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EPISD Leaders Defend Practices Amidst Allegations
July 24, 2010

District leaders, students, and parents gathered at Coronado High School to respond to the allegations that Senator Eliot Shapleigh has made of the El Paso Independent School District.

Senator Shapleigh has accused the district of telling some students to stay home on standardized test days to boost the district's scores. But on Thursday, supporters of the district said this is not true.

Written by Lindsey Reiser, News Channel 9

District leaders, students, and parents gathered at Coronado High School to respond to the allegations that Senator Eliot Shapleigh has made of the El Paso Independent School District.

Senator Shapleigh has accused the district of telling some students to stay home on standardized test days to boost the district's scores. But on Thursday, supporters of the district said this is not true.

Mary lee Jurecky is the mother of two students in the El Paso Independent School District.

"We're here to celebrate our students success and to ask Senator Shapleigh to stop diminishing their success by saying they achieved it unfairly," Jurecky said. She said the allegations puts down students' accomplishments.

"I think that it's odd that Senator Shapleigh would question some of these test results when they've already been audited by the Texas Education Agency," Jurecky said.

"Senator, you're hurting our kids, you're hurting our education, you're hurting our community," Superintendent Dr. Lorenzo Garcia said on the stage of Coronado High School. "There's a state law that says 95 percent of the kids have to take the test, and we're there."

But Senator Shapleigh has called for a federal investigation of the district's practices. Principals of the accused high schools also stepped up Thursday to defend their ethics.

"These students work and they work hard," Dr. John Tanner, principal of Austin high School, said. "These faculty and staff they work and they work hard."

"This has not been accomplished by the cheating and corruption that have been alleged by Senator Shapleigh," said Marielo Morales, principal of Coronado High School.

Jurecky said she hasn't shared the back and forth between the district and the senator with her children because she does not want them to feel discouraged.

"I'm not sure why he would make these allegations because it really hurts the students more than anyone else," Jurecky said.

Dr. Garcia's contract was just unanimously extended by the board of trustees to three years. The senator will be holding his own press conference on Friday to tell his side of the story.


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