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Posts Tagged ‘vouchers’

Voting on Vouchers – yes to opposing vouchers

Posted by Texas Education on April 15, 2009

Upcoming House Budget Debate Will Include Critical Votes on Stem Cell Research and Vouchers

Two crucially important issues will be debated when the Texas House of Representatives takes up the state budget (SB 1) starting this Friday. Lawmakers need to hear from Texans like you encouraging them to do the right thing — and letting them know we are watching their vote on these issues. These could be the most important votes on these issues this session.

Please take a moment to call your own state representative, and ask her or him to:

  • OPPOSE VOUCHERS by voting YES on any amendment that would prohibit the use of any state funds to pay private school tuition.

(Click here to find contact information for your representative.)

And after you call, contact Val or Judie in our Outreach Office to let them know how your representative responded. This information is extremely helpful as we try to keep track of where House members stand on these issues.

Background information and simple talking points appear below to help you prepare for your call. This is our chance to slam the door on vouchers this session, as well as send a strong message that Texas will not close its doors to promising medical research that provides hope for so many.

Vouchers

Background: Two years ago, House members overwhelming voted to prohibit the use of state funds to pay private or religious school tuition (127-8!). The same amendment has been proposed this year. A clear prohibition in the budget would end the possibility of any voucher schemes in the coming biennium.

Talking Points:

  • Vouchers drain needed funds from our neighborhood public schools.
  • Lawmakers should focus on properly funding and supporting public schools that educate all Texas kids.

from TFN

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Texas PTA Action Alert – what you need to know!

Posted by Texas Education on April 7, 2009

Members of Senate Education will be considering a bill to create a voucher program for children with autism on Tuesday of this week.

Please call the following members of the Senate Education Committee and urge them to Oppose SB 1301, SB 183, SB 2204!

What you need to know:
Texas cannot afford to finance private education as well as public education. There are two ways to pay for vouchers-take money from already under-funded public schools or raise taxes. Both are unacceptable.

  • Public policy should respect parental choice but provide for all students. The best public policy is to provide parents with even more choices within the public schools, which serve 94.5% of Texas children. Legislators should concentrate on making all public schools stronger, safer, more challenging and accountable. Public tax dollars should be spent only to improve public schools-not to assist the small number of parents who choose to enroll their children in private academies or religious schools.
  • Inserting the word “private” doesn’t make a school good. There is no proof that private school vouchers would improve students’ academic performance. In fact, students attending private schools under the Milwaukee and Cleveland voucher programs did not outperform their public school peers.
  • Vouchers don’t create a “competitive marketplace.” Competition is based on an even playing field; there is no fair competition when “competitors” play by different rules. Public schools must accept all applicants, private schools don’t. Private schools are not required to provide transportation, special education, bilingual education, free and reduced price lunches, and many other programs that public schools provide.
  • While private school vouchers might cover a portion of the cost of education, many parents would not be able to afford the likely additional costs beyond the amount of the voucher.
  • State and Federal regulations such as IDEA that protect students with special educational needs require the development and maintenance of an educational plan for each student. This right is not guaranteed in private schools.
  • Not all communities have private programs for children with autism, so legislation would create this “opportunity” for a small number of children. Private programs for students with autism in more rural areas of Texas are few in number and therefore not a choice.
  • Special education certification is required for public educators, but not for private school employees. 
  • What you can do:

    Contact the following members of Senate Education and tell them the following:
    Sen. Florence Shapiro, chair @ 512-463-0108 – “I am a member of Texas PTA, with over 600,000 members and I oppose voucher programs such as those proposed in SB 1301, 2204 and 183.”

    Sen. Dan Patrick @ 512-463 0107 – “Please oppose Sb 1301, 2204, and 183. I am a member of Texas PTA, representing the 600,000+ members, and Texas PTA opposes voucher programs.”

    Sen. Kip Averitt @ 512-463 0122 – “Please oppose Sb 1301, 2204, and 183. I am a member of Texas PTA, representing the 600,000+ members, and Texas PTA opposes voucher programs.”

    Sen. Steve Ogden @ 512-463 0105 – “Please oppose Sb 1301, 2204, and 183. I am a member of Texas PTA, representing the 600,000+ members, and Texas PTA opposes voucher programs.”

    Sen. Tommy Williams @ 512-463 0104 – “I am a member of Texas PTA, with over 600,000 members and I oppose voucher programs such as proposed in SB 1301, 2204, and 183.”

    Encourage each Senator:
    Instead of funding a program for students to go to a private school, why not invest in on-going, comprehensive professional development for instructors of students with disabilities such as autism, so that teachers and teaching assistants are better equipped to work with students with special needs? This would be money well spent, money that would be used to improve the training of all teachers of students with disabilities, unlike voucher program funding that would be used for a few students without improving the educational environment for the students left behind. Several bills have been filed this session that create professional development academies and require on-going professional development in best practices related to education for students with special needs. The key is to fund these programs so that all school districts may take full advantage of them.

    Thank you for using your voice to help our kids!

    Posted in financing, In-the-news, Texas PTA, vouchers | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    ED-ucation!!!

    Posted by Texas Education on April 7, 2009

    Last night was the first night for a new show on MSNBC, called The Ed Show! Hosted by Veteran talk radio host Ed Schultz. The show debates and discusses issues affecting all Americans. In this video “Rebuilding America,” Ed discusses how we’ve spent money on Education and where President Obama will spend money on Education. He starts on Education at about 4:33 minutes into it, he talks about education:

    “I believe that the conservatives have vilified public education, they have short changed teachers, they have short changed facilities, and now we’ve got ourselves in a pickle, and all the conservative talkers in America you know what they do? ‘Public Education’s terrible, it will never work, we’ve got to push this school voucher thing.’ …I believe that we have to give an equal opportunity to every American if we’re going to be the great county we once were.”

    Posted in accountability, Ethics, financing, leadership, national education, teachers, teaching, vouchers | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Shutting the door on school vouchers??

    Posted by Texas Education on November 13, 2008

    Woo Hoo! I just found a fantastic new source for information on education. Post cards from the Lege! I love it, and the first article I found…vouchers! At least, trying to defeat vouchers. Go Kirk Watson!!!! We will be keeping an eye on this one!

    Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, is looking to close what some public school advocates say was a back door to private school vouchers.

    SB 186, submitted on Monday, removes language from the education code that allows nonprofit organizations to get certain public grant money.

    The inclusion of that language in the 2007 law allowed nonprofit private schools to compete for the public grant and made the relatively small $6 million program to help dropouts the focus of intense criticism.

    Three nonprofit organizations were among the recipients, which prompted a lawsuit from the Texas State Teachers Association. The association failed in an effort to block the Texas Education Agency from disbursing money to the nonprofits but the overall lawsuit continues.

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

    Craddick talking politics or education?

    Posted by Texas Education on October 21, 2008

    I did attend the Education forum Saturday. My take on that a little later. What I’d like to discuss now is a different forum that took place Monday. House speaker Craddick and his Democratic opponent, Bill Dingus attended a forum Monday at Alamo Junior High auditorium in Midland. in a Texas Classroom Teachers Forum. What amazes me, only 25 educators attended. Um? Why? And I’m still wondering why teachers don’t vote more, and vote for those who are “pro” education. Craddick says, well read what he says:

    Craddick said education is the backbone and key to Texas’ economy but the Lone Star state needs to improve. He recalled a meeting with Dell CEO Michael Dell who told him he was building a new facility in Georgia because the education system here was lacking.

    Through talking to teachers throughout District 81, Craddick said Texas has to concentrate on recruiting new and better teachers, retaining good instructors and ensuring that teaching isn’t just a job, but a profession. Teacher training should also be improved.

    Ok, now is the time for those who have seriously loused up our education system in Texas to tell their constituents what they want to hear, not what they intend to do.

    So, Mr. Speaker, see, not investing in our education system does come back to bite you, with companies, organizations, and workers leaving for other more pro-education states.

    Through talking to teachers throughout District 81, Craddick said Texas has to concentrate on recruiting new and better teachers, retaining good instructors and ensuring that teaching isn’t just a job, but a profession. Teacher training should also be improved.

    Interesting, I got news for ya Speaker Craddick, we got good teachers now, you just need to support them, mostly financially, please. But, hey, that will never happen under his leadership. I strongly suggest we vote for change and we vote NOW!

    Dingus takes the high road:

    He added that he will respect teachers, listen to them and welcome them if they come to Austin.

    Dingus added that he will take teachers’ opinions to heart and will fight vouchers “all day long.”

    Dingus also urged everyone to cast ballots. Early voting runs Oct. 20-31. Election Day is Nov. 4.

    “The most important thing a democracy can do is educate the voters,” he said.

    Posted in accountability, Ethics, leadership, texas education, Texas schools | 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 »

    Obama – Vouchers, What?¿?

    Posted by Texas Education on June 16, 2008

    I don’t even want to say that in the same breath. (see State of…blog) She reports that Obama says: “he is open to supporting private school vouchers if research shows they work.” Must get message to Obama – vouchers not good for states, schools, teachers, parents or students. I said I was for Hillary, that she was more public education friendly, didn’t I ?¿? Ok, I’m getting off vouchers, I’m against them, end of story.

    Posted in vouchers | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

    Newsworthy

    Posted by Texas Education on June 16, 2008

    Summing up a school is the heading for the editorial in today’s Chon. Wharton Elementary is on the chopping block for HISD’s beginning of the end. Wow, talk about “cutting off your nose to spite your face.” This is what I see happening to our “Education Crisis in Texas.” Oh, there’s a saying I take credit for. Check out their website. What a waste that is going on. This school, with their organized, small army of Montrose residents coalition, has been diligently working to rectify this situation. This is a school we should all look to as success. Their students (all of them) graduate as dual-language sixth-graders. They passed the math TAKS with 100%, how often does that happen? Along with being able to take the TAKS in either English or Spanish. It goes on to explain, oohh and this ain’t good, that HISD refuses to act with transparency and respond to local input. Zowee, does that sound familiar?? This was said by the activist and at least one board member. Ouch!!

    This is what we are up against. Which leg, arm, finger, foot do we cut off first? I just got back from my doctor. I am officially on diabetic medication, yikes!! A while back I was almost hired by him to tutor his young daughter who is struggling with her speech. I asked him how she was doing, and at the time he had decided to put her in a private school, cause of course he can afford that, he’s a doctor. But, guess what?? (see vouchers part one & deux) he says the private school does not cater to special needs students, thus his decision to put her in a public school now, where she can get the best education possible. Wow, how’s that for an I told ya so???

    I was trying to understand what happened at the Republican convention on vouchers – so like I always do, I googled it. Here it is, put that in your pipe and smoke it:

    pp.14 -17: Education

    p.14: Supports school vouchers.

    p.15: “We call for the abolition of the U.S. Department of Education and the prohibition of the transfer of any of its functions to any other federal agency.”

    When the Rev. Jerry Falwell was just creating the Moral Majority, he envisioned the future of this country:

    “I hope to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we don’t have public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them.” (America Can Be Saved!, Sword of the Lord Publishers, Murfreesboro, Tenn. 1979, p. 52-53.)

    This is why we should never ever speak of being in favor of vouchers. (I guess you could say this is vouchers- part deux (a).) This is what the goal is of the pro-voucherers. Seems they keep forgetting our Texas Constitution says, or what Wikipedia says the Texas Constitution says:

    Article 7: “Education”

    Establishes provisions for public schools, asylums, and universities. “. . . it shall be DUTY OF THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools” (Article 7, Texas Constitution). This issue has surfaced in recent lawsuits involving the State’s funding of education and restrictions it has placed on local school districts.

    Read it and weep…

    Just remember no truer words were spoken by Horace Mann, “Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-wheel of the social machinery.” Ask your state officials, how they were educated? I’m finding a lot of them have family ties to educators. How can they justify what they are doing to our education system? Enough for now, getting tired.

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

    Vouchers – part deux

    Posted by Texas Education on June 15, 2008

    Stirring up the pot, I must say. But, that’s what I’m here for input, dialog, educate. Some very good information SCHOOL VOUCHERS: MYTHS AND FACTS. Also, while I’m on the subject, from the AFT website,

    You be the judge…

    Posted in vouchers | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

    Vouchers – part I

    Posted by Texas Education on June 15, 2008

    There is a response on Paul Burka’s blog about someone talking about school choice. There is a lot, I mean a lot, of misconceptions about school vouchers.

    Well, #1 we should do what we can to help the struggling schools, people keep “blaming” the teachers, not the lack of $$$, support, etc. because a school does poorly. I wish some people would walk in a teachers, administrators, superintendents shoes for a day, before putting all the blame on them. Vouchers will not work for the most who would use them. Because their little Johnny/Susie is not being treated fairly they will take him/her out of the “low performing” school and take them to another school with their “voucher.” Well, what usually happens is, they get kicked out of that school (or decide there are too many rules and regulations,) and come running back to the school where they are zoned. They think that the small pittance for a voucher will completely pay for their  child’s full year of school. Well, I got news for ya, the state is not paying the full amount of what it costs for a child’s education in the state of Texas in any school, no pittance of a voucher is going to do that either. They will have to supply their own transportation, and  a whole slough of other problems, issues, and sheer lack of education on their part, all because they think the school is not living up to the standards they expect with the tax dollars they are shelling out.

    Posted in vouchers | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »