotional pleas from former employees at Tuesday’s Pasco County School Board meeting, something that had become common in the months leading up to the primary election.
But there are “issues on the horizon” that need to be addressed quickly, United School Employees of Pasco president Lynne Webb said.
Some teachers who did not attend voluntary summer meetings did not receive teacher’s editions of course textbooks, instead they were given access to the online version.
Teachers' contracts stipulate that “the board shall provide when available from the publisher a teachers edition for every course he/she is teaching, Webb said.
“Right now this is not happening.”
Webb also shared with the board and media a letter sent home Monday by an unnamed Pasco school that “circumvents district policies.”
The letter outlines an “implementation of common grading practices” for students taking Algebra I, geometry, biology and U.S. history—a school policy she said was designed during voluntary committee meetings held during the summer.
Not all teachers were able to attend those meetings to give their input, she said.
The policy dictates how teachers will administer assessments and weight grades, something that’s typically left up to individual teachers to decide, Webb said.
The letter also states “all summative assessments can be retaken for full credit earned as many times as necessary.”
“I completely object to this,” Webb said.
Teachers have always had the right to determine policy for late work and how they are going to weight assessments, she said.
Teachers were told that if they did not want to “go along with it,” that they would have to write on the letter to parents indicating that they would not be following the school’s grading policy; an uncomfortable position to put teachers in, she said.
The values assigned to assessment scores also create a problem, she said.
A student who scores between a zero and 49 percent receives a grade of 40 percent.
So if a student writes his or her name on the paper and does nothing else, she or she gets a 40 percent. “This is grade inflation at its worst,” Webb said.
When asked by media, Webb declined to name the school(s) that sent the letters home.
“It seems like it is in conflict with the policies we already have,” board chairwoman Joanne Hurley said.
“To me, this is a contradiction” to the student progression plan, Steve Luikart said.
Telling students they can take something as many times as they want puts a hit on the district’s budget, board member Howard Altman said.
“At what point do they get to participate financially in their lack of attention and effort?” Altman said.
Superintendent Heather Fiorentino said it was her first time seeing the letter, and that her office would look into it.
The board later approved the district's 2012-13 student progression plan which outlines the district's standards for student progress. The plan is updated annually; updates can be accessed here.