Fort Bend ISD dad says kids' grades are falling due to virtual learning

FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A Fort Bend ISD father wants the district to do more to help students who are suddenly struggling in school because of the learn-from-home environment.

"To expect, for instance, two seven year olds to know exactly what to do at all times without the prompting of an adult, I think it's asking a lot," said Curtis Whittaker.

The Whittaker's have a larger family than most with eight children, including a set of twins and triplets, but they're facing the same challenges most other families do with virtual learning.

"We have kids that we're very connected to, that are motivated, they want to do well, they want to perform in school and it's just really, really challenging for them," said Whittaker.

From technology issues to home distractions and missing assignments, their older children, typically straight-A students, are facing failing grades. Whittaker says the stress is mounting for his entire family.

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"I think this has proven how much we do really rely on and need our school system, therefore we shouldn't be graded and held to the same standards," he said.

Whittaker believes the grading scale for virtual learning should reflect the new challenges of learning from home.

But Fort Bend ISD Superintendent Dr. Charles Dupre says they must still use the same rigorous grading standards, even though learning is not the same.

"Our teachers, they have worked long and hard to keep delivering the same curriculum they would have taught this time last year," said Dr. Dupre. "We've modified the curriculum for them, so it's chunked a little differently. The pacing is different. Our commitment since March is that our children are going to get the same curriculum, taught to the best of our ability in the most rigorous way possible."

The Superintendent says the district has opportunities for students to work directly with their teachers to find solutions for grade improvement. Dr. Dupre says some students may even have the chance to retake a test.

Whittaker's children will return to in-person learning as the district transitions the students who choose to go back. He says he is hopeful his children will rebound and improve their scores as this gradual return to the classroom occurs.

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First graders returned Wednesday, second graders return on Friday and the rest of the grades will return next week.

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