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Archive for the tag “School Superintendents”

EDUCATION TEXAS- IS TOP DOWN THE ANSWER?

 

Recently I read an article on chron.com, headed “Texas Politics” that got my attention. This article announced that a diverse group of Texas business, philanthropic and community leaders have formed a group named the “Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education”. It was described as a “nonpartisan group” of more than 200 founding members, innovators, job creators, former office holders and education advocates. Their mission was for Texas to lead the nation in higher education. It noted that this was done in support of governance proposed by Rick Perry.

The article went on to say that they were alarmed about the cuts in funding of research and professors. It was predicted as a prescription for mediocrity for Texas. I commend this group of concerned citizens for forming this movement.

It is a shame that our Governor, the legislature, these distinguished business leaders and scholars have no time or desire to improve our K-12 basic education. With all of the interest in higher education Texas has decimated the primary education programs. With no facts to support the spending of billions of dollars by adding more testing in lieu of discipline and better teachers is idiotic at best. Adding additional math and science courses with no foundation or preparation will be another disaster. Creating new testing programs appear designed as a way to evaluate teachers rather than improve our children’s knowledge.

We can’t afford to downgrade education in Texas as our current standing in 43rd place out of 50 states in K-12 schools is unacceptable. Testing does not improve knowledge, teachers do.

This new higher education drive does not even follow the laws of nature. To get an pecan tree we plant, water andFertilize a pecan. We do not wait until it reaches adult life to nourish its growth.

Most of the people who formed this new group, our academics, legislators, business leaders and Governor Perry were educated in another era like myself. We did not have discipline problems, aliens, and a welfare society to distract K-12 education. We also had fewer one parent children and parents who shared education responsibilities. Now we expect a teacher in K-12, who is responsible to teach, to also provide nurturing and discipline that is a parental obligation. Teachers spend an enormous amount of time defending their actions with parents.

Common sense will prevail that not every teacher is perfect and some will need guidance and some removed from education. If anyone believes that every K-12 child is 100% angel, they need an awakening. Our Texas leaders have decided, without any facts that the solution will be to use outside testing agencies to evaluate teacher and administrator performance.

We now live in a technological era where the entire problem could be isolated and corrected at a fraction of the costs of the STAAR testing program.

All that needs to be done is to install a digital sound camera in every classroom, office and board room from kindergarten to graduate school. This would provide the facts necessary to know exactly what to do to improve education at every level. This would pinpoint teacher, administrator, student and school board performance evaluation. Parents could witness discipline problems; administrators could review teacher performance; school boards could evaluate administrators and the state could evaluate school boards. This is what a business would do if their costs keep increasing and the performance diminished. Doing the right thing right, every time, is called success and common sense. Unfortunately politicians have little business or common sense.

How many teachers, administrators, school boards, university/college professors and trustees will fight these suggestions? All of them will. Unfortunately politicians will just ignore them.

Hoping that a child will be smarter with testing, so the professors in college task will be easier is a pipe dream. From my perspective our leadership in Texas has their education priorities bassackwards. Pardon my east Texas vocabulary.

Clyde Brewer

EDUCATION- IS THE TAXPAYER RESPONSIBLE FOR FRILLS?

 

I just read an article in today’s (5-25-11) Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that every tax payer in America should read; “Public Schools Charge Kids for Basics, Frills” by Stephanie Simon. I personally have some problems with every fact exposed, but I find some refreshing ways to even the burden on what I feel are pure frills. The facts I use are quoted from this article. 

Fact; “After adjusting for inflation, average spending per pupil has increased 44% over the past two decades, according to the U.S. Department of Education.” The WSJ article states; “The average salary for a public school teacher nationally has jumped 26% since 2001, though that growth didn’t quite keep pace with inflation.”

For the past few weeks I have posted many articles about education and it appears that Public Schools across America are facing significant reductions in state funding for education. Increasing personnel costs and lower tax revenues are shifting costs to students and their parents by new and increased fees in several parts of the country.

Some public schools have charged for extras such as driver’s education and field trips. Many school districts are now charging for supplies needed to take core classes. In some schools each class has a price tag. One interesting area that should get some specific attention is the costs of sports and other non-core education subjects like band, debate, drama, arts etc.

Some examples extracted from the WSJ article; Fees in Medina, Ohio of $200 for Band, $200 for Concert Choir, $50 to act in a school play and $660 to participate in a high school sport; A 52% increase this year in the Blue Valley ISD in Overland Park Kansas for enrollment and supplies that are typically $235; Next year the Wheaton (Illinois) North High School will charge $221 for baseline registration, $150 for each sport and class fees as much as $50 each. In addition Medina charges $75 for generic school fees, $118.50 for materials used in Biology, physics and other academic courses and $263 for Advanced Placement Exams. Other non-core cost examples included in the article were parking, struggling readers, advanced math, foreign languages and Chess Club.

All American children should receive a tax supported core public education that I had many years ago. The general public seems to agree that this is an American value. Each state has a constitutional requirement to educate our children, but it appears that the variables are significant from state to state. Each state should define “suitable” or “adequate” education that is to be funded with public money. If you feel that charging special fees like the examples included, then contact your State Representative or Senator.

I urge my state, Texas, to call a special legislative session, to define the tax payer’s education responsibilities. They should also force smaller school districts to consolidate. 1265 different school districts is an irresponsible legislative oversight to control spending. School boards refuse to consolidate because they are forced to give up sport nicknames such as “Bulldogs”, etc. This is as asinine as the ego trip for some to attain power of serving on a School Board. If a local school district desires extra benefits involving sports, academic enhancements, clubs etc., let them fund it with local tax increases.

It is time for the people to stand up and force the legislatures to do their job with fiscal responsibility. We have 254 counties and only two have County School Superintendents, Dallas and Harris counties, why? The State of Texas “IS” responsible for every child to receive the same educational opportunity. When will the Governor and Legislature stop blaming the local school boards and make sure all Texas children have equal and adequate opportunities?  

If you agree then pass this around, I would appreciate your comments.

CB

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