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Posts Tagged ‘Austin ISD’

State law, books are required to have covers????

Posted by Texas Education on August 29, 2008

Wow, I’m scratching my head on this one. Did you know that? I sure didn’t. That there is a state law that all books must have book covers?

State law says that “each textbook, other than an electronic textbook, must be covered by the student under the direction of the teacher.” It does not require school districts to supply students with said cover.

What? This is a law? If you don’t cover your books, what happens? I just thought the schools did that to “protect” the books to enable them to last a bit longer. Wow, a state law??? No wonder the other states laugh at us every time we turn around. This article doesn’t have the title mine does, because apparently the press already new it was a law. Am I the only one who didn’t know this? Their title, “No paper bags for these school books, Austin school district to spend nearly $30,000 on new book covers after supply of free ones dries up.” Even that is enough to make you take a double look. Districts paying $30,000-$100,000 for…book covers? And we wonder why those not associated with education accuse us of misappropriating funds.

I watched my daughter put a Hollister paper bag on one of her books, just last night. Oops, is she breaking the law? I hope not.

Here are a couple of responses to this article:

This is just one more example of why I will NOT vote for an increase in school (i.e. my property) taxes. Use brown paper bags, the ways legions of school children have for decades. When you waste the taxpayer’s money, it’s no wonder you always need another tax increase. Vote NO on new school taxes.

and…

State law says that “each textbook, other than an electronic textbook, must be covered by the student under the direction of the teacher.”
Boy, I hope the penalty for failure to comply doesn’t involve jail time for teachers because this law is not being enforced in Round Rock or Taylor. If someone presses this issue, then at least two districts–and I suspect many more–just lost all their staff.

I am just not going to sleep well tonight.

Full story here if you dare to look.

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Posted in bizzare, In-the-news, ummm... | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Voting on “rollback” elections

Posted by Texas Education on August 28, 2008

Things certainly are gearing up, educational wise. And I’m not just talking about school starting. Much abuzz with budgets (or should I say cuts) going on, on an ongoing basis (say that three times fast,) gun toting teachers, drumming up dollars by advertising on buses and the like, building and opening of new schools (major growth,) and of course, the dreaded “rollback” elections that are about to commence. The decision to increase the tax will go to voters most likely after the November general elections because the districts did not receive their certified tax values from the county appraisal district in time for the deadline. There is still no firm commitment by our district, and some others, as to whether or not it will be become an issue, but everything sure seems to point to that happening.

I’m hearing a lot of buzz that it might not pass. I too have struggled with this. I’m seeing a lot of funds misappropriated, clubs and organizations being funded by the district that should not have been funded by the district, and more. But, and considering I lost my job because of budget cuts, many more will go by the wayside due to more cuts. Our district is not the same as it was when we moved here almost to the day, 10 years ago.

It’s being reported that we, Alief and North Forest are expected to vote this week on whether or not to hold the elections. Austin, Corpus Christi have already made the decision this week, and Galena Park is the only district that sought an increase last year, and it passed, which is surprising to me.

Here is an editorial to help understanding of the school roll-back elections.

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Sex education classes for teachers

Posted by Texas Education on August 14, 2008

What?? Are you kidding me?? Just when you think you have heard it all, OMG! Actually, it’s not as bad as it sounds. It really is just explaining some “common sense” behaviors for teachers. Yeah, yeah, I know, teachers should know this stuff. But, the way technology is, and how it is advancing along with all the scandals (possibly lack of some self-control) it might be wise to study up on some critical advise. I know it sounds crazy, but with all the myspace, text and IM messaging, people can get caught up. Just making teachers aware of some of the do’s and don’ts of how not to cross the line when trying to help some of these lost souls. I’d take the class if it was offered!

It’s a class every new teacher within AISD must take called: how to maintain a professional relationship with a student and avoid any instances of misconduct, sexual or otherwise.

“It’s not about child abuse,” said AISD police Lt. Silas Griggs. “It’s not about the age of the child. It’s about the relationship between the educator and the student. It’s about the educator’s ability to manipulate the student.”

That is the message AISD is trying to teach teachers before an incident ever arises. Teachers must avoid creating too personal of a relationship with a student. That includes no physical misconduct and no inappropriate contact via e-mail, text message or social networking sites.

“We are trying to teach them to not give out their personal contact information, not to make them their friends on ‘Facebook’ or ‘Myspace,'” said AISD attorney Ylise Janssen.

Janssen said she tells all new teachers that any web surfing or e-mail writing they do on District computers is not confidential and it’s not private.

Other inappropriate behavior includes text messaging a student late at night or instant messaging about anything not school related.

“This is so they’re not in a position to come back later and say ‘I just didn’t know,’ ” she said. “They know when they leave our trainings that it’s serious business.”

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The trouble with abstinence in Texas Schools

Posted by Texas Education on July 26, 2008

From statesman.com a plethora of sex education articles of the abstinence vs. comprehensive sex – ed.

Austin High School student Candice Briggins, 17, teaches life skills to teens at the Rosewood Recreation Center as part of her summer internship with Planned Parenthood. Girls need to know ‘that we have stuff we can protect ourselves with,’ Briggins says. The following video is interesting, to say the least. Here is just a sampling of the article, that I found veeerrrryyyy interesting.

Twenty-two states have rejected money from Title V — one of three abstinence education programs funded by the federal government — opting instead for a more comprehensive approach to sex education.

Yet the money keeps coming from Washington. In December, Congress voted to continue funding Community-Based Abstinence Education, which has given more than $519.6 million to public and private abstinence providers since 2001. Last year alone, Texas received $6.2 million from the program.

Another $50 million in Title V funding was scheduled to end June 30 but was extended by Congress last week.

All told, the programs have cost the federal government more than $1.1 billion since 1982, when the first funding for abstinence began, according to federal officials. Texas has spent more than any other state: almost $117 million, including $32.4 million of its own money. New York, the second biggest recipient of Title V funds, directed $13.5 million to abstinence programs in 2007, compared with Texas’ $17 million.

“We have been spending a significant amount of money for a number of years on abstinence-only programs,” said Sarah Wheat, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Texas Capital Region. “I think you really have to question why our politicians continue to spend money on programs that are ineffective.”

A change in Texas’ policy does not appear likely. Along with Eissler, the chairman of the House committee, “the governor is comfortable with the current law and supports abstinence programs,” said Allison Castle, a spokeswoman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

The conservatives just keep preaching and telling and the general public, students included, aren’t doing what they want them to do, so, you need to E-D-U-C-A-T-E. Bottom line. Kids are kids, adolescents are adolescents. Much better to educate, along with explaining “JUST DON’T DO IT.” And, you have done the best you can. Any kid who has the facts, has self-worth, has goals, hopefully will make the right decisions. Give them the tools they need to make informed decisions. Conservatives don’t give kids enough credit. Tell them not to, hey, I was told by a very good friend (helping me with class management,) he said, “tell a kid NOT to do something…and that’s exactly what they WILL do.” Good advice!!!

Some interesting quotes from my friend Garnet Coleman:

A number of health professional organizations, from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the American Medical Association, urge that abstinence-only programs be abandoned for comprehensive sex education. The American Public Health Association recommends that such instruction begin in kindergarten.

The Texas education code does not require public schools to offer sex education. But if they do, it must be abstinence-focused, and instruction about contraceptives is couched in terms of how often they fail, according to language added to the code in 1995.

State Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, said he co-authored the legislation in 1995 with Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, at a time when he feared conservative state officials would abandon sex education completely. It was not meant to eliminate comprehensive sex education in Texas schools, he said.

“I think the interpretation has morphed into abstinence-only, which is not our policy,” Coleman said. “If I could fix anything, it’d be to make the law more instructive to say, ‘This is what you can teach’ ” about contraceptives.

Here are more articles from statesman.com:

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Legislative Update – ATPE

Posted by Texas Education on June 27, 2008

this just in from ATPE…

6-26-08 ATPE files suit to protect educator privacy

ATPE filed a lawsuit June 23 against the Austin Independent School District and the Office of the Texas Attorney General to prevent the release of educators’ personal information to local media outlets. Since news of the lawsuit broke, ATPE has heard from many educators applauding the association for taking a stand on educators’ rights:

•One blogger wrote: “I’m a member of one of the other teacher organizations here in Texas (we don’t have unions per se, and are a right-to-work state), but I am thankful that the ATPE has filed this suit to keep the results of teacher background checks from becoming subject to release under the state’s public records laws.”

•One member reported cutting out an article about the lawsuit from The Dallas Morning News and saving it to share at her district’s new-teacher orientation and with campus representatives. (Read the Associated Press article on the lawsuit at www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/5852522.html.)

•Another member wrote: “I [was] aware that we educators will be fingerprinted sometime in the near future, but I did not consider that the background check could be public knowledge. I wholly support the [background check] process to protect all of us, but as your [op-ed at atpe.org] states, all of us deserve privacy. Thank you for your diligence!”

ATPE decided to file the lawsuit after Austin ISD was unsuccessful in its attempt to convince the attorney general’s office to reverse a decision requiring the release of information from Austin ISD employees’ recently completed criminal background checks. Austin ISD is the first district to complete the new criminal background check process mandated by Senate Bill (SB) 9, which was passed by the Legislature in 2007.

In filing the lawsuit, ATPE hopes to protect the privacy of all Texas educators. Although ATPE believes strongly in the use of background checks to identify school personnel whose past convictions indicate that their presence endangers the safety of students and faculty, we do not believe that releasing this personal data serves any public good. If released, the information would make no distinction between serious and minor offenses or distinguish between recent or long-past events. Nor would it discriminate between unfounded arrests and arrests that led to prosecution.

School districts across Texas will complete the SB 9-mandated background checks over the course of the next three years. Because the process raises many questions for educators—from questions of procedure to questions of privacy—ATPE has created a Fingerprinting Resource Center for Texas educators at www.atpe.org/Resources/educators/fingerprintingResources.asp. The resource center contains information about fingerprinting procedures, the history of SB 9 and privacy concerns, and ATPE will also post updates on the lawsuit there. Please share this link with your colleagues.

6-25-08 ATPE testifies against granting state funds to private schools to recover dropouts

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) held a hearing today on a controversial commissioner’s rule that would allow the agency to award grants to schools, including private schools, that identify dropouts and help them receive high school diplomas or achieve college readiness. ATPE has long opposed any program or initiative that directs public funds to private schools and testified at the hearing to outline our concerns about the plan. ATPE is concerned because:

•The plan would send public funds to private schools that are not accountable to the state or taxpayers.

•The plan does not contain safeguards to prevent parents from using this program to remove their children from public schools and send them to private schools.

•The plan does not require private schools to offer services that are research-based.

•The state would have no mechanism for sanctioning private schools under the Dropout Recovery Pilot Program..

View ATPE’s testimony in its entirety at www.atpe.org/advocacy/lan/dropoutRecoveryRuleTestimony.pdf.

TEA plans to implement the program by the end of August. ATPE will continue to monitor this issue closely and will report on any significant developments.

for more updates

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