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Posts Tagged ‘unfunded mandates’

Should we be surprised?

Posted by Texas Education on July 14, 2008

TEA turmoil boosts push for watchdog office

I’m a bit torn on this one. On one hand, looks like…it’s about time! On the other hand, do we need to spend tax dollars on something else, especially when the state keeps adding unfunded mandates, new programs, which always cost more money to create and implement. The Dallas Morning News tells us:

As problems mount in a watchdog office at the Texas Education Agency, some lawmakers are calling for an independent office to investigate fraud and waste in all major state agencies.

But, least we forget about, in recent news, also from the Dallas Morning News:

Who can trust TEA school rankings?

When a hitter launches a long drive, deep to left, it might be, it could be, it is – a home run! – but only if the ball gets over the fence.

If it doesn’t, if it falls just inches short and dies silently in the left fielder’s glove, it’s an out.

We do not expect the umpires to gather and discuss among themselves whether the batter’s team has fewer good players than the left fielder’s team, which team pays more in overall salary or who needs the run or the out more.

It’s a home run, or it isn’t.

But that same logic isn’t applied when it comes to the all-important state accountability rankings for public schools, the ones that determine whether districts and individual campuses are “exemplary,” “recognized,” “academically acceptable” or, sadly, “academically unacceptable.”

In the accountability ballpark, just being close can be good enough.

Posted in accountability, Ethics, In-the-news | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Stealth vouchers – in the news

Posted by Texas Education on July 2, 2008

An editorial in today’s Chron. (a must read) Boy, just when I thought it was slim pickin’s in the newsworthy category. This is where you “need to know” stuff. This truly is important. Like:

Voucher advocate Dr. James Leininger of San Antonio has contributed millions of dollars to the campaigns of many state officials, including Gov. Rick Perry, in order to win their support. He also bankrolled candidates to mount primary challenges to Republican legislators who refused to back vouchers. Despite Leininger’s lobbying, the Legislature refuses to create a voucher pilot program. Now it appears that Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott is trying to slip the program through the backdoor.

I was a bit leery of posting about TEA opening the “Texas High School Project.” I’ve been researching this, and have not found many who know much about it. So, if you do, please clue me in. I’m worried this is something that looks good on paper, but, once again, does does not bode well in real life application. With Perry behind this, it can’t be good. IMHO! What I don’t understand, is why this money, this initiative, can’t be put into the schools. Instead of more unfunded mandates (only those working in education know what a headache those are,) adding the 4×4, keeping schools at 20 year fixed levels of funding, etc., we should be concentrating on improving what we have. There are so many with opinions about how the schools are managing their money, but I still think, if it were done right…

More on the article:

Commissioner Scott pointed out that the money to fund the dropout program would not come from regular public school funding. State Rep. Diane Patrick, R-Arlington, rejected that rationale, correctly explaining that the grant dollars are coming from state general revenue.

She also detailed how voucher supporters could manipulate the dropout program by simply taking their children out of public school, having them classified as dropouts and then enrolling them at a private school that had applied for state funding.

How true this is. This is why vouchers are baaad for our schools.When all of the districts across the state are closing schools, cutting programs, etc., etc., then why can’t they see the problem(s)? And by they, I mean the general public, tax payers, parents, and especially our elected officials. I was told by someone recently, I’ve been trying to figure out the logic behind all this, that our elected officials, those who have voted down public education, they want to keep our population…well, stupid. Keeps wages low. How’s that for someone’s opinion? It’s starting to make sense to me.

Posted in In-the-news, texas education, Texas schools, vouchers | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Today’s News – Tomorrows Sorrows

Posted by Texas Education on June 18, 2008

HISD in the news today (Houson ISD that is.) Up in the air about closures. Saavedra is putting off any closures, he says he needs more time to decide whether to go forward with the plan, they also say the issue of consolidation is NOT being taken off the table, they just want more dialogue, more input. They’ve already spent $190,000 on input. This all sounds too familiar, in many ways. The tests, the text books all go to “companies” that tend to contribute to certain campaigns. We are all just rats in a maze, I feel sometimes.

And why I keep hollering to the Ledge, “look, look what’s happening,” they aren’t listening. This is what they want. Put more “unfunded” mandates, expect higher scores, change the rules/programs, ie: TAAS — TAKS,) keep 20 year old formulas for schools to operate by, use formulas that make absolutely no sense (WADA,) and continue to not address the public schools. I really wish they would look beyond their selfish ways. Private schools are nice, but they’re not for everyone. Oh, ok, I get it, the states should not provide monies for schools. Well, why not??? I say. Isn’t that how it’s done, let’s say…pretty much everywhere?? How many of us have been educated by public schools? Pretty much the lot of us, I would image. I must say, we were so poor, I thank Uncle Sam for my college degree. I’m not proud that we were that poor, but, I would probably be working at Mickey D’s or some restaurant for tips my entire life, if it weren’t for the fact that I had the ability to get grants, loans and the such to further my education. I’m part of the few that think we should extend public education through 16 grades instead of the 12 we have now. It’s different now then way back when, when a college degree got you somewhere. Now, it takes a Masters degree to be able to even support yourself and a family.

Posted in In-the-news, Texas schools | Tagged: , | Comments Off on Today’s News – Tomorrows Sorrows