Fort Bend ISD parents, former students upset over agriculture class cuts

FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas – Some Fort Bend ISD parents and former students are disappointed after learning the district plans to cut some of its agriculture classes in the 2017/2018 school year.

Alex Jurica is a former agriculture student at Ridge Point High School who is now studying animal sciences at Texas A&M University.

“I want to be a large-animal vet,” Jurica said.

It is a career dream she says she never would have fostered if it not for her agriculture education at Fort Bend ISD.

“Those agricultural-based classes teach you where meat comes from, where your food comes from,” Jurica said. “They prepare you to get a job and be professional.”

The district plans on cutting its Agriculture Facilities Design and Fabrication course, as well as its Wildlife and Fisheries course.

Kimberly Hinojosa has a junior agriculture student at Ridge Point High School and another daughter in middle school.

“It’s very frustrating because I have another child coming up on the program,” Hinojosa said. “She will be limited to what she can take through agriculture.”

Fort Bend ISD Spokesperson Nancy Porter sent Channel 2 the following explanation for the cuts:

“Fort Bend ISD is committed to preparing students for success, whether they enter college or the workforce. With that in mind, Career and Technical Education provides challenging career pathways using real world practices, allowing students to acquire knowledge, technical skills, and the opportunity to earn industry certification. Fort Bend ISD currently offers 15 programs of study in areas such as Architecture, Agriculture, Health Science, Business and Industry, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Culinary Arts, and Information Technology.

"Due to the changes in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and course descriptions that go into effect next year, Fort Bend ISD will be implementing new curriculum in CTE courses throughout the District. Over the last year, the District has reviewed all CTE course curriculum and enrollment to ensure equitable opportunities for students at each of Fort Bend ISD’s 11 high schools for students to gain in-depth knowledge and certifications in all 15 areas of study. In order to ensure that all pathways are available at each campus, the District took a comprehensive look at historical data on course enrollment and made strategic decisions about future course offerings.

"These sequences offered in CTE include courses that build on one another within the pathway, ensuring students have access to rigor and are prepared to secure industry certification. For example, students interested in Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources will be complete a sequence of courses in all areas of the industry such as animal science, plant science, and agriculture mechanics… so successful completion will leave them better prepared for future postsecondary education or the workplace. In reviewing courses, the opportunities for advanced certification or marketable employment via the Wildlife course are not as readily present.

"While not all current classes will be offered in 17-18, students who are interested in coursework such as Agriculture Facilities Design and Fabrication, will still have an opportunity for advanced coursework and additional certification through the District’s construction or welding program.

Throughout the process, opportunities for all students has been the primary consideration.”

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