Texas Education

Blog on Texas Education

Posts Tagged ‘homeschooling’

Cash infusion controversy and more

Posted by Texas Education on January 27, 2009

I recently had some people talking about my blog on-line. I won’t say how I was able to access their conversation, suffice it to say…technology!! They were talking about some of the things on my blog, that I’m a teacher “waaaa more money,” and I was for TFN (Texas Freedom Network) and RYHT (Raise your hand Texas). Now, I won’t go into those, right now, suffice it to say, I’m all for both organizations and I’m also for Texas Parent PAC. Just like President Obama, not everyone is going to agree with what they do and say, not 100% of the time. The group talking about me were parents for Autism and homeschooling. Saying I was making fun of homeschoolers on this post. I posted this because I received it as an email (I’ve received it before) but posted it because it’s puppies, who doesn’t like puppies? I thought it was cute, that’s all, just cute. Not making fun of homeschooling. I’m all for homeschooling, but I do have concerns, which I won’t get into now. That’s for another time and another post. I’m also concerned about Autism and neurobiological disorders.

Back to my purpose of this particular post. Looks like, per our new president, we may be getting more money for schools. I sure hope so. Yeah, me, teacher, “more money”! I honestly don’t think (even some educators, parents, and especially the general public) understand how some of our schools are functioning. I was quoted in the chronicle when I was at North Forest,

Take supplies, for example. Patty Pinkley, a first-year teacher at Oak Village Middle School, began teaching a course called “technology applications” in August. The only problem: The district didn’t give her computers that worked until last week – eight months into the school year.

“I’ve been teaching a lot of vocabulary,” Pinkley said. “But unfortunately it’s hard for (the students) to grasp it, just seeing it on paper.”

It can be found under “wikipedia”. Only place I’m in wikipedia…so far!

Others have commented about the conditions of their schools:

Judi Caddick, a middle school math teacher in blue-collar Lansing, Ill., just south of Chicago, said in the older part of her World War II-era school, classrooms had just two power outlets, forcing teachers to string multiple extension cords into the rafters or to unplug a TV power point presentation in order to plug in a computer for a child.

This certainly reminds me of my classroom. They did put the computers in, but never got the internet connected to them. So I never really got to use them. Unfortunately, that never made the paper. Another teacher was teaching science, towards the end of the year, she lost power in her classroom so she didn’t even have an overhead projector. Most of the overhead’s bulbs would burn out and they were never replaced.

I always would say that by studying technology I would never be a floater. Well, never say never (I WAS a walking cliché that year!) I floated for the first semester. The second semester I had a room (no computers) but a room. I even got a laptop because I was making the badges for the school. I’m not complaining, well, maybe just a little, but the conditions were deplorable. Don’t get me wrong, one of the first things I say about teaching is we learn from our mistakes and our problems. I learned a ton, and I also made friends with teachers, learned from them when I was floating, that I never would have been able to do had I had a classroom from the beginning.

Ms. Craddick went on to say:

“It looked like a spaghetti bowl.”

Special-education classrooms flooded when plumbing backed up, leaving an unmistakable smell on hot days, not to mention allergy and asthma problems, despite efforts to clean the carpet, she said. And hallways were so dark and crowded, teachers often couldn’t see shoving and bumping among students in time to stop fights.

A new building to replace that old school is now almost complete. The last group of students, the eighth-graders, moved in earlier this year.

“It’s a huge difference,” Caddick said. “We don’t have to have necessarily state-of-the-art and fluffy stuff. But at least when you don’t have mold problems, and you don’t have things that are broken, and you don’t have an inability to use the technology, it’s an investment.”

These types of upgrades can also make kids healthier. Measures to prevent mold can decrease asthma. I suffer from asthma. It has gotten much worse for me now. I had an attack just recently, and I don’t even remember having attacks when I was a child. I had to call my dad and ask him how old I was when I was having attacks. I was about one year old. The school I was at, at North Forest, often flooded too and talk about yer mold.

The massive economic-stimulus package unveiled by House Democrats this week and President Barack Obama includes more than $100 billion for K-12 and higher education — for building repairs, technology upgrades, (music to my ears) financial aid, and programs to help special education and at-risk students.

I see a lot of negativity concerning our schools, our districts needing more money. Not just Texas, but the nation as a whole. I once remember seeing a bumper sticker saying, “It will be a great day when our schools have all the money they need and NASA will have to hold a bake sale to build spaceships.” Imagine that! You can’t, can you?

“It’s not only economic recovery, but it’s investing in kids,” said Jeff Simering, Legislative Director of the Council of the Great City Schools.

Dr. Guy Sconzo, Superintendent of Humble ISD, foresees an increase in teachers, lower class sizes and more tutorials if the district receives the estimated $11 million earmarked under the Democrats proposal.

In North Forest ISD, where voters recently rejected the proposal to raise the property tax rate, Superintendent Adrain Johnson said he would welcome the estimated $20 million stimulus payout.  Johnson said he would like to expand after-school programs — to introduce more students to musical instruments, for example — and his schools could use millions of dollars to fix leaky roofs and persistent drainage problems.

I can relate to that! And, I’d like to see that too!

President Obama has given few specifics about the economic recovery plan, which could cost as much as $850 billion over the next two years. But, there is no way to know how much of that will go to our schools. The only dollar figure from President Obama so far, is that schools would share with roads in an immediate infusion of $25 billion for repairs and rebuilding.

I only hope we do see some relief, and soon. I would like there to be more money for technology, not only for the kids and the teachers, but it might just open some new doors for me too!!!

More on this subject here.

Posted in funding, say what???, Texas schools | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Homeschooling – as controversial as vouchers

Posted by Texas Education on August 9, 2008

Parents may home-school children without teaching credential, California court says

Gov. Schwarzenegger praises the reversal by the 2nd District Court of Appeal as a victory for students and parental rights. This from the L.A. Times…I will put it here, for the record, I am totally against homeschooling, without accountability. Hey, with me it’s all about accountability, and homeschooling is no exception. There are some, probably most, who of the homeschoolers, are more than qualified, or at least have done a decent, if not better job than the public or even private schools. So my thoughts are, what are you afraid of? If you are legitimately teaching your kids, there should not be problem taking any tests other kids in the state face. If I were to have homeschooled my kids, and the thought did cross my mind once or twice, I would have certainly wanted to know if I was doing my kids justice. This is why I can’t understand why everyone is so up in arms about there being some accountability, checks and balances, tests, you name it. I feel it just keeps everyone honest, and excludes those who are just trying to circumvent the laws in the state. Here for full story. And I’ve included a couple of the comments on this story, one which, as usual, ties Texas to a story.


Should parents be allowed to home school their children without a teaching credential?

1. Are private school REQUIRED to have credentialed teachers? Not in Texas. Probably not in any state. Most people would not avail themselves of such schools, still, you could establish a private school and hire whomever you wanted as long as you didn’t ask the state to accredit your school. Home school is recognised as a form of private school in Texas.
Submitted by: Ruby
12:05 PM PDT, Aug 9, 2008

2. I home-schooled two boys both of whom have graduated from universities. One with honors. Both are self-sufficient fully functioning adults in their late 20’s. I am not affilitated with any religious organization. I don’t believe for a minute that a state supreme court would reverse itself for other than legal arguments.
Submitted by: Ruby
11:57 AM PDT, Aug 9, 2008

3. California’s courts are a joke. Most of the other states are like Nevada where parent teaching is absolutely permitted. Teaching credentials are a joke..most teachers could not cut it in the real world where they would have to work 40 hours a week.
Submitted by: RonNV
11:37 AM PDT, Aug 9, 2008

HA! I’d like to know who RonNV is. Forty hours a week, and couldn’t cut it. HA! Does he realize teachers “teach” a minimum of 40 hours a week? That’s the time, as I call it, we are “on stage.” You know “show time,” when the bell rings. I was spending 50 hours a week, minimum, just on campus. That didn’t count all the time I spent at home, either grading (tons of that stuff) preparing, or even reading email. He certainly does not know a teacher, ’cause if he did, he’d know, teachers are dedicated individuals, a different animal. I’m sure, like any profession, there are exceptions, but from what I’ve witnessed in the last decade, I’m very impressed with teachers.

Posted in accountability, leadership, teaching | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Teacher banned for using ‘Freedom Writers’ book

Posted by Texas Education on June 30, 2008

Just stepping outside Texas Education for a bit. I thought this was, at least, newsworthy. CNN reported about a teacher who decided to teach/read the book “Freedom Writers,” a book by Erin Gruwell and later a movie was made (a must see by any teacher.)

Here’s what one person wrote concerning the story:

Technically, she was fired because she was insubordinate.
Realistically, she was fired because the book was banned from

She did deliberately not collect the books from her students
after she got an email from the district telling her to. So
that’s the insubordination.

She waited three months before that to hear about using the
book, and when nothing happened, got permission from 149 of
150 students’ parents to use the book.

It’s in the school library, but they said there’s a ‘lesser
standard’ for books that go in the library. That’s funny to
me, because at least with a teacher, the kids would have an
adult to discuss the ideas with.

One of the district board members said that the teacher set a
bad example by doing something she was told not to do. I
think she set the example that you do something in good
conscience, even if you know that the result for you will be
negative–civil disobedience and all that.

Ellen Gruwell even testified at the hearing. (from teachers.net)

Also, one of the anonymouses from detentionslip.org (I just love this site) said:

Welcome to America. Land of the free. Home of th…ose afraid of books. She went to the parents – there is no higher authority for a child’s learning than a parent. Breaking the rules for the right reasons is better than doing the ‘correct’ thing. I think that those freeing slaves illegally and the Founders of America might have something to say about “the ends do *not* justify the means”.

and T said:

This woman has shown that she is a very passionate teacher who wanted to do right by her students and to engage them to be better people. It seems to me that she is also standing by her principles.

149/150 parents gave permission to read this book. The parents spoke. The school board should listen.

You can go to that website to get more of the smart comments, along with the not so smart ones (I just love this one):

Just another ‘glowing example’ of why Homeschooling is the only sane and necessary alternative to the socialist ‘youth indoctrination camps'(gov. schools) that infest our once fair country. Read ‘Dumbing Us Down’ by John Taylor Gatto if you need insight into why ‘public schools’ are nothing more than training grounds for our young to fail in life. Yours In Liberty!

Wow, public schools are nothing more than training grounds for our young to fail in life? I guess that would include me. I guess I’m a total failure, along with, well, almost everyone I know. I honestly can’t think of anyone (off hand) that I know who went to a private, or Catholic school. Oh, I take that back, I may know of a few that went to Catholic schools, but a lot of them ended up going to public high schools, I do know that. I enrolled my son in our Catholic school for kindergarten, but had heard our public schools were better. I never got the chance to find out, we moved the following year. (Just some trivia about me and mine.)

This story seems a little djavue-ish. You can read what the Southside times wrote about this story.  On that blog there is someone, Steph Mineart, who has a great blog also, said, commenting on what Richard said:

“And I feel that the school district should not be promoting books with blatent cussing in them. But, since this story is not about the book, it is about her insubordination, perhaps we should talk about that.”

First of all – the work blatant is spelled B-L-A-T-A-N-T. You need to go back to English class, outraged_at_teacher, before you comment in public, because that.

Please. The story IS all about the book. Without it there would be no issue at all. No one is fooled by that line of cheap rationalization.

I can’t believe that anyone is objecting to this book because of “cussing.” That is ridiculous. Kids in high school are not STUPID. They can read words without adopting them into their everyday lives (as if none of them use these words already.)

It’s time for the prude police to grow up and get a life.

Posted in In-the-news, teaching | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »