50° F

Saucon Valley High School credit realignment proposal nixed amid allegations of possible ulterior motives

Published On: Nov 13 2012 11:04:00 PM EST   Updated On: Nov 13 2012 11:05:10 PM EST

The Saucon Valley School District administration has withdrawn a proposal to realign the high school course credit system amid allegations of possible ulterior motives made by multiple board of education members.

The administration’s proposal, which came under heavy fire during Tuesday night’s board of education meeting, called for the creation of a “flex credit” system in which students would have more options in selecting core and elective courses, while reducing the total number of credits needed for graduation from 28 to 26.

Students during their four years of high school would have been required to take 13 credits of required content out of the 26 total credits needed for graduation. The remainder would be split among choices of other core courses and electives. Four years of English would be required and at least three years of math, science and social studies.

Different board members expressed concern that the credit realignment plan may be being pushed ahead quickly by the administration to address problems in student achievement and school scheduling.

The heavy criticism resulted in Superintendent Sandra Fellin withdrawing the proposal.
“This was just a simple request for flex credits that has gotten distorted,” Fellin said, noting that she cannot subject the administration to “assumptions of ulterior motives.”

Immediately prior to Fellin withdrawing the proposal, board members engaged in a heated discussion.

Board member Sharon Stack said she is concerned the proposal is “beyond choices for students, to address a problem.” Stack questioned whether the district is falling behind in student achievement.

“This feels very rushed and very last minute,” she said of the proposal.

Board member Lanita Lum claimed that there appears to be a “disconnect” between the administration and faculty. Lum said she saw little or no support from the faculty for the credit realignment proposal.

“I think there is a leadership and communication problem here,” she said. Lum called on the administration to meet with department heads before presenting a plan to the board for approval.

Board member Sandra Miller said, “Until someone tells me we have a problem, and no one has said we do, we don’t need to push this plan forward so quickly.”

Board member Bryan Eichfeld disagreed with eliminating civics as a course requirement. He said civics will be required in the state Keystone Exam. He noted that a civics course is critical to the school producing well-informed citizens.

Board member Ralph Puerta agreed with the administration’s proposal, noting that giving students more choices in course selection makes sense in a world where they, as adults, will most likely change careers many more times than their parents or grandparents.

Board member Edward Inghrim said he didn’t feel qualified to vote against the proposal from the administration, who he described as the experts on the matter.