A Conservative View

Praying that Donald Trump can save America in 2024!

Archive for the tag “Sabine County”

EDUCATION TEXAS- A LOCAL ADVANTAGE?

For those who have children or grand children in K-12 schools, let me encourage you to find out if your if this described advantage exist where you live. It is obvious to me that the Texas Legislature uses politics to provide educational variables to pacify themselves and the appointed and elected Boards to favor certain school districts. Nationally the US Department of Education uses 90% of their billions to provide social justice for the minorities and aliens. Just read the itemized 92 page budget if you doubt my words. If the states and the federal governments would admit that a local program like the one described below would find the right path for aligning children’s capability with a mixture of academics and vocational programs necessary to prepare them for their place in society. We may all be created equally but we all do not fit into society equally. It is time for the people to stop this waste of money and demand change. CB

Article

“First let me apologize to Dr. Lana Comeaux, whose name I misspelled in the last article. I have lived in Sabine county, very close to Louisiana, for nearly 20 years. When Dr. Pearson suggested I meet Ms. Como, my age drove me to associate the name to Perry when I took notes.”

I had the pleasure to visit with Dr. Comeaux on Monday April 11th at the Sabine Area Career Center in Pineland, Texas. I had no conception of what a great advantage was available to the citizens of Sabine and San Augustine counties.

The center has several specialized classrooms to conduct classes and a welding facility with modern equipment and seven individually vented weld stations. The computer classroom is well equipped and is available for students use in searching the internet for assignments. Classrooms are available to permit students to participate and interact by video with some specialty classes being conducted at Angelina College in Lufkin.

The Career Center also has a large meeting room that is available for community meetings and special events. Currently this room is utilized for programs like Dance, Taekwondo, Photography, Flower Arranging and Computer classes. Another program available is support meetings for parents with autistic children.

In addition to the Angelina campus, some of the classes are conducted at Hemphill ISD and Jasper ISD where science labs or other specialty facilities exist. I have another meeting scheduled this April 21st with Dr. Pearson and Dr. Comeaux to view the Hemphill laboratories and other specialized facilities.

Some of the two year college credit courses are; English, World History, US History, Texas History, Sociology, Algebra, Chemistry, Biology etc. The Career Center also provides Community Service Programs that include; Phlebotomy, Certified Nurse Asst., Medical Asst., GED Preparation, and Welding. Future planning includes courses for EMT, LVN, Police and Fire careers, Automotive and A/C & Repair.

All of the programs are available to students at Hemphill, West Sabine, Brookland, Broadus and San Augustine school districts.

Citizens of the area are fortunate to have this facility. It does require the five school districts to work closely with Dr. Comeaux. This includes a student’s needs assessment and scheduling classes to permit the students to be able to take the Angelina programs. Each of the five school districts provide either the superintendent or a principal to serve on the on the Board of Directors.

The program is totally funded by grants, donations and private foundations. Currently the Beaumont and TLL Foundations provide significant funding for the Center. No state or local taxes are appropriated for the center. This is an unusual advantage for both the students and parents of Sabine and San Augustine counties.

A student can take up to twenty classes which can result in roughly 60 credit hours if they take full advantage of the program. Students are eligible after their sophomore year to start in that summer and can take 2 courses each semester. There are two summer sessions in addition to the regular fall and spring school semesters. This means that if a student is academically driven, they can start their college or university education as a junior. For those families with funding limitations, a high school student can obtain an Associate’s Degree in the summer after they graduate from high school.

Every parent should be aware of this advantage. The economic distress and the mystery of what the politicians in Austin and Washington D.C. will dream up next, demands that we prepare today’s students who will have to pay for the debacle.

Clyde Brewer

EDUCATION TEXAS-IS STATE FUNDING ADEQUATE & FAIR?

 

I recently reported that we have 1265 school districts in the state. I have tried to understand the reason for this but there is none. Downsizing and digging deeper in an attempt to understand, I discovered that children in Sabine County where I reside, attend four different school districts. Even though the current census reported that we had surpassed 10,200 people, this makes no business sense.

While working at the local level, I wish to report some figures obtained from the Texas Education Association (TEA). The State of Texas appropriated $7,561 per student average across the state. The US state average is nearly $10,000 per student. The highest is Vermont that provides $15,139 per student. I asked our State Representative, Wayne Christian, in a letter last month why the two largest school districts in Sabine County received less than $5,000 per student. I have not received a response but he did have a press release issued on April 7th that addresses some of my questions. My two letters to Mr. Christian and his first response is on my blog should you desire to read them. I will post his news release soon.

Hemphill ISD received $4,806 and West Sabine ISD received $4,596 per student. For everyone’s information the Westbrook ISD received $13,121, Wink-Loving ISD received $12,526, Sundown ISD received $12,544 and Webb ISD received $11,057. It would be nice to see more people ask why! I hope I am not alone as a layman in trying to understand and improve education and equalizing the funding for all children in America.

My current focus is to visit with educators, administrators and school boards in east Texas. This will permit me to determine how to better understand how we can all help improve education. I will share the knowledge gained in future articles.

I had my first meeting with Mr. Glen Pearson April 7th and gained a much better understanding of the Hemphill ISD. I was surprised to find we do have some impressive vocational programs offered to the K-9-12 students in Sabine County. Mr. Pearson recommended that I meet with Ms. Lana Comeaux, at the Sabine Area Career Center, and let her provide me with the details of the various programs. These programs provide the area students with vocational opportunities and college credits. The Hemphill ISD pays for two courses each semester. These courses are offered in the evenings and on weekends. I will try to meet with Ms. Comeaux next week and write an article explaining the details as soon as possible.

Mr. Pearson was also concerned about the variations in state funding and it appears that Wayne Christian is also looking into the matter. My overall knowledge of Hemphill ISD was greatly expanded in the meeting. I will share some of the results of my meeting with Mr. Pearson in future articles. I hope to visit with Mr. Pearson again on April 21st.

One evening a few years ago, my closest neighbor, Dr. Michael Neal, told me an educational related story that I will never forget. He had a sixteen year old boy in for a physical. During the exam, he asked the boy how he was doing in school. The response was “OK”. He then asked him what he desired to be after his high school experience. The response was, “I just want to be a better hawg hunter than my daddy.” I will always respect this honesty and this is one example of education just wasting this young boy’s time.

Hopefully someday, we can find the right formula to educate the children and align them to their destined place in society. All children were not intended to be identical and some are not capable of being a doctor, lawyer, teacher or a rocket scientist.

Observing our political leaders in Washington D.C. and Austin over the past several years has me convinced that the education of all politicians has been an abysmal experience. As most of these politicians are lawyers, it is apparent that common sense is not a subject required or offered in our universities or law schools.

Clyde Brewer

EDUCATION IN TEXAS-ARE PRISONS THE PLACE TO PREPARE PEOPLE FOR THE FUTURE?

 

 

When “Perry’s Posse” announced a $9,000,000,000.00 cut in education funding for the next two years, they woke me up. The more I discover and read, the more problems both designed and ignored, rear their ugly heads. When they announced the possible elimination of $128 million in education funding for the prison system in mid-March, some people went ballistic.

Just discovering we had a prison educational program was news to me. After spending several hours reading some 600 pages of reports, charts, results and opinions, I will try to summarize my thoughts. Before I do, let me clearly state that I am not an enemy of educating anyone. I began my education experience at age 6, graduated high school at age 16, and finally completed my formal education with a Masters Degree at age 46, all in Texas. I have been a life member of the PTA for over 44 years and I love children.

Prison education is managed by the Windom School District. They have some 1300 employees at 90 prisons. They have existed for 41 years and the largest of Texas 1265 school districts. They currently have some 77,000 students. The district has 67 principals and librarians are paid $54,000 annually. Figures are from a March 17th article in the Austin American Statesman. I omitted their biased commentary.

Should you desire to pursue the following facts and figures, you can read the entire 2008-2009 Annual performance report and the 2010-2014 Strategic Plans on the Windom website.

Goals of the district include; (1) reduce recidivism; (2) reduce the costs of confinement or imprisonment; (3) increase the success of former inmates to behave in positive ways during confinement; and (4) provide an incentive to inmates to behave in positive ways during confinement or imprisonment.

I have previously written that the word “behave” is totally different today than when I was in K-12. If the 150,000 inmates in the Texas prisons were made to behave when in K-12 they possibly would not be in prison today?

The district provides 28 full-length Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. I will summarize it with Automotive, Building Trades, Business, Computers, Culinary, Custodial, Heating/AC, Horticulture, Personal and Family Development, Truck Driving, Welding. They also offer advanced College Credit Vocational courses in 25 subjects, most in the same categories as the CTE programs.

Degrees and certificates awarded during the 2008-2009 academic year included the following

Associate Degrees…………………………………………………….382

Bachelor’s Degrees………………………………………………………36

Master’s Degrees…………………………………………………………11

2-year College Vocational Credit (CVC) Certificates.…. 1,717

2-year CVC Non-Credit Certificates………………………………198

2-year College Workforce Non-Credit………………………….1,310

In FY-2009 the Windom School District had revenues of $78,423,339.00 and expenditures of $76,136,551.00. The state provided $59,425,788 in revenue. The remaining revenue came from interest $91,294, Federal pass through $1,847,535, continuing education $2,694,308, Federal grant $2,020,618, contract $4,253,803, Project Rio $3,647,569, other $34,888, operating transfer-in $129,989, and carry forward $4,277,547. If you have questions, ask your State Senator or State Representative what these spooky descriptions mean. I was intrigued with “carry forward”. I asked them several questions two weeks ago and I did get a reply from my State Representative, Wayne Christian, on March 23. I have received no response from Robert Nichols my State Senator. I will share some interesting feedback from some educators on Mr. Christian’s response next week. Some of his figures are misleading and incorrect.

Our entire American education system is misdirected and one of the primary reasons we have so many people in our prisons. Most other industrialized nations have understood that education that prepares all students as equals in the language, arts, math, science, history and humanities is a disaster. They evaluate all students after the 8th grade and prepare the ones who struggle with options. Similar to the Texas prison program, they offer training in the trades during high school free. In America we force the disadvantaged, both academically and financially, to pay at a trade school or get it free in prison.

I am working on an article that will reveal the state financial inequity at the local level. I watch our Sabine County high school graduates forced to leave this rural area and their families as there are limited opportunities for any career.

POLITICS AND LEADERSHIP

 

When I was a boy in the 1930’s my grandfather was the County Clerk of Palo Pinto Texas. He was one of my hero’s and when I spent the summers visiting he helped form my principles. I would go to the County Court events and observe how the justice system operated. On one visit when I was about eight, he took me to Mineral Wells to meet with the Governor of Texas at that time, W. Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel. He later became a US Senator. Later in life I was a schoolmate with Joan Jester in Corsicana Texas. Her father, Buford, was also a Texas democratic Governor.

All politics in Texas was controlled by the Democrats. All leaders of the State of Texas were conservative. In fact I do not recall any politician being a republican before I was in my mid 20’s. His name was Bruce Alger and I remember that he was the first republican that my dad ever voted for. I did not vote for him as I was committed democrat.

As I matured the Democratic Party started the drift to the left toward liberal socialism. This was contrary to the way I was raised and by the time I was thirty I had become a republican by choice and watched as the change progressed in Texas.

When I moved to Sabine County in 1991 one of the first things politically I remember was that there were no republicans in local politics. I recall an event one morning while Norma and I were having breakfast at Twitty’s and overheard a local group discussing politics. I will never forget what we overheard. One of the gentlemen in his blue overalls made the following statement, “I would vote for a dog before I would vote for a republican for anything.” Things have slightly improved here since then but we still have not had a republican Judge, Commissioner, Sheriff or County Clerk since I have been here. As Texas has been controlled by the republicans for several years now, you would think the locals would have figured out that the reason we are one of the poorest Counties in Texas is because we have no voice in Austin or a democrat to talk to. Maybe someday the local people will understand this when they vote. Many just do not care.

Texas passed a significant milestone this week when two recently elected House democrats switched to the Republican Party. For the first time in my memory the republican’s now have a super 101 member majority in the Texas House of Representatives. This means that the democrats can no longer disrupt the business of the people. I recall their childish behavior a few years ago when they all went to Oklahoma so that without a quorum the legislative process was impossible.

Now with the full power to act in the people’s interest it will be interesting to see if the Texas republicans can lead and use the power we have vested in them. Using the 1994 republican victory in the US Congress as a benchmark they will likely fail to listen to the people and squander the opportunity. We have a repeat of 1994 again next year in the US House of Representatives and an increased population in the US Senate. Let us all pray that the republicans can change Washington and Austin and restore the power to the people as designed by our Constitutions.

Post Navigation