CLEVELAND, Texas – There are questions, concerns and confusion at an elementary school in Cleveland over a curriculum shakeup that takes coloring away from the kids.
Parents at Southside Primary said they were told by teachers on Monday that Crayons were being removed from the classroom.
Cleveland Independent School District claims that’s not entirely true. According to a spokesperson, the school is taking away "the coloring method," but not the actual Crayons.
The district said the school needs to focus on academics to better prepare younger students. According to the district, the changes are because of low test scores at the third- and fourth-grade level.
"That’s not fair to punish the little kids because the big kids aren’t doing their studying," said mother Vanessa Marin. "My kids have difficulty learning and colors have really helped and made it worth it."
Stacey Gatlin with Cleveland ISD declined to do an interview for this story.
She said students at Southside Elementary would no longer be using coloring sheets and would only be allowed to color "when it is appropriate."
"I think it’s a blow to the kids," said grandfather Kelly Ford. "I would like to take this up with the school."
Parents claim the school did not formally tell them about any changes.
"Coloring keeps them involved, keeps them upbeat. I know my son, that’s one of his biggest things," said father Blake Satterfield.
The district said the changes were a directive from the Texas Education Agency, but the TEA denied it. They issued the following statement on Tuesday:
"At no time did the Texas Education Agency or anyone affiliated with the agency direct staff at Cleveland ISD to eliminate coloring at one of their elementary campuses. Because of their low performance, the campus has an assigned professional service provider who suggested that the campus provide more opportunities for active learning and move away from busy work unrelated to academic instruction. As the district has clarified in more recent comments, children are not banned from using crayons at the campus, and crayons will continue to be used in activities that support academics. Curriculum and instructional methodology decisions are under the authority of each local school district."