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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

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Posted in In-the-news, leadership, learning, say what???, teachers, teen leadership, texas education, Texas schools, Texas State Legislature, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Swine Flu Information and Precautions

Posted by Texas Education on May 1, 2009

From the Texas PTA – tips on how to prepare yourself during this outbreak. I found this information to be very concise.

Swine Flu: What You Can Do
The outbreak of the H1N1 virus (swine flu) continues to grow. As PTA leaders, you can help disseminate factual information to the parents at your school through your newsletters and websites. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has prepared a series of questions and answers entitled Swine Influenza and You at www.cdc.gov/swineflu that you can forward to parents.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that you keep your children home from school if they are sick. The symptoms of swine flu include:
  • Fever (greater than 100°F)
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Stuffy nose
  • Chills
  • Headache and body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
The CDC recommends the following to help you and your family stay healthy:
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Stay home if you get sick. CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
  • Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.
  • Develop a family emergency plan as a precaution. This should include storing a supply of food, medicines, facemasks, alcohol-based hand rubs and other essential supplies.
  • Call 1-800-CDC-INFO for more information.
Swine Influenza and You
What is swine flu?
Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. Swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person, but in the past, this transmission was limited and not sustained beyond three people.
Are there human infections with swine flu in the U.S.?
In late March and early April 2009, cases of human infection with swine influenza A (H1N1) viruses were first reported in Southern California and near San Antonio, Texas. Other U.S. states have reported cases of swine flu infection in humans and cases have been reported internationally as well. An updated case count of confirmed swine flu infections in the United States is kept at http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/investigation.htm. CDC and local and state health agencies are working together to investigate this situation.
Is this swine flu virus contagious?
CDC has determined that this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. However, at this time, it is not known how easily the virus spreads between people.
What are the signs and symptoms of swine flu in people?
The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.
How does swine flu spread?
Spread of this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is thought to be happening in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
How can someone with the flu infect someone else?
Infected people may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 7 or more days after becoming sick. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.
What should I do to keep from getting the flu?
First and most important: wash your hands. Try to stay in good general health. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. Try to not touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Are there medicines to treat swine flu?
Yes. CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with these swine influenza viruses. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms).
How long can an infected person spread swine flu to others?
People with swine influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are symptomatic and possibly up to 7 days following illness onset. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.
What surfaces are most likely to be sources of contamination?
Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air. Germs can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person on a surface like a desk and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.
How long can viruses live outside the body?
We know that some viruses and bacteria can live 2 hours or longer on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks. Frequent handwashing will help you reduce the chance of getting contamination from these common surfaces.
What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?
There is no vaccine available right now to protect against swine flu. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health:
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you get sick with influenza, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
What is the best way to keep from spreading the virus through coughing or sneezing?
If you are sick, limit your contact with other people as much as possible. Do not go to work or school if ill. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Put your used tissue in the waste basket. Cover your cough or sneeze if you do not have a tissue. Then, clean your hands, and do so every time you cough or sneeze.
What is the best technique for washing my hands to avoid getting the flu?
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Wash with soap and water. or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner. We recommend that when you wash your hands — with soap and warm water — that you wash for 15 to 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used. You can find them in most supermarkets and drugstores. If using gel, rub your hands until the gel is dry. The gel doesn’t need water to work; the alcohol in it kills the germs on your hands.
What should I do if I get sick?
If you live in areas where swine influenza cases have been identified and become ill with influenza-like symptoms, including fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea, you may want to contact your health care provider, particularly if you are worried about your symptoms. Your health care provider will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed.
If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others.
If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care.
In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash
In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
Can I get swine influenza from eating or preparing pork?
No. Swine influenza viruses are not spread by food. You cannot get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe.

Posted in H1N1 virus, In-the-news, swine flu, Texas Children, Texas PTA, Texas schools | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Swine Flu – affecting Texas schools

Posted by Texas Education on April 30, 2009

I plan on this being updated as I receive the information. If ya’ll are like me, you are looking everywhere you can for any updates on this thing and how it affects you and your kids, and their schools. Here is information I have received thus far, as of

Thursday, April 30 2009:

Officials confirmed a 22-month-old boy from Mexico City died earlier this week in a Houston-area hospital after traveling with his family to visit relatives in Texas, said the Texas Department of Health Services. In addition to swine flu, the boy had several underlying health problems.

Austin area responds to its 1st probable swine flu case
As swine flu cases spread nationally and a child’s death was reported in Texas on Wednesday, Gov. Rick Perry declared a disaster in the state, and Travis County’s first probable case of swine flu prompted the closing of an Austin preschool.

Fort Worth schools are the latest to close through at least May 8th (and only essential personnel would be working) after confirming one case of swine flu at 1 of its middle schools.

The medical director of the Tarrant County Public Health agency, Dr. Sandra Parker, said during a news conference tonight that one case of the swine flu is confirmed at a Fort Worth middle school.

Tarrant County has 11 probable swine flu cases.

Comal ISD teacher reported with swine flu NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas — A teacher for the Tri-County Adult Education GED Program has symptoms of swine flu. The teacher lives in Guadalupe County.

All sports activities are being postponed at public schools in Texas until May 11, because of the swine flu outbreak.
This means the baseball season is suspended and that regional track championships will be eliminated, according to University Interscholastic League executive director Charles Breithaupt. He told the AP the action was taken on the recommendation of public health officials.

The state’s high school golf and tennis championships are scheduled to begin May 11. The state track meet remains scheduled for May 13-14, but qualifying procedures may have to be changed.

Click here to read the complete press release from the UIL.

Fort Bend County Has Swine Flu Case Episcopal High School Student Has Virus; School Closed
State health officials said one of the 16 Texas cases is in Fort Bend County. The patient is a student from Fort Bend County who attends Episcopal High School in Houston. The head of the school, Ned Smith, confirmed that the school will be closed because one of their students has swine flu.

Websites with more information
http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/swineflu/default.shtm
http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/
http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/investigation.htm
http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/slideshow-swine-flu

Posted in In-the-news, swine flu, Texas schools | 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 »

Texas PTA Action Alert – what you need to know!

Posted by Texas Education on April 7, 2009

Members of Senate Education will be considering a bill to create a voucher program for children with autism on Tuesday of this week.

Please call the following members of the Senate Education Committee and urge them to Oppose SB 1301, SB 183, SB 2204!

What you need to know:
Texas cannot afford to finance private education as well as public education. There are two ways to pay for vouchers-take money from already under-funded public schools or raise taxes. Both are unacceptable.

  • Public policy should respect parental choice but provide for all students. The best public policy is to provide parents with even more choices within the public schools, which serve 94.5% of Texas children. Legislators should concentrate on making all public schools stronger, safer, more challenging and accountable. Public tax dollars should be spent only to improve public schools-not to assist the small number of parents who choose to enroll their children in private academies or religious schools.
  • Inserting the word “private” doesn’t make a school good. There is no proof that private school vouchers would improve students’ academic performance. In fact, students attending private schools under the Milwaukee and Cleveland voucher programs did not outperform their public school peers.
  • Vouchers don’t create a “competitive marketplace.” Competition is based on an even playing field; there is no fair competition when “competitors” play by different rules. Public schools must accept all applicants, private schools don’t. Private schools are not required to provide transportation, special education, bilingual education, free and reduced price lunches, and many other programs that public schools provide.
  • While private school vouchers might cover a portion of the cost of education, many parents would not be able to afford the likely additional costs beyond the amount of the voucher.
  • State and Federal regulations such as IDEA that protect students with special educational needs require the development and maintenance of an educational plan for each student. This right is not guaranteed in private schools.
  • Not all communities have private programs for children with autism, so legislation would create this “opportunity” for a small number of children. Private programs for students with autism in more rural areas of Texas are few in number and therefore not a choice.
  • Special education certification is required for public educators, but not for private school employees. 
  • What you can do:

    Contact the following members of Senate Education and tell them the following:
    Sen. Florence Shapiro, chair @ 512-463-0108 – “I am a member of Texas PTA, with over 600,000 members and I oppose voucher programs such as those proposed in SB 1301, 2204 and 183.”

    Sen. Dan Patrick @ 512-463 0107 – “Please oppose Sb 1301, 2204, and 183. I am a member of Texas PTA, representing the 600,000+ members, and Texas PTA opposes voucher programs.”

    Sen. Kip Averitt @ 512-463 0122 – “Please oppose Sb 1301, 2204, and 183. I am a member of Texas PTA, representing the 600,000+ members, and Texas PTA opposes voucher programs.”

    Sen. Steve Ogden @ 512-463 0105 – “Please oppose Sb 1301, 2204, and 183. I am a member of Texas PTA, representing the 600,000+ members, and Texas PTA opposes voucher programs.”

    Sen. Tommy Williams @ 512-463 0104 – “I am a member of Texas PTA, with over 600,000 members and I oppose voucher programs such as proposed in SB 1301, 2204, and 183.”

    Encourage each Senator:
    Instead of funding a program for students to go to a private school, why not invest in on-going, comprehensive professional development for instructors of students with disabilities such as autism, so that teachers and teaching assistants are better equipped to work with students with special needs? This would be money well spent, money that would be used to improve the training of all teachers of students with disabilities, unlike voucher program funding that would be used for a few students without improving the educational environment for the students left behind. Several bills have been filed this session that create professional development academies and require on-going professional development in best practices related to education for students with special needs. The key is to fund these programs so that all school districts may take full advantage of them.

    Thank you for using your voice to help our kids!

    Posted in financing, In-the-news, Texas PTA, vouchers | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Children @ Risk update – 3/30/09

    Posted by Texas Education on March 30, 2009

    Seems when it rains, it pours. Lots of stuff going on right now. Especially now with the lege. This just in from Children@Risk.

    Tomorrow on Tuesday, March 31st, the House Public Education Committee will hear a number of bills of interest to children in Houston and Texas.  CHILDREN AT RISK has summarized five of those bills which we are monitoring in the areas of child discipline and sex education.  Below are their summaries to better inform you of what’s happening.

    If you have an opinion on one or more of these bills, we encourage you to contact the House Public Education Committee members! You can access their contact information by clicking here.

    School Discipline: Disciplinary Alternative Education Programs (DAEPs) are designed to remove disruptive students from the regular classroom who repeatedly interfere with instruction or commit serious offenses.  The goal of sending students to DAEPs is also to enable them to acquire the knowledge and skills that will enable them to be successful in environments more suited to their needs.  However, DAEPs have been the source of much criticism in the past few years in large part due to the referral process through which students are placed at these campuses and the quality of the instruction and services provided to them.

    HB 171, by Representative Dora Olivo
    Considering Mitigating Factors When Deciding Disciplinary Action
    This bill would require that each school district’s code of conduct specify that consideration of mitigating factors (such as self-defense, lack of intent, etc.) will be given when deciding whether a student is suspended, removed to a DAEP, or expelled. Currently, districts only need to specify whether consideration is given, but not require that consideration of mitigating factors.

    HB 172, by Representative Dora Olivo
    Parent Notification of Disciplinary Action
    In the event that a child is placed in a disciplinary alternative education program, expelled, or placed in a juvenile justice alternative education program, this bill would require parental notification. As a result, school districts must provide written notification to the student on the day action is taken so that the student can deliver the message to the parent; inform the parent of the disciplinary action taken by phone or mail within a specific time frame; include information on both the parent’s and the student’s applicable procedural rights.

    HB 901, by Representative Harold Dutton
    Not involving Law Enforcement Officers in School Conduct

    This bill amends Subchapter A, Chapter 37, Education Code by adding new language to prohibit a school administrator from referring a student to a law enforcement official on the basis of conduct by the student that violates the student conduct code but that the school administrator knows or has reason to know is not a criminal offense.

    Sex Education: Texas receives more federal funding for abstinence-only programs than any other state in the country. In 2007, Texas received $18,213,472 in federal funding. This is 27 percent more than the next highest state. At the same time, Texas has one of the highest rate of births and repeat births to teenage girls in the nation. To learn more visit Education Works.

    HB 741, by Joaquin Castro
    Abstinence-Plus
    This bill amends Section 28.004, Education Code to require Abstinence-Plus sex education in Texas schools. This would require that if Texas schools choose to teach sex education, they must present medically-accurate, age-appropriate information, including information about abstinence, contraception, effective communication, responsible decision-making, and what it really takes to be a parent.

    HB 1567, by Representative Mike Villarreal
    Scientifically Accurate Information
    This bill relates to Abstinence Education programs in public schools.  HB 1567 does not require discussion of condoms or contraceptives, but it does require scientific accuracy if they are discussed—and it prohibits discouraging the use of condoms or contraceptives.

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

    Relationships and rigor

    Posted by Texas Education on March 15, 2009

    Reading David Brooks piece in today’s Houston Chronicle. (Though, that link takes you to the NY times on Thursday – couldn’t seem to find it in the chon.) Don’t even usually blog on Sunday’s, usually everyone is resting up for the week, but I’m pumped, for a number of reasons…I won’t bore you with here.

    When he was a boy, his mother would wake him up at 4:30 to tutor him for a few hours before he went off to school. When young Barry complained about getting up so early, his mother responded: “This is no picnic for me either, Buster.”

    That experience was the perfect preparation for reforming American education because it underlines the two traits necessary for academic success: relationships and rigor.

    I’ve learned, relationships are the key in education. Friday, when I subbed at the school that I taught at last year, I saw some of my former students (a couple that made me earn my $$$) come up to me, big smiles, hugs, the whole nine yards, actually making a scene. Don’t think I wasn’t eating that up!!! Boosted my self-esteem ten – fold. Even though we had difficult times (those two I referred to earlier,) sleeping, checking out stuff we shouldn’t be looking at, at school, let alone in class, etc., they still have a big smile, a hug and warm wishes for me. (Yeah, that’s what we love about teaching.) Asked if I was coming back…I wish!

    We’ve spent years working on ways to restructure schools, but what matters most is the relationship between one student and one teacher. You ask a kid who has graduated from high school to list the teachers who mattered in his life, and he will reel off names. You ask a kid who dropped out, and he will not even understand the question. Relationships like that are beyond his experience.

    This is what really caught me. How true a statement. So, those two young men who I saw in the hall, got a hug from – one even introduced me to his girlfriend – the other came back from California (was worried about him being in gangs when I heard he was going out there) are, still in school, and apparently, doing better than last year. I would have loved to have still been there to watch my students continue to grow, succeed and excel.

    Of course, Brooks goes on to talk about the other side, the rigor.

    As Education Secretary Arne Duncan told me, “We’ve seen a race to the bottom. States are lying to children. They are lying to parents. They’re ignoring failure, and that’s unacceptable. We have to be fierce.”

    Obama’s goal is to make sure results have consequences. He praises data sets that “tell us which students had which teachers so we can assess what’s working and what’s not.” He also aims to reward states that use data to make decisions. He will build on a Bush program that gives states money for merit pay so long as they measure teachers based on real results. He will reward states that expand charter schools, which are drivers of innovation, so long as they use data to figure out which charters are working.

    Brooks sums it up well, “There’s reason to think that this week’s impressive speech will be followed by real and potentially historic action.”

    Posted in accountability, In-the-news, leadership, learning, national education, teachers, teaching | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Texas PTA Legislative Update – Bills of Interest

    Posted by Texas Education on February 16, 2009

    I read about most of the new assignments in the Chron last week. Sorry for not updating sooner. I am certainly pleased and have been hearing of more and more “interesting” appointments that we can be proud of and happy about:

    HOUSE COMMITTEES:
    By the numbers – There are 76 Republicans in the Texas House and 74 Democrats. There are 34 committees. Eighteen (18 ) are chaired by Republicans; 16 are Democrats. Fifteen chairmen are in that position for the first time in their legislative careers. There are more Democrat chairs this session, more African-American chairs (5) and Hispanic chairs (4) than two years ago, and the same number of women chairs (7). The number of urban chairs fell by two, while the number of rural chairs fell by four; that balance is now 23 urban, 11 rural. (Texas Weekly)

    Rep. Rob Eissler, (R) The Woodlands, returns to the chairmanship of Public Education.
    Rep. Jim Pitts, (R) Waxahachie, returns to the chairmanship of Appropriations after losing the chairmanship last session due to his failed attempt to unseat Tom Craddick.

    Over the next few days we will identify legislators to carry Texas PTA legislation in the House. We have been awaiting committee announcements before identifying authors for several bills.

    For a complete list of committee assignments, visit
    http://txpta.org/Legislative%20Articles/2009/February/House%20Committees%202.pdf

    TEXAS PTA DAY AT THE CAPITOL:
    February 26 is fast approaching and Texas PTA is excited to welcome several key legislators and statewide officeholders to the Centennial Rally at the Capitol. Chairman Jim Pitts, House Appropriations, Chairman Rob Eissler, House Public Education, Chairwoman Jane Nelson, Senate Health and Human Services, Commissioner Todd Staples, Agriculture Commission, Commissioner Larry Soward, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

    PRIORITY LEGISLATION:
    SB 61, Booster seat bill, has been referred to Senate Transportation. We expect a hearing in the next 2-3 weeks. We have met with key staff for each member of the committee and anticipate smooth sailing in committee.

    HB 5, statewide smoke-free bill, was referred to House State Affairs. Unfortunately the makeup of this committee is problematic for our issue. Over the next few days we will be working to develop a strategy to deal with this. In the meantime, we hope to move the Senate version of the bill, SB 544, first. It has been referred to Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

    SB 144, sales tax expansion bill, has been referred to the Finance Committee in the Senate. This bill is not Texas PTA’s version of the bill. We are working with the author, Sen. Ellis (D) Houston, requesting a substitution of our bill language. In the meantime, we are beginning meetings next week to identify a House sponsor.

    HB 339, driver training program revision legislation that includes Texas PTA’s cell phone prohibition by driving teens, has not yet been referred to committee. This bill is carried by Rep. Larry Phillips (R) Sherman. Other bills that deal only with the cell phone use prohibition by driving teens, are expected to be filed in both the House and Senate in the next week to 10 days. Both the House and Senate drafts had to be resubmitted for corrections as they contained exemptions that were unacceptable. Rep. Jose Menendez (D) San Antonio, Sherman, and Sen. Tommy Williams (R) The Woodlands.

    LEGISLATIVE REPORTS:
    For information on all the bills being tracked by Texas PTA please click on the following links:

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

    HISD to find new super

    Posted by Texas Education on February 6, 2009

    No, I didn’t miss the boat on this one, just trying to get my ducks in a row here. This came as quite a shocker to me. I don’t envy any school district to have to look for another superintendent, especially the largest in the state. I’m not much up on HISD, at least not much before now. I’m still learning, and feel I (as I teach) always will be.

    Based on what’s been reported in the past, I was taken aback. Things are difficult with Texas Education (and that’s putting it mildly) right now, but I do have hope things will improve, at least from what is buzzing around now. (See yesterday’s post and the federal aid that I hope will see it’s way to our Texas schools. And having to find a new superintendent, well…we wish them all the best.

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

    Is school finance back on the table?

    Posted by Texas Education on February 5, 2009

    Sorry, to be a bit awol lately. There has been lots to rant and rave about, but I’ve been a bit under the weather, makes y0u kinda not want to do much. But, with the brisk weather, along with coughing less and feeling a bit better, onto more important things:

    There is an article out of Austin By Kate Alexander from the AMERICAN-STATESMAN.

    It usually takes a judge to compel Texas lawmakers to tackle the thorny issue of school finance reform.

    But several key legislators say there is no reason to wait for a lawsuit to fix the well-known flaws in how Texas pays for its schools.

    “I would like to get off that treadmill,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, said Wednesday.
    The aim will be to pass legislation that addresses the immediate problems and sets a course to remedy the long-term issues that often land the state in court, Ogden said.

    Education Committee Chairwoman Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, also backed the idea of addressing the fairness issues in the school finance system now.

    Can it be, can it really be true???? Not to say I’ve given up hope, but I feel I’m running out of steam, in more ways than one. Beating your head up against the wall is not my way of encouraging, nor is it fun.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in accountability, completely unbelievable, Ethics, financing, funding, Good Stuff, In-the-news, leadership, texas education, Texas schools | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »