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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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Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing

Posted by Texas Education on April 6, 2009

An upcoming hearing of the Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee will provide advocates an opportunity to give input on proposed legislation. The Committee will discuss various items, including Senate Bill (SB) 750 , SB 751, SB 1520.

When: Tuesday, April 07, 2009, at 9:00 AM.

Where: The Committee will meet in the Senate Chamber of the Texas State Capitol.

Background: The purpose of SB 750, by Sen. Zaffirini, would limit the ability to administer psychoactive medication to persons receiving services in a state school.

The purpose of SB 751, by Sen. Zaffirini, would limit the use of restraints in state schools. SB 751 would prohibit the use of straightjackets, the use of standing orders for restraints, and reporting to the executive commissioner each incident in which a physical or mechanical restraint is administered to a resident.

The purpose of SB 1520, by Sen. Shapleigh, would limit the ability to administer psychoactive medication to persons receiving services in a state school.

These bills address issues identified by the U.S. Department of Justice, during their investigation into Texas’ 13 state schools.

You can watch the Senate Health and Human Committee online at http://www.senate.state.tx.us/bin/live.php and check on the progress of the hearings at http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/Senate/Events.htm. You may also contact the Senate Health and Human Services Committee Coordinator at (512) 463-0360 (for TDD call 1-800-735-2989) for more information.

More Details on Attending Senate Hearings:

Persons with disabilities who plan to attend these meeting and who may need assistance, such as a sign language interpreter, are requested to contact the Senate Committee Coordinator at (512) 463-0070 at least 72-hours prior to the meeting so appropriate arrangements can be made.

The Texas Senate has an assistive listening system available to the public in the Senate Chamber and Senate Committee hearing rooms. Personal listening devices may be checked out in the Secretary of the Senate’s office, Room 2E.22 of the Capitol Building.

Those wishing to give public testimony need to limit prepared remarks to three minutes. If submitting written testimony, please submit 20 copies, with your name on each copy, to the Committee during the hearing.

If you cannot travel to Austin to attend the hearing in person, you can still express your opinion by sending an email or fax to the members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. To get the contact information for these members, go to http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/Senate/commit/c610/c610.htm.

For more information on how to be an effective advocate, visit TCDD’s Advocacy 101: Making Your Voice Heard.

This announcement has been provided by the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities

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Humble ISD school board elections

Posted by Texas Education on March 19, 2009

School board elections will be coming up on us shortly, May 9th.  Last year I became involved in it more than I ever had before. We had quite a few vying for Jim Eggers position last year. This year will be totally different. We have 3 incumbents, Dan Huberty Position 1, Email Mr. Huberty’s profile, Keith Lapeze Position 2, Email Mr. Lapeze’s profile and Bonnie Longnion Position 3, Email Dr. Longnion’s profile.  Mr. Lapeze has a challenger, Aquarius Terry Johnson and Dr. Longnion is being challenged by Vernon Reed, 45, a business manager of a paralegal firm who previously ran in the 2008 special election for the vacant Position 5 seat, losing to Brent Engelage. At this time, I feel running against an incumbent would be an up hill battle. Unless the trustee is totally incompetent, and in this case I don’t feel that is true, it would be a huge waste of time, money and resources.

A candidate forum will be held Tuesday, March 31, at 7p.m. at the Administration Building, 20200 Eastway Village. It is being hosted by the Humble ISD Council of PTA’s and the Humble Association of Texas Professional Educators.

Questions you may want to ask school board candidates.

  1. In what areas are our schools doing well? Not doing so well? And what are your plans to improve those areas?
  2. What are the biggest challenges facing our schools and what are your plans to address them.?
  3. How will you ensure our students graduate with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed?
  4. How will you meet the needs or diverse students regardless of culture, language or abilities?
  5. What will you do to help keep children in school and engaged in the learning process?
  6. What are you doing to address the drop out issue in our district?
  7. How will you attract recruit and retain good teachers in the classrooms?
  8. How will you ensure that all children get a good start in school?
  9. How will you help children transition from elementary to middle school and then from middle school into high school and from high school into higher education or the workforce?
  10. What will you do to advocate and ensure support for public education in our community?
  11. What are you doing to address our fast growth district?

You can read more about the races here. Early voting begins April 27.

Dan Huberty

Dan Huberty

Keith Lapeze

Keith Lapeze

Dr. Bonnie Longnion

Dr. Bonnie Longnion

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Sound familiar?

Posted by Texas Education on March 19, 2009

‘Rally in Tally’ to support education

DAYTONA BEACH — Dozens of Volusians will travel to Tallahassee on Wednesday in an attempt to persuade Florida lawmakers the state’s public schools need better funding.

The rest sounds about like our mess. I figure President Obama will hopefully change a lot of this going on. We may not rebound as soon as everyone would like, but if we educate our young better, maybe we won’t get into these messes. Ya think?

While the PTA took the lead in organizing this week’s rally, representatives of other education-related groups also are joining the effort, including presidents of unions that represent Volusia teachers and school office workers.

Those groups spearheaded a local campaign that collected more than 100,000 pennies to highlight a proposal from the Florida Education Association, their state affiliate, to increase the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent for three years to raise more money for education.

Are we up to the task?

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Humble ISD District Legislative Committee

Posted by Texas Education on January 16, 2009

I attended last nights 2nd meeting of the Humble ISD District Legislative Committee. Of course, the purpose of this meeting is to bring awareness to the general public and the Texas Legislature, the concerns of the district (as well as all other districts in Texas) concerning funding (or lack thereof) for the school districts of Texas. Since my main purpose of blogging is educating those on Texas education, my reasons for working with such a group. Last nights attendance was not nearly a great as the first meeting, but I must say, for those in attendance, a great group of people determined to help our children get the education deserving of each and every child in the state of Texas, especially those in Humble.

Last night, the Board Legislative Committee Chair Charles Cunningham and board member Dan Huberty briefed the committee on legislative happenings since the first meeting of the District Legislative Committee.

Members met in combined sub-committees and generated the following action plans:

Targeted Message/Written Message

Margaret Fraissinet and sub-committee members reported:

  • The targeted message will be articulated around WADA (weighted daily average attendance) inequity.
  • Over the next week, he committee will develop a simple slogan and a summary of concerns regarding the broken state funding system.
  • The reality of no new revenue for local school district from any new local taxes due to new properties on the tax roll or higher appraised property values will be included.

The targeted message will define what the broken state funding system “means to me.”

Community Communications/Partnerships

Nancy Morrison and sub-committee members reported:

On a monthly basis,

  • The committee will take the targeted message and publish editorials in the newspapers.
  • Identify and compile a contact listing of community organizations for communication purposes.
  • Communicate and provide community organizations with draft communications and contact information that can be used for communicating to state elected officials.
  • Develop and establish a blog

Austin Visits

Allan Griffin and sub-committee members reported:

  • The committee will attempt to get high school(s) Government classes, Student Council representatives, etc. to organize a learning field trip to Austin during this legislative session. Before going to Austin, students will be informed about Education issues and problems facing the Legislature, especially targeting school finance.
  • Work with Karen Collier to prepare and share a talking points and information packet to be used when in Austin visiting with legislators and their education aides/chiefs of staff.
  • Identify “freshman” legislators and Education and Finance/Appropriations committee member legislators as key contacts for communications, in addition to our local state senators and representatives.

Upcoming events:

The North Houston Chambers of Commerce Day at the Capital
Tuesday, February 10th

The Humble Area Chamber of Commerce has reserved a small block of rooms for February 9th and those going up then will convene for dinner. On February 10th, there will be a luncheon for all with legislators at a cost of $37.50.

The State PTA Day at the Capital
Thursday, February 26th

There will be a rally on the south steps of the Capital at 11 am that morning and at approximately 1:30 pm, we will host a reception for our legislators and all from Humble ISD there.

Finally, please mark your calendar for our next District Legislative Committee meeting.

Thursday, February 12th 6:30 pm
Administration Building – Board Room

If you are interested in joining this group, you can contact; guy.sconzo@humble.k12.tx.us, or for updates here, or the school website.

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Tragedy strikes Humble ISD again

Posted by Texas Education on August 21, 2008

This is very sad news. Mark Hulley who worked at Kingwood High School died today. I understand he was taken by ambulance. I do not know any more than that right now. He has 9 children. He will be missed by so many. What is also so tragic for our school district is that we have had 6 major deaths related to our school. Four involving Kingwood High School, along with th deaths of Mr. Eggers (school board member) and Mr. Johnson (principle at Humble.) All in the span of one year. This is just terrible news. My heart and prayers go out to all of Kingwood and the Humble ISD family.

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Property tax cap leaves schools reeling

Posted by Texas Education on August 16, 2008

This from the Bond Buyer, the daily newspaper of public finance. This article is hard to read. It cuts to the core of what everyone has been saying for a long time now. It really gets to the meat of the issue of school finance. I have to admit, when searching out data, to post and to learn and gain powerful information, I got this from our own Humble ISD website. I don’t check it that often, but today I did and read up on this article from the Bond Buyer. See for yourself:

Two years ago, Texas lawmakers passed the largest property-tax relief package in the state’s history. This year, Texas school districts are the ones begging for relief as operating costs soar but revenues remain capped under the new funding formula.

Five months before the next legislative session, coalitions are forming, with homeowners and landowners challenging the state’s businesses to carry more of the tax load for the struggling schools. At the same time businesses are complaining about tax bills that have risen 500% for some.

The article goes on to explain some of the devastation we are up against.

Complicating matters further are rising home foreclosures, the prospect of weak growth in property tax bases, a constitutional prohibition against a state property tax, lack of a state income tax that could simplify the formula, and public confusion about how school financing works, officials say. Thus, Texas is left to equalize per-pupil expenditures across 1,031 school districts that range from third-world poor to astronomically wealthy. And the districts lie in 121 tax appraisal districts led by elected tax assessor-collectors whose assessments face annual challenges.

This is really good:

“If Texas financed roads the way it finances schools, you wouldn’t have a road in front of your house,” said former state legislator and Republican gubernatorial candidate Ray Hutchison, partner and bond counsel at Vinson & Elkins LLP. In 2006, Vinson & Elkins led a coalition of 18 law firms seeking to mitigate the impact of a new business tax law on their partnerships.

What supers had to say at the summit:

At an education finance summit in Austin last week, school superintendents expressed alarm over faltering funding that’s forcing some to dip into their reserves in a form of deficit spending.

“The most compelling statement from this summit was: ‘We need help!’ ” consultant Joe Smith, a former Hudson Independent School District superintendent, wrote on his Web site TexasISD.com. “The financial situation of our schools is worse than you think.” “When a superintendent makes the statement, ‘We need help,’ he is saying that he sees something he cannot handle alone,” Smith wrote. “He also understands before making the statement that some may conclude that the superintendent is the problem. This may account for the silence on the subject.”

Indeed, school administrators say they must bear the wrath of taxpayers when taxes rise or when school services decline, even though they have no role in appraising property. This same constituency must approve bond issues for burgeoning schools, even though approval might mean higher taxes. In a pinch, districts must ask voters to, essentially, surrender the tax relief they received under HB 1 in 2006.

And of course it goes on and on and on…

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What’s going on?¿?¿

Posted by Texas Education on June 24, 2008

I’m baaaccckkkk!!! I’ve been awol for a couple of days. (And now that you have the Marvin Gaye song in your head…if not, you do now) I’ve been busy cleaning, busting up concrete and building a fence. Yes, I’m muti-talented, indeed!! Soon, I will be a contributing writer for TexasKaos. Look for me there. Talk about getting in over my head, I only hope to rise to the top 😉

Lately I’ve been running into friends, acquaintances and former students (from my subbing days) and they either don’t know I was at KPark, or don’t know I’m no longer at KPark. A dear friend, who is no exception, I saw tonight, (on my way to seeing Get Smart, a must see, hilarious) asked me if I like teaching. Oh my, my I told her I love it. It’s probably the most difficult thing (other than giving birth — twice) but also the most rewarding (also like having children) that I’ve ever done. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I miss my kids, and will miss teaching, if I will not be teaching web or dtp or even teen leadership come fall, and I will be highly disappointed, to say the least. Now,

on to what is news…

I have it on good authority that the lege is in fact putting the education issue on the agenda come January. I also have it on good faith that Dr. Lawrence Kohn, principal at Atascocita High School, has left in order to accept the position at Sam Houston State University that he had previously interviewed for. I decided to post this because it seems everyone I talk to has not heard. We wish him all the best. I just wonder who will take the position, a daunting task, no doubt.

I just want to say those who have welcomed me to the blog-o-sphere, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I feel like I’ve joined a family and I’m continually learning — this, a new “trade.”

Stick with me…more later…

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Paul Burka reports on the The Superintendents’ Conference

Posted by Texas Education on June 14, 2008

Great work Paul. He is saying what I’ve been hearing for the last 2-3 years. See Paul’s blog on Friday, June 13, 2008.

Paul says,”The leadership of the state cares more about tax cuts than public education. They have set up a financing system that is designed to strangle education: All of the new money is dedicated funds, like the high school initiative, and there is nothing to cover inflation in the cost of health insurance, utilities, and fuel. As a result, school districts are having to dip into their reserves. Education is no longer funded by formulas; instead it’s “hold-harmless.” The public is unaware of this because the media haven’t covered it.”

This is so so true. This is really the basis for my blog. This is ridiculous. I only hope people are listening and learning, and will educate themselves on the candidates, and vote with their hearts and souls. I’ve only gotten to teach for two years now. As difficult as it has been learning new procedures, politics, dealing with colleagues, parents, learning about ARD’s, special ed -lingo, paperwork, students – building lesson plans, putting those plans in the classroom, grading, the grading systems (a nightmare!!,) learning the school’s software, new software to teach, dealing with administrators, and the kids, those kids, as difficult as all that may have been (to the tune of about 100 hours a week, most weeks, just ask my family) I loved it, I still love it. It’s hard to imagine putting myself into anything else like I have my teaching. Ok, enough about me and my dilemmas, more on what Paul had to say:

“Perry and Craddick are no friends of pub ed; they will want to use the surplus for tax cuts rather than for schools.”

People are you hearing this??? I loved using quotes for my calendars for my classes. There are so many amazing, inspiring quotes, I started putting them on my calendars everyday. Trying to be as uplifing as I possibly could. The one that keeps coming to mind lately, by Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” This could not be more true than right now, and there are even more inspiring quotes by Mahatma Gandhi. Back to Mr. Burka, he summarizes by saying,

“To wrap up: I hope that the state’s leadership realizes what is happening to the schools and responds accordingly. But I’m not optimistic that they will.”

And I agree.

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Welcome!

Posted by Texas Education on June 4, 2008

Today I finished my year at Kingwood Park High School where I taught Webmastering and Desktop Publishing to 9th and 10th graders. It was a sad day, no doubt. But, (and that’s a big but) I’m embarking on a new adventure. I’ve decided that the state of Texas schools (no pun intended, or maybe so) is so ridiculous, I would put information out there for parents, students, interested souls, and even our dog gone legislaturesss to take in and make some better choices, where our Texas children’s education is concerned.  Some may not like what I have to say, but that’s just too bad.  Seriously, I do hope to inform, educated (again, no pun,) and enlighten more than predict, or thrust my opinion upon, but there are no guarantees, I must say. This is my first blog on my first new blog and I will be awol tomorrow, as I will be heading off for the Teen Leadership training (where my passion lies.) I hope to come home to some hits! Your thoughts, ideas and criticisms are surely welcome!

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