Magnolia Student Defends School

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Students Tweeting During ClassFollowing is a comment in reference to an article written by me, Janice VanCleave. Here is a link to the article: Magnolia ISD Exploits Students

I will add my comments in red. Janice

Wow. There are so many things that I want to defend and address in regards to the claims of this article. First, is this not written as a simple Ginger Russell PR boost? And on top of that, by her mother? There is no way that this isn’t biased, and it sure isn’t addreMagnolia Student Sends Threatening Tweetsssing the whole and complete truth. Let me tell you why.

Yes, I am Ginger Russell’s mother. Yes, I am biased in thinking that Ginger knows more about the Vision Learning Reformation that has been implemented in Magnolia ISD.  Ginger and I as well as others have spent more than two years investigating instruction material and programs that support common core. CSCOPE, now called TEKS Resource System, is sold by Region 6 and other ESCs in Texas along with TASA’s Vision Learning Reformation are more open about implementing common core in Texas schools. Yes, Magnolia ISD is using common core materials.

Magnolia ISD signed a pledge that includes this goal:

The tweets shown are good examples of having no controls are setting no boundaries for student use of the internet.

1. Students tweeting these things in class isn’t a harmful thing. Additionally, it’s not an everyday thing either. Looking towards the actual CAUSE of these tweets it is apparent that it is Ginger. The article even shows her EXTREMELY disrespectful tweet about how MHS students aren’t really valuable, complete, and loved.

Students go to school to learn. They can tweet after school. The school principal said that students were not tweeting during class, instead they tweet during free time at school. You are telling me that students do use class time to tweet.

Leslie Sullivan's Tweet
Ginger’s tweet was in response to a statement made by the high school principal. Tweets are short blurps and are easily misinterpreted, which Leslie Sullivan did. The principal stated: Every student is valuable, complete and Loved. Ginger replied: That is a pretty Bold Statement to make! That isn’t what I hear. Ms. Sullivan replied: Ginger Russell doesn’t seem to think much of Magnolia High School. Ms. Sullivan purposely ignited a fire that has really spread. Read Ginger’s statement and identify which part indicates that she doesn’t think much of Magnolia High School? Has Ms. Sullivan misrepresented Ginger? What about “This isn’t what I hear.” indicates Ginger doesn’t think much of Magnolia High School? 

Your comment indicates that you think for yourself. The worst interpretation of Ginger’s comment is that she might be thinking the principal doesn’t think every MISD student is valuable, complete, and loved. But even this is crystal balling what Ginger thinks. I see nothing that says Ginger doesn’t like MISD. What do you think?

Ginger knows that Magnolia ISD is deceiving students, parents, and the community about the STAAR scores. Magnolia HS even has big letters on the building bragging about being one of the best schools in Texas. But sadly the passing scores on the STAAR test in 2013 are nothing to brag about. The chart shows that 99% of Magnolia HS students only had to make 38 to pass the Algebra II STAAR test. These kids could even use a calculator that they learned how to put the numbers in and the calculator solved the problem. Could these students solve the problem without this calculator? In other words, do students taking Algebra II really understand the math or have they just been taught how to punch in numbers? I’ve tutored Algebra students at other schools and found they have very little understanding of algebra. They cannot work the problems without the calculator.

Students taking chemistry only had to make a 38 on the Chemistry STAAR test. I evaluated the STAAR Chemistry test and it is not difficult. Did you take the STAAR Chemistry test? Magnolia administrators announce that 92% of the chemistry students passed the STAAR. They fail to inform parents that 38 was a passing grade on this test.

Ginger cares more for the quality of the education of Magnolia ISD Students than the scores they make on STAAR tests. This is because she knows the STAAR tests are not fair evaluations of student knowledge. Ginger knows the STAAR Scores deceive parents. Ginger knows that the MISD tests given using Eduphoria are not all aligned with the TEKS and that some Eduphoria questions are incorrect. Ginger knows that Eduphoria is a managing system that collects and shares information about students.

Minimum High School STAAR Scores1

These tweets are to show that the school has united together now more than ever to show this woman that her offensive and ignorant comment will not go unnoticed. You can’t just say things like that when you are in a campaign and expect nothing to happen. Magnolia High School, which I am proud to say I am a student of, is the most welcoming environment you will ever walk into.

If Ginger wants to challenge that, she’s gonna get a fight. And by all means, screenshot this and use it for Ginger’s PR boost claiming that kids are harassing her. I’ll take the hit.

Keep in mind that the subtitle above this says “Speak Your Mind”. I’m defending my school, ma’am, a school that does not uphold the unwelcoming and intolerant ideals that Ginger represents.

In fact, I would love to hear how Ginger feels about people who don’t believe what she believes, such as political and religious views.

Please ask her to respond to me when she gets a chance – I understand she is your daughter.
2. Ginger keeps claiming that she is not at a disadvantage not being on the school board, and I agree. The disadvantage is that she isn’t involved. If she was involved in the school, she would know that our parents are completely capable of accessing all of our materials and our teachers are open for conferences at least once a week.

Additionally, we do still use textbooks and there is an entire day sat aside at the beginning of the year for parents to be able to go and check out the books with their kids.

Please get your facts straight before you post abusive articles about my high school. Another fact that you have distorted in the most disgusting and manipulative way possible is the fact that we have free-range Internet. NO. We have uneducational and irrelevant websites blocked so that students can not access them. You have written this article with absolutely no knowledge of Magnolia High School and it is so incredibly disrespectful. If you are unsure of the truth of it next time you write a hateful article about us, I urge you to email me to ask for verification.

You can count on my doing that. In fact, I will send you an email ASAP with questions that I have about your school. I prefer to have your parents permission to correspond with you via email. 

3. Another request. Don’t write another article saying that we don’t achieve anything and are all focused on social media until you realize our successes.

We had a UIL competition yesterday and have a plethora of students going to state, and even more that helped MHS get those points.

We have an incredible academic team, sports team, theater, debate team, choir, band, and countless other organizations that do more work in our community than Ginger Russell has thus far. You wanna talk about future leaders? Magnolia High School is where it starts.

I am duly impressed. You have definitely convinced me that the students at Magnolia H.S. will be our future leaders. Know that you and other Magnolia Students deserve the best!!! My article has allowed me to meet you. While I do not know the Magnolia HS student personally, I am very familiar with the Vision Learning Transforming program that has been implemented in your school district. There will be subtle changes that students will not be aware of. But, like the deceiving scores on the STAAR tests, Common core via Vision Learning Transformation has been implemented in your school. Common Core’s objective is to influence how students think. Common core’s objectives are to encourage students to question their education as well as the moral and religious standards of parents, church, etc… You are smart. Start evaluating what you are being taught.

4. Bullying Ginger. Let’s see. There were several witnesses of her running after a woman screaming at her that she was going to ruin her business.

Were you one of these witnesses? Is the person Ginger is said to be running after and screaming at Leslie Sullivan, the lady who also said that Ginger doesn’t like MISD? FYI: Ginger had a knee replacement a few weeks ago, so she hasn’t been doing much running. Check out the source of this info before spreading it any further.  What does this have to do with the student sending the tweet showing Ginger being attacked? What does this have to do with the tweet calling Ginger out?

There were several reports of Ginger addressing children and teenagers on Twitter and telling them that they were wrong for supporting Kristi Baker. Find these tweets and make a copy. Also, if Ginger corresponded with a child or teen via a tweet, could she identify the person’s age? What is the source of this information? You said there are several reports–please send information to confirm this. What would be the point of Ginger telling children not to support Kristi? Does this explain or excuse the boy sending Ginger a threatening tweet?

A personal experience of mine was seeing her parked in the fire lane at El Chaparro, doing something ILLEGAL instead of parking in a normal spot for the selfish reason of promoting herself. Let’s be more scientific about observations. Parking in a fire lane at a restaurant is certainly not good. But your opinion of the reason for this is just that–an opinion. It appears that you have formed an opinion of Ginger Russell based on others opinions and rumors. The next time you see Ginger stop her and talk with her. In fact, she will be at the Magnolia Fire Station where early voting is taking place Mon, Tues. and the actual voting date on Sat. May 10. Go by and talk with her.

Again, what does this have to do with the boy sending the threatening tweet.

Lastly, the way she treated my principal, someone whom she should be RESPECTFUL towards. She accused and claimed instead of asking and listening.

Were you present during any conversation between the principal and Ginger Russell? There has been a lot of accusing and claiming during this campaign for school board. Even if Ginger doesn’t win a position on the school board, she will continue to inform the Magnolia community of problems that she discovered that negatively affect the education of MISD students. 

We are a family at Magnolia High School. But we’re only willing to accept you if you don’t treat us as less than we are. That is how Ginger Russell is treating us, especially by having you write this article. It is hateful and ridiculous.

Ginger and I support your team spirit, but we are more concerned about the quality of your education. We have discovered that the Texas State Education Agency is not providing the truth about the STAAR/EOC scores and that some of the STAAR test have errors that TEA will not acknowledge. This is not information that school administrators want broadcast. It is not information that realtors want known. People are attracted to specific areas because of good schools. Think about the future of the school that you love if passing scores on the STAAR tests are low, students do not have to learn much to pass. You think it is ok to tweet during a class. You think it is ok for the tweets to be sent to Ginger because you were told that she doesn’t like Magnolia HS. Ginger never said she didn’t like your school. Instead she questions whether students are loved and valued when the school has implemented a program that doesn’t value traditional education–learning  facts then using them to solve problems.

Please read the article again. I’ve revised it in response to your comment. Here is a link to the article: Magnolia ISD Exploits Students

My concerns about the programs implemented in your school are based on facts. My concerns about the school administration not being transparent is confirmed by their not telling parents that  passing grades on the STAAR tests are very low. While Magnolia ISD scored as well or better than the state average, this is nothing to brag about if the passing scores are 60 or less.

Please feel free to contact and reply, I would love to hear what you have to say.

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  1. Amanda says:

    Are you really nitpicking the meaning of “valuable, complete, and loved”? Obviously the “complete” doesn’t mean we have nothing left to learn, it means that we are in a place that can make us wholly feel like ourselves. The fact that Ginger’s supporters have to take everything out of context to be “correct” just shows how much you don’t know about the situation. I ask of you to please, PLEASE understand that MHS is not a struggling school. I urge you to keep up with our academic successes and the prestigious colleges that MHS students are admitted into. We are prepared for life, and that’s what high school is about. I know that in this election arguing has just made everything worse, but we care about Magnolia High School. And we want people to appreciate what a success we are.

    No I don’t know everything. But I am complete because I have everything here I need to prepare myself for MORE learning and MORE experiences.

  2. B Self says:

    Should I write an article myself, then? I am not Ginger’s mother, nor have I ever met her, but I am just as offended. To argue that the tweets here are not cyberbullying, or that they are in any way acceptable behavior, in or out of a classroom, is simply wrong. I have never been to Magnolia ISD, so I have no idea how loved or valued the students are. I hope it is exactly as they say – all students should feel valued and loved. To say that any student, or even faculty or administrator is complete, is very questionable. If you are complete, what purpose does the school serve? I would be very disappointed to know that I am complete – I still have a lot to learn.

  3. Michelle Jonika says:

    I love how you twisted all your counter arguments back to your political agenda and PR boost for your daughter. First of all, you might want to take a visit to our school before you assume students knowledge level, use of cell phones in the classroom or underestimate the knowledge we have in a core subject area. I would like to begin by saying that I am 18 and can definitely speak for myself and think for myself. At no time has any teacher’s comments or tweets influenced my voting decision. You see, I’m 18 and attending Magnolia High School and having taken government, I do have the knowledge and ability to think for myself. If I want to vote for Kristi Baker, a teacher or hashtag on twitter is not going to be the reason. It’s going to be because I researched the candidates and made my own informed decision. Also, cell phones are used in the classroom, but not in the context you are trying to argue against. Cell phones are allowed to be used during the school day-during free time we are allowed to use them recreationally, but not unless the school has approved the use of that website. During class we use them only in the capacity of educational purposes and never when a teacher is lecturing. The teachers also have the discretion to not allow them at all in their classroom which many do; if not they only allow them to look up information that is not contained in the textbook. Also, before you assume the students knowledge on a subject such as Algebra 2 maybe you should sit in on a class and see for yourself. The truth of the matter is you’re assuming that kids don’t know more than expected, but you have no proof, you’re merely speculating. I am an aide for an Algebra 2 class and many of those kids have exceeded mastering all the Algebra 2 concepts and can appropriately do so with and without the use of a calculator. Many of the teachers who teach math do not let kids use calculators when it is not necessary. Second, I am attending Texas A&M University next year, so I believe that obviously Magnolia High School’s education is good enough to get me to top tier school in the nation. We have excelled and been district winners in academics in districts many times in the last 10 years and are well-respected by other schools in the district for having great academic excellence. Just because we use a different curriculum than you believe doesn’t mean that it’s wrong or not working because as you can see it simply just is. No one is lying about our academic excellence it is seen and revered by others, and that’s proof enough. What you can’t prove is that students don’t have a mastery of subject areas. Third, my friend did file a voter intimidation claim against Mrs. Russell when she was present at the fire station for voting, so why would anyone want to visit and talk to her there. She will just try to intimidate them into voting for her. Fourth, yes one person did take it to far. ONE PERSON. The bulldog fighting picture was inappropriate. So, what’s wrong with the other 100 completely appropriate tweets standing up against Mrs. Russell bullying our principal and school-and yes, we consider that tweet bullying. While you say that that tweet could be interpreted different ways, every way you can think of it was bullying. Mrs. Russell, without knowledge of having visited Magnolia High School opened her mouth and stated gossip. Pure gossip. She heard someone else say that we are not “valuable, complete, and loved.” That is where the ignorance began and it got escalated from there. Is Mrs. Russell not old enough to know that arguing should not be done via twitter or not have the understanding that repeating gossip is pure ignorance. Based off this ignorant statement she stated, yes students did feel the need to defend their school and principal, and the principles our school exhibits. This is not bullying, but sticking up for the true bully: Ginger Russell. Next, don’t be concerned for my education because to date, I believe Magnolia ISD has given me and other students a great education and they will attest to that. Your daughter sadly went about getting people to vote for her the wrong way. She’s running for school board and not only is her grammar horrible on her twitter and campaign website-which is simply ironic since she’s stating we’re the UNEDUCATED ones- but she insulted and ridiculed a school that she wishes to be representing. She should have visited the school before ever opening her mouth, and never spoken on gossip of another individual because look how it turned out. Lastly, these articles you have bee posting are so biased and people notice things like that. Magnolia High School students can notice things like that even though we’re “uneducated.” So, don’t think for a second you actually bringing awareness to any problem. What you’re really doing is bringing awareness to the fact that you and your daughter are as immature as high school teenagers even stooping below our level to bully us and call us “uneducated.” Thank you for you “consideration and concern,” but I think I’ll take my wonderful education and loving school family over your wretched vision of a school system any day. Maybe next time before your daughter opens her mouth on twitter she should become educated on the subject matter-it would have prevented this whole ordeal. Also, I will be voting for Kristi Baker, and that decision I came to on my own with no influence from others or teachers from my school. Just the simple fact that your daughter acted like giant 5 year old and I don’t want someone like that representing my cities school board. She needs to learn how to properly assert her opinions to others and grow up. You and your daughter need to understand that I and others can come to our own voting conclusions by ourselves because the wonderful education we’ve gotten at THE Magnolia High School where everyday when I walk through the doors I feel valuable, complete and loved, and have the best principal in the state of Texas.