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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 »

Legislative session finished…for now!

Posted by Texas Education on June 4, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WADA gap widens under HB 3646

Posted by Texas Education on May 20, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maplebrook is clear to reopen Wednesday May 6, 2009

Posted by Texas Education on May 5, 2009

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

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

Texans Care for Children

Posted by Texas Education on May 4, 2009

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

tcfc

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

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

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

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

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

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

###

Christine Sinatra

Communications Director

Texans Care For Children

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

814 San Jacinto, Suite 201

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


Raising awareness to make children a public priority

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


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

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

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

Posted by Texas Education on May 4, 2009

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

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

You can monitor progress by viewing House proceedings here:

Take Action Now!

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

Update on Legislative Committee 4/29/09

Posted by Texas Education on April 29, 2009

A memo from Dr. Sconzo:

Both the State Senate and House have approved appropriations bills for the biennium and both bills have new additional funds for public education ranging form 2.3 to nearly 3 billion. HOWEVER, those funds are contingent on passage of a new funding mechanism bill (ie. SB 982 – HB 1550) and neither of those bills have been voted out of committee yet! SO, we continue to write and visit with Senate and House Education Committee members and your doing likewise in support of SB 982 and HB 1500 would be of SIGNIFICANT help!

It is important to note that there are two other funding mechanism bills that were introduced…in the Senate Education Committee there is SB 2392 introduced by Chairwoman Shapiro and in the House Education Committee there is HB 3646 introduced by Rep. Hochberg. These are not companion bills and they provide insufficient information to know whether or not they would be good for us!

So, we need to stay the course on loud and repetitive support for SB 982 and HB 1550!

One other bill we are getting busy voicing our support for is SB 2374. This bill would raise the funding availability to school districts for the “Existing Debt Allotment.” This is the state funding provided to pay down bond debt. Its funding that has not been increased in a number of years and to us, this bill is the equivalent of 7 cents on our debt tax rate! SO, absent this essential increase, state legislators would cause the need for an increase in local property taxes to just keep pace in paying off bond debt! PLEASE send messages to state elected officials that SB 2374, in effect, means property tax relief!

Thanks Dr. Sconzo for all your hard work!

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

House bill 2476 is a critical bill for children

Posted by Texas Education on April 28, 2009

This in from Children at Risk:

House bill 2476, by Representative Dora Olivo, will be heard TODAY in the House Public Education committee. We urge you to contact members of the House Public Education Committee, and in particular Chairman Rob Eissler, to express your support of this bill immediately!  Specifically request that they vote the bill favorably from committee.  By doing so, the bill will more quickly make its way to the House Floor.

House bill 2476 is a critical bill for children this 81st Texas Legislative Session because it improves discipline strategies in public schools by mandating staff development in effective discipline strategies.  Such training will empower teachers with conflict resolution techniques, positive behavior management, classroom management, and intervention strategies for students exhibiting behavioral difficulties.  The bill also requires that data be reported on how many students each school refers to disciplinary alternative education program.  Collecting this information will allow districts to idenitfy where staff training is most needed.

You can help ensure that HB 2476 makes it to the House Floor, by contacting members of the committee in support of this important bill.  This is a critical step in the legislative process, and we need your help to ensure HB 2476 gets passed this session!

Talking Points: I support HB 2476 because it it improves discipline strategies in public schools by require staff development in effective discipline strategies.
Students referred to alternative disciplinary settings have five times the dropout rate of mainstream schools and one in three juveniles sent to the Texas Youth Commission are school dropouts.This bill will encourage the commissioner to develop and make available age-appropriate disciplinary management training for teachers at all grade levels that includes: conflict resolution techniques, positive behavior management, class management, and intervention strategies for students exhibiting behavioral difficulties.By equipping teachers and school administrators with training in areas that focus on how to identify the causes of and potential solutions to behavioral problems, as well as how to effectively communicate with students and their parents, the likelihood of behavior escalating to referable offenses may be decreased. In improving its approach to disciplinary management, Texas can increase the chances that its students will graduate from high school and succeed in life.

Take Action!
Instructions: Click the icon below to take action on this issue:

Tell-A-Friend: Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this. Tell-a-Friend! What’s At Stake: Zero tolerance policies in Texas schools have caused thousands of juveniles to be removed from their classrooms and sent to alternative disciplinary settings. As a result of these alternative placements, many students fall behind their peers academically and are led to the criminal justice system.

FACTS:

  • Texas pays approximately $164 more per person to support a dropout each year than to educate them while that child was in school.
  • Among “risk factors” commonly associated with future involvement in the juvenile justice system, the most important predictor is a history of school disciplinary referrals.

HB 2476 is consistent with CHILDREN AT RISK’s recommended policy changes to:

  • Require staff development programs to include training in discipline strategies, including classroom management, district discipline policies, and the student code of conduct.
  • Encourage the commissioner to develop and make available age-appropriate disciplinary management training for teachers at all grade levels that includes: conflict resolution techniques, positive behavior management, class management, and intervention strategies for students exhibiting behavioral difficulties.
  • Improve data collection of discipline management stategies.

Campaign Expiration Date: May 1, 2009

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

Major Sex Education Legislation in House Public Education Committee

Posted by Texas Education on April 1, 2009

Lege update from TFN:

Deeply flawed abstinence-only programs that have a stranglehold on sexuality education in Texas have failed our families for more than 13 years. Yesterday, however, the House Public Education Committee held a public hearing on two bills that would dramatically improve sexuality education in Texas schools:

  • HB 1567 by Rep. Mike Villarreal, D – San Antonio, requires scientific accuracy in all classroom materials or discussions involving condoms or other forms of contraception and disease prevention, and it prohibits instructors or materials from discouraging their use. Click here to read more about this bill.
  • HB 741 (“Education Works” bill) by Rep. Joaquin Castro,  D – San Antonio, requires that sexuality education classes in Texas public schools include comprehensive, or “abstinence-plus,”  information about condoms and other forms of contraception and disease prevention. Click here to read more about this bill.

TFN joined a number of health education professionals and grassroots supporters who testified in support of these important bills yesterday. In fact, speakers supporting responsible sexuality education far outnumbered opponents determined to keep teens ignorant of the information they need to make important life decisions. (Read TFN’s press release about these bills.)

Now it’s important to persuade committee members to approve these bills and send them to the full House for consideration.

Take Action!

Contact House Public Education Committee members and express your support for HB 1567 and HB 741. Encourage the members to vote in support of these two bills. Remind them that Texas has one of the highest teen birth rates in the country. Teens need medically accurate information about responsible pregnancy and disease prevention to protect themselves.

You can send e-mails to House Public Education Committee members by clicking on their names below: Rep. Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, Chair

Rep. Scott Hochberg, D-Houston, Vice Chair

Rep. Alma Allen, D-Houston

Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen

Rep. Harold V. Dutton, Jr., D-Houston

Rep. Joe Farias, D-San Antonio

Rep. Jim Jackson, R-Carrollton

Rep. Dora Olivo, D-Rosenberg

Rep. Diane Patrick, R-Arlington

Rep. Mark Shelton, R-Fort Worth

Rep. Randy Weber, R-Pearland

Stay informed on this and other key issues by subscribing to TFN Daily News Clips.

Donate to TFN and help us stand up for quality public education in Texas.

Posted in Abstinence Education, Sex-education, texas education | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Texas State Board of Education Adopts Flawed Science Standards

Posted by Texas Education on March 27, 2009

Email from TFN (Texas Freedom Network) on the SBOE. A victory, no doubt, but we must stay cautious, at best. The update:

Just a short while ago, the Texas State Board of Education voted on new public school science standards that publishers will soon use to craft new science textbooks. This long-awaited decision is the culmination of TFN’s two-year Stand Up for Science campaign.

The good news is that the word “weaknesses” no longer appears in the science standards — this is a huge victory for those of us who support teaching 21st-century science that is free of creationist ideology.

The bad news is the final document still has plenty of potential footholds for creationist attacks on evolution to make their way into Texas classrooms.

Through a series of contradictory and convoluted amendments, the board crafted a road map that creationists will almost certainly use to pressure publishers into putting phony arguments attacking established science into textbooks. As TFN Communications Director Dan Quinn told the New York Times: “The State Board of Education pretty much slammed the door on ‘strengths and weaknesses,’ but then went around and opened all the windows in the house.”

What’s truly unfortunate is that we will have to revisit this entire debate in two years when new science textbooks are adopted in Texas.

While we did not succeed in ending this debate once and for all, I am extremely proud of the work we did together on this Stand Up for Science Campaign. Your testimony, calls and e-mails over these past months really made a difference in the outcome of this science debate — and the students of Texas are better off for it.

I sincerely hope you will consider participating in the last day of our Stand Up for Science matching gift challenge. Double your gift’s impact to TFN Education Fund by contributing today!

As you know, hostility toward science persists in our state. From stem cell research to responsible sex education, crucial public policies hang in the balance. As always, TFN will carry your support for mainstream values and sound science to our elected leaders.

Sincerely,

Kathy's Signature

Kathy Miller
President

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