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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!

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

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 »

Raise Your Hand Texas – 2009 Legislative Agenda

Posted by Texas Education on January 15, 2009

2009 Legislative Agenda

Full-Day Voluntary Four Year Old Pre-Kindergarten

Texas should offer full-day, high quality pre-k to eligible children who currently attend half-day programs. Raise Your Hand Texas supports a funding increase for the 2010-2011 biennium to provide full-day, quality pre-k to approximately 120,000 children.

The Bush School for Government and Public Service (A&M) states that for every $1 invested in pre-k we receive a return of $3.50. Pre-k saves taxpayers money, prepares children for school, reduces the dropout rate, and supports the Texas economy today and tomorrow.

Public School Accountability

During the 2007 Legislative session, Raise Your Hand Texas supported legislation requiring a comprehensive interim study of the current accountability system. The Legislature created the Select Committee on Public School Accountability, which has taken testimony over the past year.

Raise Your Hand Texas supports strengthening accountability to provide fair, accurate, and understandable information on the performance of our students and schools. Texas needs a new accountability system that will reward growth and is flexible for changes in the testing program.

Multiple Pathways to High School Graduation

Multiple pathways to graduation require a rigorous course of study that integrates foundation subjects with career and technology, humanities, and the arts. Students should be encouraged to go on to college preferably four years or to a community college program. Our state graduation requirements must reflect the knowledge and skills that colleges and employers expect for success.

Keeping students in school should be a major goal for the state. Multiple pathways to graduation will provide the relevancy students need to maintain their course of study to be career and workforce ready for the 21st Century.

Related Links:

PencilAccountability Overview

PencilTexas Public Education Facts

PencilWho We Are

Raise Your Hand Texas

Posted in accountability, Ethics, leadership, Texas schools | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Speaking of RYHT…

Posted by Texas Education on December 3, 2008

Just got this email from RYHT on 2008 Pre-K Now Conference. Of course, I am a big fan of Early Childhood and recommend attending this event. Also, please do join RYHT, today!

Raise Your Hand Texas is pleased to announce that on December 10, 2008 from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (CT), Former Lt. Governor and Chair of RYHT, The Honorable Bill Ratliff, will join Pre-K Now and the Texas Early Childhood Education Collation (TECEC) on the National 2008 Pre-K Now Satellite Conference. This is a live, interactive event that will be broadcasted through television and the Internet.

The conference theme is “Breaking Down Barriers to Quality Pre-K” and the host is Ray Suarez of the PBS NewsHour.

Former Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff will be an honored guest and will speak on the Texas-specific portion of the conference (presented by TECEC) which begins at 1:45 p.m. (CT). He will be joined by Texas Senators Judith Zaffirini and Leticia Van de Putte, co-authors of the pre-filed Senate Bill 21 which proposes quality full-day pre-k to all currently eligible four-year-olds, a major priority for RYHT. Please also see pre-k House Bill 130, pre-filed by Representative Diane Patrick.

If you are interested in supporting high-quality pre-k, we encourage you to get informed and get involved by attending a conference viewing site in your community.

The following communities offer conference viewing sites:

Abilene
Amarillo
Austin
Brownsville
College Station
Corpus Christi
Dallas
El Paso
Houston (United Way)
Houston (Harris County)
Hurst
Killeen
Laredo
Lubbock
San Angelo
San Antonio
San Marcos
Sugarland
Taylor
Tyler
Waco

To learn more about the Pre-K Now 2008 Satellite Conference, visit TECEC Pre-K Now Conference webpage.

Don’t see your community?

If you are interested in hosting a site, please contact Don Titcombe at dtitcombe@tecec.org or 512.476.7939. He can also connect you to those in your community that are hosting viewing sites already.

We hope that many of our members will attend these events or even host a few on their own!

Sincerely,

Anne Foster

Anne Foster
Executive Director / Programs

Posted in FYI, leadership, texas education, Texas schools | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

RYHT…nice!!!

Posted by Texas Education on December 3, 2008

One of my very favorite all ’round great non-profit, bi-partisan advocacy organization made up of business and community leaders, parents, taxpayers and concerned citizens, all with a single focus: supporting the more than 4.5 million students in the Texas public education system websites is Raise Your Hand Texas!! They have a new website, and I likey! Check it out, and join!

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

Humble City Council raises hands for Texas

Posted by Texas Education on July 15, 2008

Yeah for Humble City Council. This is, I guess, would be listed under my “good stuff.” This is what I like to see, especially out of the community. In our own Tribuine, from Andres Quintero:

Public education continues to be one of the most important factors in preparing children for brighter tomorrows. At the Humble City Council meeting July 10, council members successfully passed a resolution to support Raise Your Hand Texas.

In recent years, Texans voiced their opinions and agreed they wanted schools to be stronger and in the best shape they can be.

Raise Your Hand Texas is nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting public schools. The organization follows three points of action. First, they celebrate the work Texas teachers and students have done. Second, they defend schools from unfair or inaccurate criticism. Finally, they strengthen schools by searching for any extra state resources and making everyday suggestions for improving school systems.

Along with Raise Your Hand Texas, the City of Humble also sponsors other programs, such as D.A.R.E., which is funded by Randall Reed’s Planet Ford.

Other programs include sending public relation officers from the City to speak to children in schools, and painting the Humble Wildcat on streets throughout Humble.

Here for the rest of the story.

Humble City Council meetings are open to the public. They are held at Humble City Hall, 114 W. Higgins, at 6:30 p.m. every second and fourth Thursday of the month.

Please do your part, join Raise Your Hand Texas!

Posted in Good Stuff, In-the-news, texas education | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Accountability

Posted by Texas Education on July 3, 2008

This article falls under categories that I plan on putting out on this website. Accountability, Ethics, Leadership, and more. These are qualities I (and you should too) expect from the people we have put in charge of educating our children. As always, if you see something that wreaks, calls out, sounds fishy, doesn’t add up, well, you catch my drift, let me know, I will investigate, research, and inform all those who tread here!!! And, if you see anything that is good, kind, wonderful news to share, that is always welcome!

Accountability plans presented to committee:

The Select Committee on Public School Accountability turned a corner at its June 16 Dallas hearing, focusing on reviewing specific proposals for a revised accountability system from invited groups, including Raise Your Hand Texas (RYHT), Texas Institute for Education Reform (TIER), Education Resource Group (ERG), and a Hudson ISD superintendent who developed a proposed index system for accountability. The committee will continue holding meetings around the state, with the next one scheduled July 14 in Brownsville, followed by August 4 in El Paso. The committee is expected to begin drafting a final report containing its recommendations, which is due to the legislature by December 1. Read more…

Accountability revisited: What’s next?
It seems that just about every decade, the Texas Legislature hatches a major education reform plan that has profound effects on our public education system. Anyone who has been involved in education for any length of time remembers well when no-pass, no-play, TECAT and the career ladder emerged in 1984, and a little more than ten years later our state accountability system was born. Now here we are slightly more than a decade after that, with major testing and curriculum reforms under way, including end-of-course exams and college readiness standards. Read more…

(more from TCTA – Texas Classroom Teachers Association)

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