I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Is the Push to Graduate Students Using Compass Classroom Actually Leaving Some Student Athletes Behind?

NCAA requirements disallow the use of these classes for meeting eligibility requirements for athletic scholarships.  That is what I'm told from a concerned citizen that gives me issues of importance and typically this individual has been right.  This is something I will look into;  I'll bring this for discussion at the next board workshop.  Nobody should be forced into courses that limit the potential of any type of a scholarship---academic or athletic!

From a concerned citizen:

"This is what I know...

For several years, Escambia County(and I assume other school districts) have been using Compass classes to push kids through to graduation.  In most cases, not giving the children or parents a choice or informing them of the implication of the decisions.  However, XXXXXXX and other teachers have been trying to make them understand the problem and have just been ignored.  So the problem is two-fold.

In order to qualify for a NCAA scholarship you have to have completed 10 core classes before the beginning of your senior year.  Because Compass classes do not count toward NCAA credit (based on the fact that a student-teacher dialog is not possible), several students are now [expletive] out of luck.  They are seniors and do not have the 10 core classes because they were put in Compass classes.  There is no way to fix this from what I understand.  The school district was informed and chose not to believe their teachers and did nothing to confirm or deny the teacher's claim.

Fast forward to the current students who were held back for one semester in 8th grade and have been enrolled at XXXXXXXX this spring semester.  From what I understand, two of them are potential college athletes.  Here is their situation.  They have spent a semester taking Compass classes that will not count toward NCAA eligibility.  They have now been enrolled at XXXXXXX as a second semester freshman.  Because they cannot take most of the core classes, because they are full year classes, they have been enrolled in electives as well as a part of the Algebra 1A-1B series.  In most cases, nothing they are taking this semester will count toward the NCAA 10 Core at the end of 11.  So, now they have gone to high school 1 year and have zero core classes.  The result is that they will now have 2 years (sophomore and junior) to take 10 core classes in order to be eligible.  In the case of football

 players, they have also lost a year of high school eligibility and will only be allowed to play football 3 years -- not exactly an ideal situation if you are trying to play a college sport.

Parents should be informed of the consequences of moving their kids to high school in the midst of their "freshman" year.  Futures are being sacrificed for the district to improve their "graduate on time" percentage.  The sad part is that [neither] the students nor their parents have any idea that the school district has led them down a path of a high school diploma without the possibility of a college athletic future.  It is all a part of the district's policy to keep the parents and students in the dark so that they can do whatever they want to make themselves look better.

It seems to me, that they could have allowed these kids to take FLVS or even the XXXXXXXXX EVS classes while sitting at XXXXXXX waiting to start high school.  At least those classes would count toward NCAA eligibility. 

In the end, it’s not just athletes, some colleges, for instance Mississippi State University, has a core requirement for admission.  It is a required 15 hours in the obvious - science, English, social studies, fine arts, etc.  They use the NCAA course guidelines to determine what classes they will accept and what classes they will not.  Many colleges are going to this because it is easier than to evaluate every class from every out of state school when admitting students.  If my children had been pushed into a compass class for whatever reason (and they tried to do that with XXXXXXX when she couldn't fit XXXXXXXX in her schedule -- ended up doing FLVS), they would not have been admitted to MSU regardless of their nearly [extremely high] weighted GPA and [and extremely good score] on the ACT.

This affects me in no way.  However, I find it appalling children's futures are being decided without their or their parents input just so the school district can say that the percentage of graduating on time has improved.  If you want to improve the percentage of on-time graduation, have real counselors at the school that will guide the children from their freshman year toward their goal -- the student's goal -- whether it is to get a job, go to technical school, go to college, play college sports, or to join the military.  I believe with all my heart that the number ONE reason students fail at XXXXXX (probably other schools but I can't speak for them) is because students have no idea what they need, how to do it, or what the implications of not doing it really is.  They have NO counseling that is there for the specific and only reason of looking out for the students and nothing else.  The counselor's job should not be to make the school look better; it should be to make the students look better.  If the students are better, the school will be better by default.  It is as if the school has given up on improving student's lives and has just decided as long as they look good - that's good enough.

Off my soap box.  Unfortunately, I don't know much more specifics or even who the students are.  I do know that XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX both knew of this problem and tried to make XXXXXX understand what they were doing to the kids so it is not like they just heard about this or that it is a new thing.  I know XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX  has been screaming about this for several years.  And, I know that after years of trying to tell XXXXXXXXXXXXXX------     XXXXXXX   finally said, "Maybe we should look into this".

I also know that XXXXXXXXXXX is finally "trying to look into" their NCAA class portfolio because it is wrong.  I brought it to XXXXXXXXXXXX’s attention that it was wrong when XXXXXXXx was a XXXXXXXX. They have not properly designated the honors/AP/Dual classes as such -- therefore, the students do not get the added weight to the GPA.  With the NCAA minimum having been raised to 2.3, some kids may need those bonus points just to be eligible.  I even had the NCAA representative go to the school and talk to them -- only XXXXXXXXXXXXX, XXXXXXXX understood what he was trying to say.  XXXXXXXXXX said that they were doing it like XXXXXXXXx-- so it must be right.  The reality is that Washington High School is the ONLY school in Escambia School District that is in the NCAA course profile correctly.  Just another way they are not caring about what happens to a student after graduation."

No comments: