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Archive for October, 2008

Vote on Rollback election — Humble ISD

Posted by Texas Education on October 31, 2008

Ok, I’ve been torn on whether to vote for this or not, seriously. I do understand the implications if we don’t vote on this, (more cut backs, serious cut backs.) But I also see the other side, our taxes go up, well, that’s about it. Well, not really. One reason I’ve been torn, I have seen expenditures (IMHO) that I do not agree with. I’ve seen cutbacks that I feel should not have been cut out, (technology) and others that should have been, (some higher administrative positions, expensive phones in all the rooms at the new schools, elaborate decorating at some of the make overs and new schools, just to name a few.) Ok, I’ve said it! Just places I don’t agree with.

Now, back to the funding crisis/rollback election. It was pointed out to me last night from a friend that if we put ourselves at the cap, we will have leverage against the state, possibly to sue them (again) to force their hand (again) to fund the schools, and not put this so heavily on the taxpayers. For more (from Humble ISD website) on this important election:

A message from Humble ISD Superintendent Guy Sconzo: “Our Humble ISD theme this year is “No Challenge is Too Great for Us”. Little did I know how appropriate this would be for us what with Hurricane Ike hitting the gulf coast soon after Dr. Sconzo talks about the school funding crisis in Texas and Humble ISD's upcoming tax rollback election school opened – and now a tax rate rollback election coming up in a few days.
I am thankful that our schools escaped serious damage, and as you may already know, we broke attendance records when school resumed after Ike. It was as if the community gave a collective sigh of relief that life truly was getting back to normal when our school re-opened.

It also appears that our community and employees give every indication of understanding the need for a tax rate election given the financial crisis brought on by the Texas Legislature when it adopted a finance system (House Bill 1) that froze school funding at 2005-06 levels.

HB 1 has:

  • Frozen funding at level school districts received in 2005-06
  • Frozen inequitable differences in Weighted Average Daily Attendance (WADA) funding from one school district to the next. For example, if Humble ISD $4,987 WADA) received the same WADA per child as Katy ISD ($5,174), it would mean an additional $9.2 million for our schools in 2008-09
  • Ignored the fact that costs for fuel, utilities, employee salaries, insurance, etc., continue to rise
  • Provides no inflation factor for operating revenue
  • Established a system where the state takes away a dollar of state aid for every local school tax dollar gained from increased property valuations and new property on the tax roll

Add to that the knowledge that the state’s transportation allotment has not increased since 1984 when gas was $1.13 per gallon and you have the makings of a financial crisis for schools across the state. By the end of this fall, more than 200 school districts will have had rollback elections. That’s with only two years of HB 1 in place!

This tax rate rollback election allows voters to decide whether or not to increase the Maintenance and Operations tax rate by 13 cents to $1.17 giving Humble ISD a total tax rate of $1.52. Our total tax rate in 2005 was $1.77! Approval means that Humble ISD will not need to make reductions beyond the $9 million already cut for this school year. Voter approval means that Humble ISD will receive about $17 million needed to balance the budget this year. Since about 87% of the school district’s budget is personnel, these funds would be used for salaries and to keepTax rate rollback election Nov. 22 existing programs in place. Read more…..

Humble ISD’s election will be on Nov. 22.
Early voting begins Nov. 5.

Print a brochureVer / Imprimir en español | Xem / In ở Việt Nam
See complete information about this election, including FAQs, early voting details, and polling locations, your questions answered (new questions/answers added 10/30)

There is only one Town Hall meeting left to get the scoop about this important election:

  • 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13, at Humble High School Auditorium, 1700 Wilson Road

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Secretary of State Asked To Declare Candidate Ineligible

Posted by Texas Education on October 25, 2008

Laura Ewing for State Board of Education

Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade has been asked to declare long-time State Board of Education member David Bradley ineligible to serve on the Board should he win reelection to the body November 4.

A formal letter has been sent to Sec. Andrade by Houston attorney Chad Dunn. In it, he details the fact that Bradley has not lived in the district he represents as required by state law since at least 2000. (SBOE District 7 includes Galveston, Jefferson and Chambers Counties, a portion of Brazoria County, and a large portion of East and South Harris County.)

Bradley has alienated even his fellow Republicans with his extremist views. His Democratic challenger is Laura Ewing, a Friendswood educator who is running an aggressive campaign against the long-time incumbent who was first elected in 1996.

Ewing — who has been endorsed by the Houston Chronicle, Beaumont Enterprise and many others groups — is currently airing a hard-hitting television ad that calls for Bradley to be “expelled” from the School Board. The ad can be viewed at http://www.ewingfortexas.com.

Bradley’s ineligibility stems from the fact he actually lives in Buna in Jasper County, where he claims a homestead exemption. His voter’s registration lists a Beaumont office as his residence, along with his wife and two adult children.

“David Bradley has either lied to officials in Jasper County or Jefferson County, but the indisputable fact is that he has knowingly filed a false government document with at least one official agency,” Ewing said.

This is not Bradley’s first brush with the law, as Ewing noted in her TV ad. He was indicted by a Travis County Grand Jury for violating the state’s Open Meetings Law, and more recently was investigated by a Jefferson County Grand Jury. He was forced to close at least one business for failure to pay taxes.

“It would be bad enough if Bradley were just lying about his legal residence, but his service on the Board has been deplorable,” Ewing said. “He has bullied fellow Board members and even bragged about “slapping teachers” who oppose his extremist politics.”

Ewing also noted that Bradley recently received a $5,000 contribution almost a quarter of his campaign funds from a New York City financial adviser. Coincidentally, Bradley has led the effort for an early review of a lucrative financial services contract now being provided to the SBOE by another firm.

“David Bradley has never been about doing the right thing for our children. He has such disdain for public schools that his own children were home-schooled,” Ewing said. “It’s time we elect someone less interested in taking care of his cronies and imposing his political will on our teachers.”

Ewing, of Friendswood, is a career educator with a master’s degree in educational leadership. She is the parent of of a public school educated student.

For further information, contact:
Laura Ewing, (281) 992-9674 or Laura Ewing for SBOE

Posted in accountability, Ethics, In-the-news, leadership, texas education | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Anti-evolution push may hurt efforts to teach science

Posted by Texas Education on October 23, 2008

The chron touched on this delicate subject again today. An article by ALAN I. LESHNER. He is chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and executive publisher of the journal Science. This is a great article on this subject, I must say.
The box pretty much states it well:

Bringing nonscientific ideas into biology classes creates unacceptable risks. It will confuse young students and teach them to distrust well-established scientific facts. Classrooms could become religious battlegrounds. Lawsuits over policy could drain local school districts. And employers everywhere would worry about the quality of Texas’ students.

Another great line in this article:

Given the concerns about the state’s future work force, the appointments are a troubling signal. At a time when most educators are working to prepare students for 21st century jobs, the board members’ action threatens to confuse students, divide communities and tarnish Texas’ reputation as an international science and technology center.

Check out the whole story here.

Posted in teaching, texas education | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Oh no you didn’t…

Posted by Texas Education on October 22, 2008

This in from the Dallas News,

AUSTIN – Social conservatives on the State Board of Education have appointed three evolution critics to a six-member committee that will review proposed curriculum standards for science courses in Texas schools.

Two of the appointees are authors of a book that questions many of the tenets of Charles Darwin’s theory of how humans and other life forms evolved. One of them, Stephen Meyer, is also vice president of the Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based group that promotes an explanation of the origin of life similar to creationism. The other author is Ralph Seelke, a biology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

Also on the panel is Baylor University chemistry professor Charles Garner, who, like the other two, signed the Discovery Institute’s “Dissent from Darwinism” statement that sharply questions key aspects of the theory of evolution.

Here for the full story, I’m speechless…

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

Craddick talking politics or education?

Posted by Texas Education on October 21, 2008

I did attend the Education forum Saturday. My take on that a little later. What I’d like to discuss now is a different forum that took place Monday. House speaker Craddick and his Democratic opponent, Bill Dingus attended a forum Monday at Alamo Junior High auditorium in Midland. in a Texas Classroom Teachers Forum. What amazes me, only 25 educators attended. Um? Why? And I’m still wondering why teachers don’t vote more, and vote for those who are “pro” education. Craddick says, well read what he says:

Craddick said education is the backbone and key to Texas’ economy but the Lone Star state needs to improve. He recalled a meeting with Dell CEO Michael Dell who told him he was building a new facility in Georgia because the education system here was lacking.

Through talking to teachers throughout District 81, Craddick said Texas has to concentrate on recruiting new and better teachers, retaining good instructors and ensuring that teaching isn’t just a job, but a profession. Teacher training should also be improved.

Ok, now is the time for those who have seriously loused up our education system in Texas to tell their constituents what they want to hear, not what they intend to do.

So, Mr. Speaker, see, not investing in our education system does come back to bite you, with companies, organizations, and workers leaving for other more pro-education states.

Through talking to teachers throughout District 81, Craddick said Texas has to concentrate on recruiting new and better teachers, retaining good instructors and ensuring that teaching isn’t just a job, but a profession. Teacher training should also be improved.

Interesting, I got news for ya Speaker Craddick, we got good teachers now, you just need to support them, mostly financially, please. But, hey, that will never happen under his leadership. I strongly suggest we vote for change and we vote NOW!

Dingus takes the high road:

He added that he will respect teachers, listen to them and welcome them if they come to Austin.

Dingus added that he will take teachers’ opinions to heart and will fight vouchers “all day long.”

Dingus also urged everyone to cast ballots. Early voting runs Oct. 20-31. Election Day is Nov. 4.

“The most important thing a democracy can do is educate the voters,” he said.

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Chronicle endorses Joe Montemayor

Posted by Texas Education on October 18, 2008

Woo Hoo! I’m so excited! ~licking finger, putting a #1 in the air~ They aren’t telling me anything I didn’t already know. Go Joe…

• Joe A. Montemayor for State Representative District 127: Although this northeast Harris County district running from Kingwood to Baytown has been represented for eight terms by Republican incumbent Joe Crabb, the Chronicle feels that it is in need of new leadership.

Democratic challenger Joe Montemayor, a Navy veteran who served more than 25 years as an Immigration and Customs officer, has the background for the job. Montemayor is a small-business owner in Crosby who believes public school districts in the 127th are being starved of funds and must have more state support. On other issues, the candidate pledges to work to increase access to health care for those with financial challenges, strengthen and enforce environmental laws to protect our citizenry, and make Texas a leader in preventative medicine and medical research.

Here for the story.

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Attending a Legislative Summit

Posted by Texas Education on October 17, 2008

I will be attending an Education Summit tomorrow. This is a local forum so that prior to the legislative session, state lawmakers representing our area will have the opportunity to articulate their responses to issues and to field questions from business leaders, board members, superintendents and other educators in a effort to promote legislative transparency. Sen. Dan Patrick, Rep. Rob Eisler and Rep. Scott Hochberg have been invited to address the audience and a panel of legislators, moderated by KHOU Reporter Wendell Edwards, will discuss business and education challenges as they relate to the upcoming legislative session.

I will post an update here with my findings. Thanks for all the support!

Posted in leadership, texas education | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

State Board of Education Member Bullies Teachers and Other Board Members

Posted by Texas Education on October 17, 2008

Wow, this says a lot. I just hope enough people see it to vote in someone who can help our kids and NOT someone who bullies and literally mistreats our teachers.

The most important race in Texas for our students’ education is in State Board of Education District 7 between David Bradley and Laura Ewing.   David Bradley is the incumbent.  Mr. Bradley is in insurance for a business while Ewing is a career educator in the public schools.  Mr. Bradley is trying to further his ideological agenda while Laura Ewing wants to improve schools in Texas.

As reported in The Examiner, Bradley ignored three years of work by teachers and experts on a new language arts curriculum. He proposed instead that the board adopt a different curriculum patched together overnight by social conservatives and slipped under hotel room doors the morning of the vote. Teachers and curriculum experts said the substitute was far too rigid, outdated and poorly organized, but the Bradley faction had the numbers and the motion passed. Bradley later bragged in the press that he had “spanked” the teachers.

“It was demeaning, degrading and demoralizing,” said Alana Morris, past president of the Texas Council of Teachers of English Language Arts. “Bradley was just like a playground bully with anyone who disagreed with him. He was condescending and even turned his back on teachers who were speaking.”

Now information has surfaced about Mr. Bradley becoming physical with Cynthia A. Thornton, former District 10 representative on the SBOE.  She described her encounters with Bradley for The Examiner.  “As I went to the restroom and walked around his chair, he actually grabbed me and told me to keep my G.D. mouth shut,” she exclaimed.  After a second unpleasant encounter, a uniformed officer of the Capitol Police was always present when the board was in session.

Recently, Bradley addressed the Jefferson County Republican Women’s luncheon with the charge that Ewing wants to put a Muslim curriculum in our public schools. His “proof?” Ewing participated in a study group that traveled to north and east Africa and India to study Islamic history and culture. The trip was sanctioned by Gov. Rick Perry because it is a “state of Texas requirement that sixth-grade world cultures classes as well as high school level world geography and world history classes teach about the impact of Christian, Jewish and Islamic religions and culture on contemporary society.” Bradley tried to further prove his allegation by waving a photo of a group that includes Ewing posing in front of the Taj Mahal, a far cry from the implied suggestion that Ewing wants to turn your neighborhood elementary school into a madrassa.

This is the last straw!  We have got to stop this man from dictating his personal agenda to students across Texas.  Vote Ewing for SBOE!  http://ewingfortexas.com/

Read the story – http://www.theexaminer.com/npps/story.cfm?ID=2707

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Chronical endorses Laura Ewing

Posted by Texas Education on October 13, 2008

Yes, indeedie, the Chron says…

In the race for District 7, the Chronicle endorses veteran educator Laura Ewing. The State Board of Education performs an extremely important function for the state’s school system. It provides direction to Texas schools by adopting policies and setting standards for educational programs. The board is now faced with the task of determining curriculum standards for the state’s new science textbook. The Chronicle believes the best candidate for the District 7 position is veteran educator and former Friendswood City Council member Laura Ewing.

The Chron goes on to say,

One of the board members supporting the “strengths and weaknesses” provision is the vice chairman, David Bradley of Beaumont. Bradley, a Republican representing District 7, which includes parts of the Houston area, contends: “Evolution is not a fact. Evolution is a theory and, as such, cannot be proved. Students need to be able to jump to their own conclusions.”

Ewing, by contrast, says she believes in creationism but thinks it is best discussed in personal religious practice rather than in the classroom. The Chronicle couldn’t agree more.

Yeah, let’s let the kids “jump” to their own conclusions. What an intelligent way to put it.

This certainly is my favorite time of the election, getting closer. The Chronicle, most of the time, endorses MY candidates!!! I also have a special contribution post from the Laura Ewing Campaign on my blog recently.

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

Oh oh, pizza parties illegal at school?

Posted by Texas Education on October 10, 2008

Oh, my gosh. Just when we do something right (praise kids for doing a good job, get excited, reward, etc.) we get a slap on the wrist. Looks like apparently when we hold a party and praise those who passed the test, we single out those who failed it. There is really not much on this story other than the commissioner, Robert Scott, reprimanding the supers that this is what we do, we “single” out the ones who pass the TAKS, or worse, we “single” out those who fail it. Ok, I don’t know about other teachers, but when did a classroom teacher say “ok, Johnny, Susie and Jose get pizza because they passed the test, but David, Mary and Juan don’t because they failed it?” I’m sorry, but I’ve never been in a classroom that does this, and shame on any teacher that would do this, not that I think any teacher would do this, ya’ know. (And just to for the record, I used random names, that I see in classrooms that I teach in, ok?)

Here for the full story from the Valley Morning Star, who the heck is the Valley Morning Star anyway?

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