Texas Education

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Archive for September, 2008

Let’s Put Our Students First

Posted by Texas Education on September 30, 2008

A special contribution post from the Laura Ewing Campaign for SBOE:

There is an extreme faction on our State Board of Education (SBOE) that has a specific agenda that is not in the best interest of our children’s education.  Incumbent board member David Bradley is a member of this extreme faction.  He represents the seventh district on the SBOE, which includes Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, Jefferson, and portions of Harris counties.  The SBOE approves all public school curriculum and selects text books for our schools.


The Problem:

David Bradley is infamous among educators for stating “This critical thinking stuff is gobbledygook” while serving on the SBOE.  He thinks that critical thinking is innate and therefore does not need to be taught.  Also, Bradley’s staunch opposition to including comprehension as part of the state English curriculum is mind-boggling!  He discounted the testimony from expert teachers and national experts in English and reading, he discounted the College Readiness Standards, and he discounted the advice of the Texas Education Agency-appointed writing teams in English and Language Arts.  He believes that if you just give students needed tools, they will naturally put them into sentences and paragraphs.  Directed by Bradley’s efforts, the SBOE decided that the English curriculum for the 2008-2009 school year will not include reading comprehension.

The SBOE is dominated by the far right of whom Bradley is the de-facto leader.  During Bradley’s watch, a textbook publisher was forced to remove a photo of a woman carrying a briefcase and replace it with a photo of a woman baking a cake.  This school year, new science textbooks will be adopted.  Mr. Bradley believes “the world is 6,000 years old and dinosaurs and humans coexisted.”  I wonder what he will try to  delete or impose on the science curriculum?  Also, he thinks there is no need for curriculum specialists in schools.  Bradley has never worked as a public school educator, but instead works in insurance.  And while Bradley wants to continue to control public education, he does not send his children to public schools.  He home-schooled his children; however, one of his sons did graduate from a public school.

David Bradley lives in Jasper which is not in the district he is running to represent, but is in district 8.  He votes in Beaumont by using his business address in Beaumont.   Why is David Bradley on the ballot for district 7 if he lives in district 8?  Many witnesses were called to testify before a state level grand jury in Austin concerning him living in district 8, but running for office in district 7.  The grand jury has not indicted nor have they no billed him. He has been indicted for open meetings violations dealing with the Permanent School Fund.  It does not appear that he is eligible to be on the ballot, yet he has run in 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2008.  Is this who we want to return to the SBOE?

The Solution:

In contrast to Bradley, his opponent Laura Ewing would bring balance to the SBOE.  Laura has been a teacher for over 30 years.  She has taught in Houston, Fort Bend, Clear Creek, Spring and Cypress-Fairbanks school districts. She also was a social studies specialist in Pearland ISD.  She has been named “Teacher of the Year,” “Supervisor of the Year,” and has received the “Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Private Enterprise.”  Laura also has a Masters in Educational Leadership and Cultural Studies from the  University of Houston and is an Adjunct Professor at the University  of Houston at Clear Lake. In addition, she was elected to the Friendswood City Council from 2003 where she served until 2008.

Laura believes that comprehension needs to be part of the English curriculum and that critical thinking is vital for our students.  Laura would like to see a greater variety of credit courses for graduation in order to meet the needs of the different learning abilities of the population.   She also believes that non-English speaking students should be offered English classes as they are studying their required classes.  She also believes that non-college bound students need to be able to select classes that will help them become prepared to enter the work force when they graduate.

Laura Ewing is the hope for District 7 and for the state.  She will help provide a solid education and bright future for all students in Texas.   She has always put education first and will continue to do that on the SBOE!

We can’t leave the education of our children up to the far-right extremists!

What can you do to help?

Spread the word about Laura Ewing.

Volunteer and make a contribution.  She needs money to get the word out to all the voters in district seven.

Links:

http://ewingfortexas.com/

http://www.ourtribune.com/article.php?id=4563

http://www.texasmonthly.com/2008-10-01/feature5-1.php

Laura Ewing Campaign

Netroots Outreach

also, don’t forget the Quiz if you forgot to take it.

Posted in accountability, Ethics, leadership, texas education | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Dallas ISD Program provides free music lessons, instruments for students

Posted by Texas Education on September 29, 2008

How cool is this???  Little Kids Rock is a national non-profit organization that provides free instruments, curriculum and lessons for students in under-served schools.

For a campus to receive the free curriculum, half or more of the school’s students must be in the free or reduced-price lunch program, Mr. Wish said. Schools that don’t qualify are still welcome to participate but must provide their own funding.

After teachers go through the workshop, instruments are delivered to the school and the program can be up and running within a month.

Here for the full story.

Posted in Good Stuff, In-the-news, texas education, Texas schools | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Teachers shout – “Save our jobs”

Posted by Texas Education on September 26, 2008

Well, I managed to work today, but got home early, still much going on nationally, state wide, and locally. The Dallas News has something a bit disturbing. Was really hoping we would not see this type of atmosphere, but it’s a comin’:

Dallas teachers won’t go without a fight

About 300 teachers wearing red shirts marched outside Dallas ISD headquarters Thursday, chanting “Save our jobs” and “Where did the money go?”

Teachers said they are paying for the mistakes of an administration that created the budget shortfall.

“Why should we lose our jobs when it’s their fault?” asked Jesus Serrato, a third-year kindergarten teacher.

When Mr. Serrato goes to work each morning at Northeast Learning Community, the possibility of losing his job lingers in the back of his mind. At home, he and his wife, who is also a teacher in the district, spend their dinner conversations consumed with fears of losing their jobs.

“It doesn’t matter how much I love my kids, because I don’t know if I’ll be employed next week,” Mr. Serrato said.

Yikes, this does not look good at all. Here for the full story.

Posted in accountability, In-the-news, leadership, teaching, texas education, Texas schools | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Are you ready?

Posted by Texas Education on September 24, 2008

Looks like school starts tomorrow for many little children, in my area! My daughter has swim practice at 5:15 a.m., even. There is so much going on about school, and not, it’s crazy and it’s really making my (sweating) head spin. Many of my friends and neighbors are getting their power on. Me, I’m not one of them. I’m working on my 3rd generator in this storm we call IKE. I will have to change the oil tomorrow am. Wish me luck. I don’t have power, but I have the next best thing, a working generator. Ok, onto the “news” on schools. Looks like Humble’s website has a lot going on. I was at Oak Forest today confirming my job for tomorrow (or cancelation) and overheard them talking about the “free” meals. Yes, in deedie, there will be free meals for a short time.

Due to Hurricane Ike, the Humble Child Nutrition Department has received permission from the US Department of Agriculture to provide meals free of charge for all students for a 10 day period beginning on Thursday, September 25th and ending on Wednesday, October 8th. All students, regardless of their status before the storm, will be able to receive a free breakfast and a free lunch at their school during this time period. Any a la carte items selected will be at regular prices. Because of supply and delivery issues due to Hurricane Ike, the menus may not match what is published. Currently our offerings may be limited; we are making every effort to return to our published menu as quickly as possible.

The following campuses do have power and will resume class on Sept. 25.

  • Atascocita High
  • Humble High
  • Kingwood High
  • Kingwood Park High
  • CLC/Quest
  • CATE
  • Atascocita Middle
  • Creekwood Middle
  • Kingwood Middle
  • Sterling Middle
  • Timberwood Middle
  • Bear Branch
  • Elm Grove
  • Eagle Springs
  • Fall Creek
  • Foster
  • Greentree
  • Humble El.
  • Hidden Hollow
  • Jack Fields
  • Lakeland
  • Maplebrook
  • North Belt
  • Oaks
  • Oak Forest
  • Park Lakes
  • River Pines
  • Timbers
  • Woodland Hills

The following campuses are still without power and will not open until Monday, September 29.

  • Humble Middle
  • Riverwood Middle
  • Deerwood
  • Pine Forest
  • Shadow Forest
  • Summerwood
  • Whispering Pines
  • Willow Creek

If you have students who attend one of the schools listed above, please note that they will not start classes again until Monday, September 29. Employees at those campuses should also report to work on Monday, September 29. Also, please expect delays in bus service as drivers are navigating through intersections without working signal lights.

Posted in In-the-news, teaching, Texas schools | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Humble ISD Update, Sept. 23, 2008

Posted by Texas Education on September 24, 2008

Most campuses will open Sept. 25; please note list of campuses still without power – Students at those schools will not return to campus until Monday, Sept. 29

Humble ISD plans to open most campuses on Thursday, September 25. However, the following campuses are still without power and will not open until Monday, September 29. These schools are:

  • Humble Middle,
  • Riverwood Middle,
  • Deerwood Elementary,
  • Pine Forest Elementary,
  • Shadow Forest Elementary,
  • Summerwood Elementary,
  • Whispering Pines Elementary, and
  • Willow Creek Elementary

All other campuses do have power and will resume class on Sept. 25

If you have students who attend one of the listed schools, please note that they will not start classes again until Monday, September 29. Employees at those campuses should also report to work on Monday, September 29.

All other campus and administrative employees should report Wednesday, September 24. All other students should report to class Thursday, September 25.

Parents, please expect delays in bus service as drivers are navigating through intersections without working signal lights.

There will be no early dismissal or late arrivals at campuses this week after classes resume.

It is not known at this time if the days missed due to Hurricane Ike will need to be made up. An announcement will be made as soon as possible about this issue.

Humble ISD Your Schools alert system
Athletic Make-Up Schedules
Varsity Football – New Schedules

Posted in In-the-news, Texas schools | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Hurricane Ike: Humble ISD Update, Sept. 22, 2008

Posted by Texas Education on September 23, 2008

from the Humble ISD website:

All Humble ISD campuses back to school on Thurs.,9/25 Watch for Updates!

All Humble ISD campuses are expected to open for students on Thursday, Sept. 25th, but watch for updates as there are electrical power issues at several campuses.

23 campuses currently have power and are ready for the Thursday re-start. They are:

Secondary Campuses
Humble High
Kingwood High
Community Learning Center/Quest High
Kingwood Park High
Kingwood Middle
Creekwood Middle
Atascocita Middle
Timberwood Middle
Sterling Middle

Elementary Campuses
Lakeland
North Belt
Fields
Foster
Woodland Hills
Bear Branch
Elm Grove
Oak Forest
Maplebrook
Eagle Springs
Park Lakes
River Pines
Fall Creek
Humble

Campus and administrative staff should report on Wednesday, Sept. 24th.

There will be no early dismissal or late arrivals at campuses this week after classes resume.

It is not known at this time if the days missed due to Hurricane Ike will need to be made up. An announcement will be made as soon as possible about this issue.

Humble ISD Your Schools alert system
Read Dr. Sconzo’s message from Sept. 19
Athletic Make-Up Schedules
Varsity Football – New Schedules

Posted in In-the-news, Texas schools | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Ok, back to education…Obama’s Education Plan

Posted by Texas Education on September 22, 2008

Since the news is swarming with politics, and we have an election coming up, I feel the need to “put out there,” as it were, facts to make educated decisions on whom to vote for. First, probably in a series of posts, the Obama-Biden education plan:

Barack Obama’s Record

Record of Advocacy: Obama has been a leader on educational issues throughout his career. In the Illinois State Senate, Obama was a leader on early childhood education, helping create the state’s Early Learning Council. In the U.S. Senate, Obama has been a leader in working to make college more affordable. His very first bill sought to increase the maximum Pell Grant award to $5,100. As a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee, Obama helped pass legislation to achieve that goal in the recent improvements to the Higher Education Act. Obama has also introduced legislation to create Teacher Residency Programs and to increase federal support for summer learning opportunities. I won’t put everything on this site, you can access all of it here. I want to highlight things I think are extremely important.

A World class education

“I don’t want to send another generation of American children to failing schools. I don’t want that future for my daughters. I don’t want that future for your sons. I do not want that future for America.”

— Barack Obama, Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, Des Moines, Iowa, November 10, 2007

Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s Plan

Early Childhood Education

  • Zero to Five Plan: The Obama-Biden comprehensive “Zero to Five” plan will provide critical support to young children and their parents. Unlike other early childhood education plans, the Obama-Biden plan places key emphasis at early care and education for infants, which is essential for children to be ready to enter kindergarten. Obama and Biden will create Early Learning Challenge Grants to promote state “zero to five” efforts and help states move toward voluntary, universal pre-school.

I like their plan because they see the need for not just early child care but, they place “key emphasis at early care and education for infants, which is essential for children to be ready to enter kindergarten.”

Wow, a strike down for TAKS, maybe?

K-12

  • Reform No Child Left Behind: Obama and Biden will reform NCLB, which starts by funding the law. Obama and Biden believe teachers should not be forced to spend the academic year preparing students to fill in bubbles on standardized tests. He will improve the assessments used to track student progress to measure readiness for college and the workplace and improve student learning in a timely, individualized manner. Obama and Biden will also improve NCLB’s accountability system so that we are supporting schools that need improvement, rather than punishing them.
  • Make Math and Science Education a National Priority: Obama and Biden will recruit math and science degree graduates to the teaching profession and will support efforts to help these teachers learn from professionals in the field. They will also work to ensure that all children have access to a strong science curriculum at all grade levels. And…
  • Address the Dropout Crisis
  • Expand High-Quality Afterschool Opportunities
  • Support College Outreach Programs.
  • Support College Credit Initiatives
  • Support English Language Learners

Recruit, Prepare, Retain, and Reward America’s Teachers

  • Recruit Teachers
  • Prepare Teachers
  • Retain Teachers
  • Reward Teachers

Higher Education

  • Create the American Opportunity Tax Credit
  • Simplify the Application Process for Financial Aid

For More Information about Barack’s Plan:

Read the Pre-K to 12 Plan
Read the College Affordability Plan
Read the Education Reform Plan
Speech on Pre-K to 12 Education
Speech on College Affordability

I could go on, but you can read all of their plans here and form your own opinions. Please, don’t let me influence you!!!! 8-)

To be fair, I will also post on McCain-Palin. I wanted to put them all here, but there is way to much to say about the McCain-Plain proposals. It’s like watching your favorite tv show and having to wait until next week to see what happens. :-) Though, I promise I will not make you wait until next week. I will post it as soon as my little fingers can type it (or in some cases, how well my cntrl-c/cntrl-v will work.)

Posted in accountability, Higher Ed, In-the-news, leadership, teaching, texas education | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Tourette Syndrome and me

Posted by Texas Education on September 21, 2008

Interesting that I’ve been blogging for approx. 4 months now. Seems things are surely kicking. Some controversial stuff, some informative stuff and some this and that stuff. But one thing, and especially since it is near and dear to me, that I have not blogged on is Tourette Syndrome. I had a real epiphany tonight, sitting in the dark, hearing the hummmm of our’s and our neighbors’ generators (I swear when they stop I will be lost or will still hear them in my head, don’t know which will be worse.) But, anywho…back to my epiphany, I’m on a list serve of many friends family that I’ve known for almost as long as I’ve been in Texas which is going on 10 years now. I was a stay at home mom and had just had my son diagnosed with TS. Me the computer geek that I am, (was then too,) I found Sunrise Tourette. They have saved my life more than once and they are always there when I need them. One of our members just started a blog, hence my epiphany. So, just thought I’d throw that bit of personal irony out there.

My son is 19 now but we still have to deal with this issue, it never goes away. I only hope it has made me a better mother and a stronger person, cause it sure has been a roller coaster ride for the last 10+ years. I do know one thing, I have found friends I would never have known, I have forged friendships, learned from and helped others with this disorder.

Get Involved:

ACTION ALERT!!!
MENTAL HEALTH PARITY CAN PASS – WRITE TO YOUR LEGISLATORS.
Click here.

TWO IMPORTANT SURVEYS
ADULTS WITH TS – CHILDREN WITH TS
Please Give Us Your Time
Dr. Douglas Woods and colleagues from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, along with several members from our national TSA Medical Advisory Board, have embarked on 2 important and extensive data collecting projects designed to gather important information about Adults and Children with Tourette Syndrome (TS) and Chronic Tic Disorders. To learn more, please click here.

JOIN TSA – click here

TEAM TSA – Run the Beach in Hawaii, the Midnight Sun Run in Alaska, Kids Run at Disney, ride a Bike tour in NYC…
ONE LAP CLOSER TO A CURE
click here

GRASSROOTS ACTION – become a local TS Grassroots Activist – read how

EDUCATION ADVOCACY
TSA’s FREE resources will show you the way — and you can “ASK TSA” when you need a little guidance – click here

PARTICIPATE IN TSA’S BRAIN BANK
PROGRAM
Read about it

TSA NEEDS YOUTH AMBASSADORS
Learn How to Become One!

TSA’S NATIONAL CONFERENCE – Click here to read about and view photos of April 2008 Conference. Our next National Conference will be in the Spring of 2010.

“I HAVE TOURETTE’S BUT
TOURETTE’S DOESN’T HAVE ME”
Emmy Award Winning HBO video
View Video Clip Free Teacher’s Guide
Order the DVD from our Online Store

NEWLY DIAGNOSED Video Webstream
with Dr. John Walkup
– click here

FOR MEDICAL/ALLIED PROFESSIONALS
– CME, CNE, Behavior Therapy Webstreams. Click here to register/view

TSA’s NEWSLETTERS – FREE Children’s and Young Adults newsletters; TSA’s Quarterly Newsletter-read cover-free; join TSA to read all

SELF ESTEEM-video for Adults-click here

OT Webstream
– click here to view.

Posted in personal | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Take a Quiz…

Posted by Texas Education on September 19, 2008

How well do you know your state board of education?

Texas Monthly has an article (quiz) on members of the State Board of Education.

Ever wonder who decides what your kids are taught in school? It’s not their principals and teachers. Nor is it their school’s superintendent. The Legislature, maybe? Not quite; the Legislature’s responsibility is to write the education code, fund the schools, and keep the state’s commitment to an accountability system. Every once in a while a lawmaker might pass a bill that authorizes Bible classes or requires daily recitation of the pledge of allegiance to the Texas flag, but the Legislature isn’t responsible for curriculum. Okay, then, how about the Texas Education Agency and the commissioner of education? Sounds right, but you’re wrong again. The TEA’s role is simply (or not so simply) to administer the education code.

Ready for the answer? The folks who decide what Texas schoolchildren will learn are the fifteen members of the State Board of Education. Don’t worry if you can’t name a single one. Almost nobody can! Members of this obscure panel are elected in down-ballot races that generate about as much media attention as an appointment to the Funeral Service Commission, but they are the ones who determine the classroom content for every public- or charter-school student in Texas. The board, currently composed of ten Republicans and five Democrats, oversees the process that establishes curriculum standards—known as Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills—and adopts or rejects textbooks. Members serve four-year terms and receive no financial compensation. (You heard right: They do this for free.) So how well do you know the powerful volunteers who control your children’s education? Take this quiz and see.

How well will you do??

Pencils up . . . begin!

1. How many of the fifteen members of the State Board of Education have experience teaching children in a classroom?

A. All of them.
B. None of them.
C. Eight.
D. π.

2. True or false: Every member of the board has a college degree.

A. True.
B. False.

3. How many members of the board have homeschooled their children instead of sending them to public school?

A. None, since no one who homeschools would have a vested interest in public education, right?
B. Only one, and the kid went on to Harvard, but he’s kinda weird.
C. Two.
D. All of them.

4. Scientists believe that the earth is 4.5 billion years old. How old does Don McLeroy, the chairman of the board, insist the earth is?

A. 3.5 billion years old.
B. 500 million years old.
C. A few thousand years old.
D. 2,008 years old.

5. “I believe a lot of incredible things,” McLeroy told the New York Times, in June 2008, in an interview about evolution. “The most incredible thing I believe is . . .”

A. “God created the universe in six days.”
B. “I can fly.”
C. “The Christmas story.”
D. “That I am in control of education in Texas.”

6. In March the board debated creating a book list of more than 150 literary works that would be recommended for the classroom. After some critics noted the small number of works by authors from different cultures, McLeroy told the San Antonio Express-News, “You really don’t want Chinese books with a bunch of crazy Chinese words in them. Why should you take a child’s time trying to learn a word that they’ll never ever use again?” Which of the following Chinese words or phrases did McLeroy admit could be useful for a child to learn?

A. Chow mein.
B. Kung Fu Panda.
C. Adios, mofo.
D. Ni hao ma? (How are you?)

7. In a letter to the governor in May, board member Mary Helen Berlanga asked that he replace McLeroy, a dentist, whom she called what?

A. A master of deceit.
B. Criminally insane.
C. Dr. Crazypants.
D. A walking root canal.

8. Why did former Republican board member Cynthia Thornton, who did not run for reelection in 2006, request and receive extra security from the armed Capitol guards at board meetings?

A. She had received death threats from the radical pro-evolution group the Darwinners.
B. A socially conservative Republican member had physically threatened her for not voting in a bloc.
C. She was concerned that the crowds of angry protesters who frequently attend the board meetings were likely to riot.
D. She had become convinced that a gorilla was stalking her.

9. Earlier this year, while arguing for a back-to-basics reading-standards proposal, board member David Bradley told the Houston Chronicle that “this critical thinking stuff is . . .”

A. “Hugely important.”
B. “Overrated.”
C. “Gobbledygook.”
D. “My specialty.”

10. In 1995 the Legislature decreed that the board could reject a textbook only if it failed to meet the state’s curriculum standards, had factual errors, or had a poorly manufactured binding. Two years later, Bradley demonstrated his opposition to an algebra book that some members criticized for its references to environmental and political causes by doing what?

A. Calmly explaining that “this is algebra you’ll never use in the real world.”
B. Tearing off the cover and declaring, “Ladies and gentlemen, worthless binding. I reject this book.”
C. Shouting, “This book is full of lies!”
D. Setting it on fire, then sheepishly writing a check for $56.13, the cost of the book.

11. In a recent interview with Texas Monthly, board member Gail Lowe said, “The National Academy of Sciences has still stated that [evolution] is not a fact, and we don’t believe evolution ought to be taught as a fact.” What is the actual position of the National Academy of Sciences?

A. Evolution is a working hypothesis with significant weaknesses.
B. The evolution will be televised.
C. Evolution is both a fact and a theory.
D. I want a banana.

12. The current science curriculum standards, approved by the board, state that students must be taught the “strengths and weaknesses” of any theory. Which of the following are theories that, according to this view, could have both strengths and weaknesses?

A. Evolution.
B. Relativity.
C. Universal gravitation.
D. The big bang.
E. Plate tectonics.
F. All of the above.

13. This past June, Bradley told a reporter for the San Antonio Express-News, “Evolution is not fact. Evolution is a theory and, as such, cannot be proven.” He concluded:

A. “Intelligent design should be taught, since it’s more intelligent.”
B. “This topic isn’t controversial among real Christians.”
C. “Students need to be able to jump to their own conclusions.”
D. “La cuenta, por favor.”

14. In 2002 the publisher of a sixth-grade social studies textbook, hoping to ensure approval from the board, altered certain passages concerning the age of the earth to avoid contradicting the Bible’s account of creation, according to which the planet is between 6,000 and 10,000 years old. One sentence that was edited had explained that the formation of the Great Lakes took place “millions of years ago.” When did the new sentence say that the Great Lakes were formed?

A. In the distant past.
B. Prior to the birth of Jesus Christ.
C. Thousands of years ago.
D. No one can remember.

15. In 2005 a member of the nonprofit Texas Freedom Network, a watchdog group, recorded McLeroy addressing the College Station congregation at Grace Bible Church on the subject of evolution. Though McLeroy has said that he wouldn’t promote intelligent design in public schools, he told the church that day:

A. That the pastor needed to do a better job of teaching creationism in his sermons.
B. To “keep chipping away at the objective empirical evidence.”
C. That he didn’t think God would punish him for his voting record.
D. “Takesies backsies!”

16. Which of the following items have been considered by the board to be too controversial for high school health textbooks?

A. A line drawing illustrating a self-exam for testicular cancer.
B. A woman holding a briefcase with a toddler looking up at her.
C. A line drawing illustrating a self-exam for breast cancer.
D. All of the above.

17. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and the American Public Health Association all agree that health classes geared toward adolescents should teach students about condoms. Of the four high school health textbooks approved by the board, how many mention the word “condom”?

A. None.
B. One.
C. Two.
D. All.

18. One of the high school health textbooks adopted by the board in 2004 suggests a classroom exercise to promote abstinence called “The Rose.” Students are asked to pass a rose around the room and pluck the petals from it. Each petal represents a sexual experience. The teacher is instructed to wait until the rose is bare and then tell the students what?

A. That they should try to glue the petals back onto the rose and see how hard that is.
B. That so many sexual experiences will leave them emotionally empty.
C. That roses without petals are ugly and no one will want to buy them flowers.
D. That the activity does not apply to sex within marriage.

19. This past May, nine of the fifteen board members voted in favor of language arts standards for phonics and grammar that were opposed by a majority of English teachers in Texas. Afterward, board member Ken Mercer sent a letter to his mailing list stating, “It is my belief that the [English] Coalition lobby was mean, they lied, and they cheated. In the end, they got a very well deserved spanking; and the school children and educators of Texas have content-rich standards for phonics, reading, writing, and grammar.” See if you can find the grammatical error or errors in these two sentences.

A. Incorrect usage of the comma after “mean,” in the first sentence.
B. “Well deserved” needs a hyphen, and “schoolchildren” should be one word.
C. Incorrect usage of the semicolon after “spanking.”
D. All of the above.

20. Complete this sentence: At a committee meeting on July 16, 2008, McLeroy said that education is too important . . .

A. “To be politicized.”
B. “To not be politicized.”
C. “To be taught in public schools.”
D. “To be left to officials paid nothing and elected in low-profile, down-ballot races.”

Answer key below the fold:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in leadership, texas education | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Texas Tuition Promise Fund – a good deal

Posted by Texas Education on September 18, 2008

From chron.com. At a time when Americans remain deeply worried about the faltering economy and their own financial situation, the new Texas Tuition Promise Fund, which opened Wednesday, is good news for parents. As college tuition costs continue to spiral upward, the fund can help bring a measure of stability and predictability to planning for children’s college years.

The fund allows families to lock in tuition and required fees at current prices at Texas’ public colleges and universities. It offers an array of flexible options to prepay those expenses before a child begins college.

Yes, the plan is a great deal more costly than was the Texas Tomorrow Fund, a similar prepaid tuition program that closed to new enrollments in 2003, the year state lawmakers deregulated college tuition. Immediately, the cost of state colleges skyrocketed, with an average 70 percent tuition increase in University of Texas system schools. And while the cost of higher education at a Texas university remains a bargain compared to the cost of private institutions and flagship public universities in some other states, families can still use all the help they can get in paying for four years of college.

The new Promise Fund is geared to families in that economic sour spot where incomes are too high to qualify for need-based financial aid but too low to afford all out-of-pocket expenses. Texas Comptroller Susan Combs calls the fund an “exciting, flexible way to save for college.” It will, she says, enable families “to pre-pay for a four-year degree, or you can prepay in small bites for just a few classes or a few semesters. And best of all, you don’t have to worry about future tuition increases, because you lock in current prices.”

Three levels of pricing are offered to advance pay undergraduate tuition at schools ranging from public community colleges to four-year state universities. An attractive feature of the plan is that funds also may be used at out-of-state or private universities, with students and their families paying the difference in cost.

Families can find information describing the fund in detail at http://www.EveryChanceEveryTexan.org, along with information about other college savings plans, called 529s, which are an option to prepaid plans covering only tuition and required fees. Funds in 529 plans can be spent on tuition and fees, room and board and related expenses.

Parents should start early to research their options and figure out which is the best plan for their student. No matter which choice parents make, it is important they start the process early and are careful not to underestimate total costs.

It’s a scary and expensive proposition, putting a child through college. But the rewards, both both for the student and society, make it one of the best investments a parent can make. Plans such as the Promise Fund are valuable tools to aid in that effort.

Likewise, Texas lawmakers and taxpayers must recognize the value of supporting the next generation of homegrown Texas talent and ingenuity. Texas residents need more large-scale, effective measures to help middle-class parents provide their children with a college education. If Texas is to prevail in an increasingly competitive and complex world, it will find innovative ways to help families get their kids through college — and without going bankrupt in the process.

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