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School woes not your fault Govenor Perry?

Posted by Texas Education on March 10, 2011

Rick Perry In case you didn’t know, the reason
Guv Dude isn’t ponying up any dollars for education, isn’t because there isn’t any money, it’s because the Republican Party doesn’t want to FUND public education. Plain and simple! Doesn’t matter if in one breath he is saying we need to create jobs in Texas, and then out of the other we are laying off upwards of 100,000 teachers  in the next two years. That is not his FAULT! At least, that’s his story and he’s sticking to it! See today’s chonicle article! “…the state’s not to blame if teachers lose their jobs…”

I guess there was a reason I came to Texas, I hear stories all the time where someone says they knew from the time they were little they were going to be a teacher. I will admit, I am not one of those people. I subbed at my kids’ schools, and gradually knew I could do that. And I did, even my dh said one day to me after I had finished some tests (and passed I might add) “I didn’t think you could do it!” And frankly, you would think I would have been a bit upset by that, but, I didn’t think I could do it either! So there! But, I have become an education activist in Texas, and then went on to get five certifications and I’m certified to teach Teen Leadership!

I tried last November to get my friends (most are teachers and most vote Republican, why I don’t honestly know) but, alas, you voted this moron (oh forgive me for the words I use.) But, I call a spade a spade, and this is what we have to deal with. Now, maybe you will vote in representatives that are on your side. Why can’t I, and others, get it through peoples heads the Republicans are not for the people, they don’t want their tax dollars, hell, they don’t want their money funding your kids’ education! That’s the attitude they’ve got.

This is their beliefs: “Dominionists believe the federal government should recede into the background. This would be achieved through massive tax cuts. Then the Church would assume responsibliltly for welfare and education. Tax cuts, Faith-based initiatives and school vouchers are the cornerstone of Bush administration domestic policies and recommended in the Texas GOP Platform. These policies are putting the U.S. on the path toward becoming what the Platform calls a “Christian” nation.” So, unless you are religious, you are SOL when it comes to your child’s education, in their books, anyway.

Is this what we need? (I don’t really want the fight, but they asked for it.) The Republicans can not do this, and the public roll over and take it, whether they are Democrats or Republicans, the parents! I just wish they would have seen this coming (like we did) and voted for Bill White. He would not have let this happen, I guarantee it! He would not have turned his back on the people of Texas like this!

source: http://www.theocracywatch.org/texas_gop.htm

Posted in In-the-news, leadership, learning, say what???, teachers, teen leadership, texas education, Texas schools, Texas State Legislature, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Wow, I can’t believe I’m here!

Posted by Texas Education on October 22, 2009

I was researching some data for facebook. Yep, I do facebook now, not so much on the twittering, and I haven’t done much on my blogs. I do miss it a bit, but I just don’t have the time or the energy much anymore. But, since I was rummaging around the old barn, I thought I would strike up the old pen (well keyboard) and put a few syllables here. Haven’t been keeping up much with the legislative stuff, nor the Humble ISD information. Just doing more plain old political things now…oh, and teaching (subbing)! Oh, how I long for a classroom! It pains me so to walk into a classroom and KNOW I could be doing a better job. Oh, but I digress! Looks like I need a new hobby. Any ideas?????

Posted in good stuff - not so much, say what???, this and that | Leave a Comment »

Legislative session finished…for now!

Posted by Texas Education on June 4, 2009

Yes, yes you don’t have to tell me I have been lax in updating my blog! Just haven’t been up to it much. I guess I get tired of always being the bearer of bad news, pretty much anyway. I know I’m the one who chose to blog about texaseduation! So, I need to man up, as they say, or is it womanup? I’ve been twittering more, much more fun! Seems to be my niche also! Well, here is the poop and nothin’ but the poop!

A compromise school finance bill was passed (HB 3646), and it now awaits the Governor’s signature. The main components of this “school finance reform bill are:

Directs $1.9 billion of new money into public schools – this has been consistent with all versions of this bill.

Increases the basic allotment, guaranteed yield, and equalized wealth level, putting districts with low revenue targets back onto formula funding – we know enough now to determine that this provision only impacts the lowest WADA districts (about 350) districts in the state. We, (Humble ISD) along with about 70% of the districts in the state remain on a new total target revenue system, now frozen at the 2009 level of revenue.

Provides every district a minimum $120 per Weighted Average Daily Attendance (WADA) increase – this is the amount of new state funding we will receive, and it means an approximately $4 million increase for us in each of the next two years.

Provides an across-the-board educator pay raise of the greater of $800/year or each educator’s share of $60/WADA for the district and includes speech-pathologists in the educator pay raise – the $60/WADA here is how our teacher salary increases for next year will need to be calculated. So effectively, our “new additional funding from the state” for operating budget is actually $2 million in each of the next years!

Establishes a permanent “roll-forward” for the Existing Debt Allotment (EDA) program – this is a very good thing, but there was no increase in EDA funding.
Establishes a new program to guarantee bonds for new school construction – this will hopefully be very helpful to us as we begin to sell Bond 2008 bonds and pursue Bond 2008 needed projects.

Provides an additional $50 career/tech allotment for students in sequences leading to certification, and provides for funding of certification exam fees – we will realize some additional dollars here.

Provides funding for credit recovery classes for students – this too will get us a few more dollars.

So where are we with this now passed “school finance reform” legislation? W e are left with a system that did not improve our equity lot relative to WADA funding, and we will continue to have to confront deficit operating budgets over the next two years. So especially now, THANK YOU Humble ISD Community for passing the tax rate election this past year! That at least will keep us solvent through the next legislative session.

Humble ISD is  also now working with their legal counsel, as they assess whether or not to file suit against the state.

The legislature also passed a compromise Accountability bill. Unfortunately, it is going to take a few weeks to really decipher and understand how the new system will work, but it is very unfortunate, that this new legislation does not even come close to resembling what the Select Committee on Accountability recommended after a year of public hearings throughout the state!

Posted in accountability, financing, funding, good stuff - not quite, texas education, Texas schools, Texas State Legislature | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

WADA gap widens under HB 3646

Posted by Texas Education on May 20, 2009

If we didn’t have enough problems with funding, HB 3646 by Rep. Scott Hochberg, well, suffice it to say that under HB 3646 Humble ISD will receive a $100 per WADA increase. Katy ISD, which already receives approximately $300 more per WADA than we do, will receive an additional $272 per WADA under HB 3646! Looks like the equity gap widens to me! And Sheldon ISD which already receives about $1,100 more per WADA than we do, will receive the same $100 per WADA increase as we do under HB 3646.

Also under HB 3646 is a $1.9 billion school finance reform package that purports to improve funding equity among districts and provides a $800 across the board salary increase for teachers. However for us, is much too little by way of needed relief for the next biennium and it is far from equitable!

HB 3646 will provide between $4 – $5 million in new money to our district in each year of the biennium and nearly half of those funds would have to be used to fund the $800 salary increase to teachers! Now there is no debating that teachers not only need and deserve a salary increase of way more than $800, BUT here we go again with the Legislature giving with the right hand and taking some back with the left hand trick! Having cut $27 million from our operating budget since 2002 and being frozen at the 2005-06 total operating revenue level, we need much more than $4 – $5 million annually from the state to even get close to where we were in 2004-05!

Our only hope for getting the right thing done in Austin now lies with Lt. Gov. Dewhurst and the Senate. Whether the Senate Education Committee advances Sen. Van de Putte’s SB 982 or Sen. Shapiro’s SB 2392, we need them to right the wrongs of HB 3646!

PLEASE contact the members of the Senate Education Committee and urge them to truly address adequacy and equity in funding to our schools. For me, it is not a threat, it is just a statement of fact, the only outcome of HB 3646 for us is heading back to court.

Sen. Florence Shapiro, Chair
Sen. Dan Patrick, Vice Chair
Sen. Tommy Williams
Sen. Leticia Van de Putte
Sen. Royce West
Sen. Mario Gallegos
Sen. Steve Ogden
Sen. Wendy Davis
Sen. Kip Averitt

Posted in financing, funding, good stuff - not quite, texas education | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Maplebrook is clear to reopen Wednesday May 6, 2009

Posted by Texas Education on May 5, 2009

Officials have cleared Maplebrook Elementary (Humble ISD) to reopen to teachers and students on Wednesday, May 6, 2009. All staff and students should report to school as usual.

Posted in bizzare, H1N1 virus, learning, say what???, swine flu, teachers, Texas Children, texas education, Texas schools, uncanny | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Jim Parsons resigns

Posted by Texas Education on May 4, 2009

When it rains, I guess, it pours!! Something from Jim Parsons Executive Director for Accountability. Here is some info for you:

A email just doesn’t seem enough, but it’s about the only way I have right now of sharing some news with you.   I have resigned from Humble ISD, effective June 30.  I start a new job at the University of Texas at Dallas the next day.

I have accepted the position of Assistant Director of the Texas Schools Project and the UT-Dallas Education Research Center.  My responsibilities will include expanding the Education Research Center data warehouse, strengthening and expanding research and data sharing relationships with Texas schools districts, managing data standardization and documentation, and directing the evaluation unit of the TSP.

As you may imagine, this is a dream job for me.  I’ll have an unbelievable huge set of TinkerToys, and quite a few researchers in Dallas and around the country to join me in playing with them.

1. I will miss you.

2. Remember that I-45 runs both ways!  We’ll still be involved in Texas public schools, and we’ll certainly keep in touch with our friends in Humble.

I hope to have the chance to visit between now and the end of June.  I look forward to seeing you before we head our various directions.

Thank you all for the experiences we have shared over the years.  You have all given me so much.

All the best.

jp
Jim Parsons
Executive Director for Accountability
Humble Independent School District
20200 Eastway Village Dr
Humble, Texas 77338

Good luck my friend, you will be missed!

Posted in accountability, FYI | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Texans Care for Children

Posted by Texas Education on May 4, 2009

Don’t know how I got on this mailing list, but I’m pleased. Check out a new organization to follow, belong to, support:

tcfc

Bill to Give New Parents a “Baby-Owner’s Manual” Set to Pass Legislature

How-to book every new parent needs available now, too—just in time for Mother’s Day

AUSTIN – Parents mystified by a new baby’s cries, habits or cues often ask, “What is this child trying to tell me?” Now, as Mother’s Day approaches, the Senate is poised to pass legislation already approved in the House that would give many Texas parents an answer to that question in a booklet one lawmaker nicknamed “the baby owner’s manual” because it provides essential child-rearing tips for any parent of a young child. Texans Care For Children’s publication, A Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy Children, served as inspiration for HB 1240 (Villarreal), which would provide new and expectant parents with a publication containing basic information about effective parenting, available family resources and important facts about child health and development.

“Mother’s Day is a great time to remember that there’s no more important job in Texas than being a good parent,” said Eileen Garcia-Matthews, executive director of Texans Care For Children, a nonprofit child advocacy organization. “This guide aims to empower the people who do that vital work with tools for success.”

According to recent research, parent education can bring enormous benefits for children. The New York University Child Study Center has demonstrated lower levels of child stress and aggression, reduced childhood obesity and higher standardized test scores in at-risk children whose caregivers learned parenting techniques early in their children’s lives.

In Texas, demand for parent information runs high. When earlier this year, the state Health and Human Services Commission partnered with Texans Care For Children to make hundreds of thousands of copies of A Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy Children available in English and Spanish, the publication sold out in a matter of weeks. Co-authored by dozens of state experts in child health and development, the 35-page publication offers parents advice from their child’s perspective and uses a wall-hanging calendar format to guide parents through each stage of their child’s first five years. Each page-spread contains space to record milestones the child reached, and the guide also features resources especially for Texas parents, such as locating nearby child care, accessing support for children with special needs and finding library story-times in local communities.  HB 1240 will mandate that low-income families in the Medicaid program receive the guide, but parents at any income level can enjoy A Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy Children. It is available for individual purchase online for $10, including shipping and handling, at www.texanscareforchildren.org.

###

Christine Sinatra

Communications Director

Texans Care For Children

Speaking out for Texas children at the Capitol and across the state

814 San Jacinto, Suite 201

Austin, Texas 78701
512-473-2274 (phone)
512-853-0506 (cell)
512-473-2173 (fax)


Raising awareness to make children a public priority

We know that for Texas children to reach their potential in the future, Texans first must stand up for what kids need now to be safe, healthy, and thriving. We work to keep Texans informed about what is happening with the state’s children and what Texans who care can do to help.


Pledge to Put Kids 1st!
I pledge in my decisions to make children’s well-being my first priority. I pledge to help keep Texas: strong, by supporting children’s health and development; safe, by protecting children from harm; prepared, by ensuring the next generation has the education to succeed; prosperous, by acting so today’s youth can can solve the problems of tomorrow; and whole, by giving children the love and security they need to grow. For the future of Texas, I will do my part to Put Kids 1st.”

Posted in Texas Children, texas education, Texas State Legislature | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Help House Bill 130 – in support of full day high-quality pre-k move forward

Posted by Texas Education on May 4, 2009

Raise Your Hand Texas says: House Bill 130, (authored by Representative Diane Patrick), in support of full day high-quality pre-k, move forward through the Texas Legislative process. On Saturday, this critical legislation was placed on the General State Calendar, meaning there is a strong probability the House will bring it to a floor vote. The clock is ticking in the 81st Legislative Session and pre-k advocates must do all we can to let our Representatives know how important HB 130 is to us.

Please take a moment to click the take action icon below and send an email to your legislator today. We hope you will also forward this alert to other pre-k supporters you may know.

You can monitor progress by viewing House proceedings here:

Take Action Now!

Posted in teaching, texas education, Texas State Legislature | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Potential Delay in TAKS Results

Posted by Texas Education on May 4, 2009

Below is information I received from Executive Director: Jim Parsons; Coordinator of Student Assessment -

On Sunday evening, Jim Parsons spoke to a TEA student assessment staffer to confirm a fear he had about a side-effect of the H1N1 flu school closures. The delays in testing and/or shipping completed documents caused by flooding or school closures will probably cause a delay in everyone receiving test results.  In other words, even though Humble ISD didn’t close any schools until after testing was completed, and we did everything on schedule, our results will be delayed, too.

The reason is this:  Before the testing contractor determines the final cut scores for the tests, they must score a very large sample of all the tests.  That process, part of the “post-test equating” activities, is designed to make certain that the exams are of equal difficulty across years.  Field test item analysis gave estimates of the difficulty levels of each item on each test, but only the final results confirm those estimates.  To be certain, they must check, recalculate, and possibly make changes before all tests can be scored.

About 300,000 Texas students are now out of closed schools.  TEA estimates about 150,000 should have had TAKS tests.  Because those missing tests are not randomly distributed across Texas, the tests they will have may not be representative of all students in the state.  The closing of Ft. Worth ISD made a huge difference.  That’s why they can’t just proceed with the tests they get on schedule.

We were originally scheduled to receive the reports by May 22.   There could be a day-for-day slide.  That is, each day’s delay in TEA getting all tests in Austin could mean a day’s delay in our getting results.  That could possibly push the results past the end of the school year.

TEA must still make some final decisions about how all of this is handled.  Look for official announcements sometime this week.

BTW, the Agency will also need to make some decisions that may affect accountability, too.  Jim will be talking to the head of accountability today to see if he can get some sort of forecast.

Posted in accountability, H1N1 virus, swine flu, TAKS testing | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Humble school board forum – election

Posted by Texas Education on May 4, 2009

The first Humble ISD School Board Candidate Forum, was held on Tuesday, March 31, was recorded by Lone Star College-Kingwood and is now available for viewing in two locations. The Humble ISD website has a section in the middle of the main first page titled “Early voting in school board election begins April 27.” At the end of that article are two links to the first and second half of the March 31 candidate forum. The first part is 45 minutes long and the second part is one hour long.

Last Thursday night I had a hard time deciding whether to go to the second and final candidate forum, tossing whether to go or take a nap! I went! Glad I did, I learned a lot more about a couple of our candidates/board members. Keith Lapeze, lawyer, and all around great guy! He gave us some insight into his education and background. Keith received his juris doctorate from Louisiana State University. He was an executive editor of the Louisiana Law Review and graduated near the top of his class, which granted him admission into the most prestigious academic society at the law school, the Order of the Coif.

After law school, Keith clerked for a judge on the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Louisiana.

lapezefamilyKeith is an experienced corporate defense litigator and is recognized as one of the best young lawyers in the state of Texas. He has been listed as a “Texas Rising Star” every year since the recognition was first published in Texas Monthly magazine, which is only given to the top 5% of the lawyers in Texas.

In addition to his legal experience, Keith was a member of the Louisiana Army National Guard. He served his country while an undergraduate student and received a honorable discharge at the end of his service.

For several years, Keith was a part-time professor at the University of St. Thomas.

“Since I was elected, the district has cut over $18 million dollars from the operating budget. Additionally, I played a large role in making the controversial decision to expand Atascocita High School and Summer Creek High School to put off the expense of opening another new high school. This decision will amount to an ultimate savings of over $100 million, but the cost was to defer projects approved by the voters in Bond 2005 and disregard the proposed 2,400-student limit from the 2003 High Schools of the Future Task Force. While these costs were real, I believed that it is my duty to save taxpayers money wherever I can. When reelected, I will continue my diligence.

Though we have suffered though the difficulties of cuts and financial struggles over the last three years, the district has still excelled. Student scores have continued to improve. Countless numbers of our students have received national, state, and local recognition for their achievements. We were on the cusp of being a Recognized school district last year, and the early data this year is even more promising. I believe that the working relationship between the School Board and the administration is functioning to push Humble I.S.D. to excel in its mission: to educate our students.

I have also worked with my fellow Trustees to form the dialogue with our elected officials on school finance in Texas. Recognizing that the only way to solve the current school finance crisis is through our elected representatives in Austin, district and community volunteers have formed a message that has now been heard far and wide. We can only hope that our officials will take action.

The last three years has been a difficult time for Humble I.S.D., and our School Board is tested and experienced because of it. Now is not the time to change our course. That is why I am asking for your vote to re-elect me as Trustee.”

Dr. Bonnie Longninon, we also learned quite a bit more about her leadership roles (plural). She has been a college administrator at Lone Star College System for over 20 years, joined the Office of External Affairs as associate vice-chancellor for institutional and resource development in April 2003. Longnion is active statewide and in her community as an advocate for education. Longnion joined the Humble ISD School Board in 1988, where she has served as president, vice-president, and secretary. She has served on the Texas Association of School Boards and the Gulf Coast Association of School Boards. Bonnie says;

“I have had the honor and privilege to serve on the Humble ISD school board for 20 ½ years. I have served on numerous committees over the years, and I have served in the role of each office position as least twice. In addition to my service on the Humble ISD board, I additionally served on the Gulf Coast Association of School Boards. I served as the president of the Texas Association of School Boards in 2003-04 serving over 1,030 school districts. I am current president of the Houston YWCA. I am a current member of the American Business Women’s Association. I am past president of FamilyTime and the past president of the Northeast Chapter of the American Heart Association. I am a founding member and secretary of the Greater Houston P-16+ Council.”

Bonnie goes on to say;

“No. 1 issue: The number one issue facing Humble ISD is the crisis the district faces due to the current inequities in the state funding appropriations. There are some encouraging signs that the state legislators are going to address some of the problematic components of the methodology used to fund the state’s portion of school district. I have worked with other board members, community members, students and parents to tell the Humble ISD story. I know that many of the legislators see the inequities and they are doing their best to take responsible action for all school districts in the state. Adequate and equitable funding impacts our programs, salaries, technology and resources needed to provide an excellent learning environment for our students.”

Dan only spoke briefly, he has no challengers!

“I am running for another term to continue to work with our community, to educate our legislators about the inequity of the current funding system. We have dedicated a great deal of time and effort to educate everyone on the issues facing Humble ISD. As a result, we have made progress that we have not seen in years. Moving forward, I believe we need experienced board members to help lead us down the right path. I am committed to providing solutions to this growing problem, and know that in partnership with the community we can make a difference for our district.”

Very small turnout, as expected, not much controversy (unless you count the challenger’s mishaps, which Mr. Reed enlightened us in great detail.) So, it also looks like the voter turnout is expected to be very low. Mr. Johnson was not present at the second forum.

If you live in Kingwood and have cable television, The Lone Star College-Kingwood television channel 42 is currently showing both parts of the forum. For the viewing schedule, see http://kingwood.lonestar.edu/28698/. Look for Board Forum 1 and Board Forum 2 to see when the program is showing.

Both of these viewing options give you a chance to see and hear the five candidates for the three school board positions open for election this May 9. Even if you can’t watch all of the programs, please try to see some part of the presentation. Dr. Sconzo also has a brief, five-minute, presentation on school finance at the start of the first part.

Thank you for your interest in our school district and in becoming an informed voter. Please be aware that early voting began on April 27.

So, if you can…go vote!

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