I am a current graduate student attending the University of Texas at Arlington. I am working towards receiving my Master’s degree in Social Work, and for an assignment, I am reaching out to discuss the school districts within Hays county, more specifically, located within Kyle city limits. As a case manager for a non-profit, I work in schools each and every day, and while I primarily work in Lockhart, I do have some youth that attend schools in Kyle. My reason for choosing to reach out to you is to advocate on behalf of the education system, with regard to how children are learning within Hays school districts.
School is an extremely important time for children and adolescents to figure out who they are, and what they want to become as they continue through their journey of life. Not only does it provide the key social factor, but it also provides structure and an environment where the student should feel safe and treated with respect and dignity. The importance of my specific concern after working with school districts, as well as reviewing specific statistics, it seems that laptops have become an issue with learning equality. Some children struggle to learn on a laptop, but are often forced into using one which can hinder their ability to obtain necessary knowledge. In addition, there are punishments in place for those that do not follow rules with their laptops, but alternative paper assignments are almost non-existent. These issues that have risen are not fair to children, nor to parents that want their children to obtain an education in public schools.
Looking back to the 2018-2019 school year, Hays CISD can be seen with an increased rating of ‘B’ with a higher mark as a whole in student success than the previous year according to the Texas Education Agency. Upon reviewing the 2021 school year success rates, test scores dropped tremendously. While recognizing the impact of the pandemic, I understand that virtual learning was necessary to continue educating students. The major concern is that now that school has resumed back into in-person learning for some time now, it seems that the deficits of equal opportunity learning are still not being met for each child’s needs appropriately.
Not only are there consequences and malfunctions with computers, but according to Raise Your Hand Texas, 60.6% of the entire population is economically disadvantaged. This places a higher demand on parents to have to replace a lost or stolen laptop, or invest in their own laptop for their child to continue to meet the need that the school has already unnecessarily created. This demand on lower income families may not be able to met, which is something else of concern.
Due to the nature of these concerns, upon further research, Inspire Academies has now taken a part in Hays County’s school districts. The Every Student Succeeds Act is a bill that was enacted under Barack Obama’s presidency, and the TEA reviews schools each fiscal year to understand whether this is being followed or not. According to the 2021-2022 fiscal year in Hays County, it was not followed as closely as necessary, which has brought in an additional resource to be able to assist the students of Hays CISD in achieving their academic goals.
Thank you for taking the time to read the information regarding my concern with children and adolescents in the school system. My major concern here is that there is still a deficit in learning for students attending Hays CISD schools, which prevents them from being able to move forward in their journeys. I simply want to advocate for better systems to be placed for children in schools so that there is an option of doing work virtually, rather than having to complete their work on a computer. I look forward to hearing from you and your thoughts.
Texas Education Agency. 2022. Every Student Succeeds Act.
Raise Your Hand Texas. 2023. Texas Public Education by the Numbers: 2023.
Inspire Academies. 2022. JHW Inspire Academy – Hays County, 2022-2023 Campus Improvement Plan.