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Posts Tagged ‘Rep. Garnet Coleman’

Rep. Garnet Coleman fighting to make higher education more affordable

Posted by Texas Education on April 16, 2009

The passage of legislation deregulating tuition in 2003 marked the end of an era of accountability, accessibility and affordability in Texas public higher education. Since tuition deregulation went into effect, designated tuition at Texas colleges and universities has skyrocketed 112 percent, placing the burden of these increased tuition rates on the backs of students and families. Texas Grants and student loans have not risen on par with the escalating cost of tuition, nor have they kept up with the number of qualifying students; thus creating a growing gap between those able to afford college and those in need of financial assistance.

Today, I laid out legislation – House Bill 2955 – in the House Higher Education Committee that would repeal the tuition setting powers of university boards of regents. HB 2955 would scale back tuition rates to reasonable levels and set the tuition for the next 6 academic years. This would give Texas students the opportunity to financially plan their education and focus on their studies, rather than worry about how to pay for college. It is time that state officials take back the responsibility for controlling tuition and expand educational opportunities for Texas students, not continue to price them out.

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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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Two things that don’t work in Texas

Posted by Texas Education on July 13, 2008

First, we have the steroids fiasco, as of late. I like Rick Casey’s take on it. And I love the title Prayer: May this house be safe from politicians in July 10th’s edition of the Chronicle.

I’m reminded of a routine by the late comedian Alexander King.

He would tell the story of a friend who ended every visit to King’s house by stopping in the doorway, lowering his eyes, folding his hands and saying, “May this house be safe from tigers.”

King finally asked him what was the meaning of “this idiot prayer?”

His friend responded with a hurt look and a question.

“How long have I been saying it?”

About three years, King said.

“Three years,” the friend said. “Well — been bothered by any tigers lately?”

King came to like the prayer so much, he made it the title of his best-selling book.

The prospect of being randomly tested is about effective a deterrent as King’s friend’s prayer, and considerably less charming.

This is just a guess, but I’d bet the more effective deterrent by far is that wonderful ad produced by the Partnership for a Drug Free America and aired widely during televised sporting events, a near-perfect way of reaching the target audience.

The other thing that doesn’t work: Texas leads nation in abstinence education funding. In today’s Chronicle on-line.

Texas spent a nation-high $17 million last year for abstinence education programs that continue to stir debate about whether classes promoting virginity before marriage work in public schools.

Federal statistics in June showed that 52.9 percent of Texas students in ninth through 12th grades had sexual intercourse, compared with 47.8 nationally. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reported that Texas youths are less likely to use condoms.

[…]

But the state lawmaker who co-authored the abstinence legislation in 1995 says the law was not meant to eliminate comprehensive sex education in schools. Democrat Garnet Coleman of Houston said he put up the bill at a time when he feared conservative state officials would abandon sex education completely.

“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.

The federal government has spent $1.1 billion on funding for abstinence programs since 1982, according to federal officials. Texas has spent more than other state — almost $117 million, including $32.4 million of its own money.

So now we know neither of these programs work. Let us not contemplate any longer on how much more to waste on these programs, quit pouring more tax payer dollars into them, and concentrate on other  programs, ie: technology, fine arts, and other more fundamentally sound programs that we know work.

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More on Higher Ed – a mountain of debt

Posted by Texas Education on July 11, 2008

Lawmaker wants repeal of tuition deregulation

Tuition at Texas public colleges rose 112 percent from 2003 to 2007, according to a report by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

The news has prompted state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, to renew his calls to repeal tuition deregulation.

Coleman_4 “We should repeal tuition deregulation, then lower tuition by at least $500,” Coleman said in a telephone interview. “The way it worked before worked well.”

Texas public universities have been able to set their own tuition rates since 2003. Coleman blames Republican House Speaker Tom Craddick for thwarting bills Coleman sponsored in 2005 and 2007 to undo deregulation. He promised to try again in the coming session.

Average tuition for a Texas undergraduate taking 15 semester credit hours jumped from $625 to $1,330 per semester from fall 2003 to fall 2007.

Coleman has a personal interest in tuition. One of his children is a high school junior, and Coleman has been studying debt levels for college graduates and their parents.

“One thing that we don’t have is a merit-based scholarship that isn’t need-based,” Coleman said, adding that middle-class families are now facing six-figure debts to finance undergraduate degrees. “Those are levels of debt we associate with medical school or law school, not an undergraduate degree.”

Read the rest of John Austin’s report here.

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