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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.

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 »

This & That

Posted by Texas Education on April 21, 2009

I know I’ve been a bit AWOL. I’ve been tired, working full time can wear a person out…and, there is a lot going on. Last Tuesday’s City & State had a great article by Lisa Falkenberg, who, I must say, in person, is very funny! She talks about the stimulus money, which I am most interested in due to the fact I hope it gets me gainfully employed! See, they tend to cut out tech stuff, but with some money…well, crossing fingers, anyway! I have to agree with her on this one, she says, “can you still call it ‘stimulus’ if it’s being used for a purpose no more stimulating that maintaining the status quo?”

Also, on that front page is an article on sex ed in the doctor’s office. Talks about mother’s taking their daughters to the gynecologists to do the talking for them. That’s a tough one for me, I have a daughter, 17, so again, this one is a bit near and dear (for lack of a better way to say it.) I don’t wish to comment on that one, don’t know what to say, really. I found this part interesting though:

“If you say: ‘Are you sexually active?’ They say: ‘No, I only have one boyfriend.’ If you ask, ‘Are you having sex?,’ they say no, but when you ask them about the last time they had sex, they say a month ago,” said Sinacori, a Memorial-area obstetrician/gynecologist.

Then on Thursday of last week, Humble filled up the Kingwood/Humble section, well actually the whole section. Front page “An ‘A’ for extra effort.” This talks about how the mentoring program and how successful it is. I believe that, seems like a no brainer, if you put anything into it…should come out positive. One part in the article about Waymond Wesley, the AP at Humble MS, he is quoted as saying:

“I never saw my father, so I learned from others,”

260xstoryGotta say, that pretty much sums up my childhood. (Ok, some may TMI here, but I feel I can talk about my successes just like Mr. Wesley.) I also feel I can connect with some of the students because of my background.  That paragraph goes on to say:

“They conveyed to me that I could do whatever I wanted. The more they shared of themselves, the more confidence I got in myself.”

I don’t even feel I had it THAT good. I was not real good at anything, but I did well in school, but didn’t have anyone to convey anything, share, nor give me confidence. I pretty much did it on my own, looked at role models, etc. Hey, I’m not crying here, just telling it like is was. School was my sanctuary, and I’m thankful for that, and try to make it that way for any student I come across.

Another article with a great mug of Dr. Sconzo! “District finds ways to turn hard issues into success stories.”  Pretty much sums up the article. They didn’t put that one on-line though, sorry!

And rounding out that section, the “Report Card.” The school I’m currently at did extremely well, looks like, most of the schools in Humble did well, also. We must be doing something right, eh?

You can check out your schools “Report Card” here.

Posted in Abstinence Education, financing, FYI, Good Stuff, In-the-news, learning, mentoring, Sex-education | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Take a thorough look

Posted by Texas Education on March 28, 2009

strausThat’s what our lege leader, Joe Straus, said about the SBOE. Wow, likin’ this guy more and more.

The Texas Legislature should “take a thorough look” at changing the structure of the embattled Texas State Board of Education, maybe changing it to a nonpartisan or appointed board, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus told the Star-Telegram Editorial Board Friday.

Straus said: “I think it’s unfair that the State Board of Education makes so much news in the manner that they make it.” Besides the board’s handling of science standards, Straus said, “I have some other concerns about that elected body having so much management authority over significant dollars,” referring to investments of the Permanent School Fund.

He said it would be “interesting” to look at nonpartisan board elections. Straus also brought up changing back to an appointed board.

“I’ve spoken to some people who were leaders in the effort to make it an elected board, and they’re very sorry,” he said.

Wow, I’d like to see that happen. And we get some not so wackos on it this time ’round, maybe say….Laura Ewing?

Posted in FYI, leadership, SBOE | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Udate from Children @ Risk

Posted by Texas Education on March 18, 2009

Uninsured Children Urgently Need Your Help!

Tomorrow, March 19, several critical child health bills will be heard in the House Human Services Committee and we need your support now!. The bills include proposals to provide 12-month eligibility for Medicaid and a Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) buy-in option for families earning above 200 percent of the federal poverty level. These bills could help insure hundreds of thousands of children in Texas!

Contact the Human Services Committee today and urge them to pass these bills favorably on to the House Floor.

More about CHIP

Uninsured children are more likely than their insured counterparts to forego or delay treatment for acute illnesses or injuries, to go without needed treatment for chronic conditions or illnesses.  Uninsured patients create higher health care costs for all. A study by Families USA in 2005 found that employer-sponsored family coverage in Texas costs $1,551 more annually as a result of the uninsured.

When children do not have health insurance, their families are more likely to rely on publicly-supported emergency rooms (ERs) for non-urgent health care. Without the benefit of the federal CHIP or Medicaid matching dollars, local taxpayers end up paying the full costs of caring for uninsured children.

Making sure children have twelve months of continuous coverage saves money. A study by Texas Children’s Health Plan found that the longer a child is enrolled in CHIP, the lower the cost of care per child, since children with chronic conditions are better managed and do not rely on the ER.

Small employers, which are struggling to offer affordable health insurance to their employees, often are unable to offer dependent coverage. CHIP gives parents an affordable option for insuring their children. Keeping kids healthy contributes to higher work productivity because parents do not have to leave work to stay home with a sick child.

CHIP also benefits large employers by reducing cost-shifting resulting from high rates of uncompensated care by hospitals and physicians. All employers, large and small, benefit from promoting a healthy future workforce.

Nearly every state in the country is taking bold steps to reduce the uninsured, starting with children. If Texas is to remain a competitive place to do business, it too must be a leader in increasing affordable health insurance for children. CHIP and children’s Medicaid are a good buy for the state.

Posted in CHIP, FYI, Texas Children | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Teaching “Texas” teachers

Posted by Texas Education on December 11, 2008

Texas Tech lands $3 million grant from Greater Texas Foundation

Now here’s something I can get on board with! Texas Tech University will use a $3 million grant from the foundation to fund a program for current middle school math and science teachers. Twenty-two universities across Texas competed for the $3 million grant. “Improving math and science education is a national imperative,” said Wynn Rosser, executive director of the foundation. “This program is unique in that it aims to improve instruction for teachers who serve underserved student populations as well as provide opportunities for math and science teachers to accomplish several other goals,” Wilhelm also said.

Teachers interested in participating in the program should contact Ms. Wilhelm at 806-742-1997 ext. 229 or e-mail her at jennifer.wilhelm@ttu.edu.

Posted in FYI, Good Stuff, Higher Ed, learning, teachers, teaching | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Humble ISD District Legislative Committee Meeting

Posted by Texas Education on December 3, 2008

Last night I attended the first of many District Legislative Committee meetings. This is the school districts way of getting information out, informing the general (voting) public, and tax payers alike of the insane current funding of our schools. I was totally amazed at the turn out, though I don’t think I should have been. There were approximately 65 people in attendance. Many with anger in their voices. The good kind of anger! The kind that get people motivated, informed and doing something. Not only were there a lot of people at this meeting, but there were some very bright individuals in attendance. People like former Board member, Lynn Fields, Chamber President Mike Byers, many business leaders, PTA/PTO members, principals, teachers and our deceased HISD Board President Jim Eggers’ wife. Dr. Sconzo recognized Mrs. Eggers and reminded all of the dedication of the ISC building at 4810 Magnolia Cove Drive in Kingwood on December 10, 2008 at 3:30 p.m. I’m sorry I must have gotten the date wrong at the meeting, the website says Humble ISD will dedicate the James D. Eggers Instructional Support Center during a special ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 19, at 4810 Magnolia Cove Drive in Kingwood. The community is invited. 

Board members Dan Huberty, Charles Cunningham and Dr. Bonnie Longnion will be heading up this monumental adventure. Our plans are to make and effect plans to involve our community in informing our state elected officials of our needs and to propose needed solutions to the State Legislature for resolving the sate public education funding crisis. Dr. Sconzo and Deputy Superintendent Dr. Cecilia Hawkins developed the following state legislative goals which are being recommended to the full Board for adoption:

  • Increase WADA target revenue to close the significant and inequitable gap that exists among school districts and build in an annual revenue inflation factor.
  • Increase the transportation allotment and provide a realistic inflation factor for needed revenue growth to meet annual inflationary cost increases.
  • As fast growth school districts necessarily serve more students every year, allow for those districts to realize local property tax revenue growth without an equivalent reduction in state aid.
  • Increase the guaranteed yield for Existing Debt Allotment funding and establish this funding as a permanent form of state aid for fast growth school districts.
  • Block any proposed legislation that is an unfunded state mandate.

It is not too late to join our adventure. Our next meeting will be Thursday, January 15, 2009. You can email legislature@humble.k12.tx.us.

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

Speaking of RYHT…

Posted by Texas Education on December 3, 2008

Just got this email from RYHT on 2008 Pre-K Now Conference. Of course, I am a big fan of Early Childhood and recommend attending this event. Also, please do join RYHT, today!

Raise Your Hand Texas is pleased to announce that on December 10, 2008 from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (CT), Former Lt. Governor and Chair of RYHT, The Honorable Bill Ratliff, will join Pre-K Now and the Texas Early Childhood Education Collation (TECEC) on the National 2008 Pre-K Now Satellite Conference. This is a live, interactive event that will be broadcasted through television and the Internet.

The conference theme is “Breaking Down Barriers to Quality Pre-K” and the host is Ray Suarez of the PBS NewsHour.

Former Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff will be an honored guest and will speak on the Texas-specific portion of the conference (presented by TECEC) which begins at 1:45 p.m. (CT). He will be joined by Texas Senators Judith Zaffirini and Leticia Van de Putte, co-authors of the pre-filed Senate Bill 21 which proposes quality full-day pre-k to all currently eligible four-year-olds, a major priority for RYHT. Please also see pre-k House Bill 130, pre-filed by Representative Diane Patrick.

If you are interested in supporting high-quality pre-k, we encourage you to get informed and get involved by attending a conference viewing site in your community.

The following communities offer conference viewing sites:

College Station
Corpus Christi
El Paso
Houston (United Way)
Houston (Harris County)
San Angelo
San Antonio
San Marcos

To learn more about the Pre-K Now 2008 Satellite Conference, visit TECEC Pre-K Now Conference webpage.

Don’t see your community?

If you are interested in hosting a site, please contact Don Titcombe at dtitcombe@tecec.org or 512.476.7939. He can also connect you to those in your community that are hosting viewing sites already.

We hope that many of our members will attend these events or even host a few on their own!


Anne Foster

Anne Foster
Executive Director / Programs

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

Back to School with RYHT (Raise Your Hand for Texas)

Posted by Texas Education on September 5, 2008

RAISE YOUR HAND FOR TEXAS – a non-partisan grassroots advocacy group for public education in Texas invites you to a Back to School with Raise Your Hand Texas celebration of local schools and public education. RYHT is working to support, strengthen, and improve our state’s public schools. Join us – Wednesday, September 10, 2008 6:00 p.m. Terrell ISD Performing Arts Center 400 Poetry Road Terrell, Texas 75160 – Invitation RSVP by contacting Debbie @ 972-563-7504 by 3:00 p.m. Friday September, 5th.

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