Parents and students at Española Valley High School are voicing their frustrations with an online education program that many freshmen failed this past semester.
Freshmen at the High School had to take the program, called Edgenuity, for their English class after administrators were unable to fill the vacancy for that position.
Ashley Osegueda, a freshman at the High School, said the program consisted of different videos and assignments students had to complete.
However, students faced many hurdles to completing all of the requirements on time, she said.
“Sometimes some of the computers won’t work,” she said. “One day the WiFi didn’t work at all, so no one could use the internet.”
Osegueda said technological issues were common, usually happening two to three times per week, making it difficult for her to finish assignments.
When she could not complete her work at school, Osegueda would work on her assignments at home. Edgenuity, though, would only let her complete about 5 percent of her assignments at one time.
“You couldn’t really catch up if you were behind,” she said.
Osegueda’s mother, Jennifer, said it is not entirely the school’s fault that her daughter failed the course.
“I’m not fully blaming the school as I do hold her responsible as a student,” Jennifer Osegueda said.
However, she said she was disappointed in the lack of notification she received from school officials about her daughter’s progress.
“There was nothing ever sent,” she said. “I never got a call, so I think the ball was dropped.”
Due to a high number of teacher vacancies and lack of substitutes, students have reported spending class time in the cafeteria or library. Ashley Osegueda said her Edgenuity class, which was overseen by a longterm substitute, often had to go the cafeteria.
“It happened for a full week one time,” she said.
Having to go to the cafeteria or library for class put her behind, she said, because it limited her access to computers.
As a result of failing the course, she is no longer eligible to play softball this year. She received A’s and B’s in her other courses.
Osegueda was not the only student to fail the Edgenuity course. She said only a couple students in her 20-person class actually passed.
High School Freshmen Counselor Stephanie Garduño said “approximately 80 percent” of students in the class failed.
“If the fail rate is so high, then something needs to be looked at,” Jennifer Osegueda said.
Therisa Salazar, whose daughter is also a freshman and failed the Edgenuity course, said her daughter is no longer allowed to attend the New Mexico Association of Student Councils conference in Albuquerque.
“She was pumped and excited that she was able to attend and worked hard on a banner that will be shown at the student council in a couple of weeks,” Salazar wrote in an email.
Edgenuity has become a common method to fill vacant teacher positions across the country. A February 2019 article from the Hechinger Report found students in Mississippi who used the program saw their grades decline and that Edgenuity was heavily prone to cheating.
When asked in November if she thought Edgenuity was an effective program, High School Principal Victoria Gonzales said students were responsible for their success in the classroom.
“It comes down to whether or not the kid wants to learn,” she said at the time.
When the Rio Grande SUN requested an interview with Gonzales, she said she would be discussing Edgenuity before the Española School Board during its Jan. 15 meeting.
Gonzales said in November that the High School will have a full-time teacher in the English class this semester.
Jennifer Osegueda said she is interested to see how students fair this semester without Edgenuity.
“I would like to see how many students pass it,” she said.