Category Archives: Education – K12

UT Chancellor Supports Texas Dream Act

While Republicans in Texas have run and won on anti-immigrant attacks, in-state tuition rates for undocumented students who meet residency and graduation requirements has been the hot anti-immigrant issue in Republican primaries.

The original HB1403, signed by Rick Perry, caused Perry problems when he ran for President in 2012. University and college leaders have always supported the policy, which has helped thousands of Texas students who have established roots in Texas, whose parents paid local property Texas, and have earned a high school diploma. While immigration reform is still in limbo, President Obama’s executive action ensures that this first step for students who utilize this opportunity will be employable in the jobs for which they studied.

Now, UT’s new Chancellor has given his voice to the issue in support of in-state tuition calling it a “morally right thing to do.” As reported by the Trib,

“My job is to help educate the young men and women of Texas,” McRaven said in an interview with Texas Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith. “If we have been doing that for these undocumented students for, at a minimum, the past three years as they’ve made it through high school, and in many cases since they were in elementary school, I think it’s appropriate to continue to educate them.”

“If not, where will those undocumented students end up?” he said.

He’s talking sense in a world where the Texas Lege has become a tool for destructive practices:  de-funding K-12 and higher education, unlawful and racially targeted voter ID laws, and the decimation of women’s access to health care. What’s next in 2015? Who knows, but Republicans have made it clear that they are not on the right side of history on in-state tuition. Perhaps respected leaders like McRaven will provide the guidance they need to make the right decision.

For more information on the defense of HB1403, visit the website here and enlist in spreading the word.

Update:  New Aggieland Leader Also Supports HB1403

As reported in the Chron, the sole finalist for the A&M presidency, Michael Young stated:

“When I think about the issue of tuition and financial aid and so forth, for me, undocumented is part of it. I realize it’s a politically charged issue to talk about and etcetera and etcetera, but I think we ought to step back and ask that broader question, which is what do we do to make sure that all kids who are prepared and qualified have this opportunity.”

 

 

Save the Date: 02/09/2015 – Americans United ~ The Bible in Texas Schools? Why Not?

Americans United:  The Bible in Texas Schools? Why Not?

President Obama Proposes Free Community College

The key phrase here is, “…for those who work for it.” And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Today, the President unveiled a new proposal: Make two years of community college free for responsible students across America.

In our growing global economy, Americans need to have more knowledge and more skills to compete — by 2020, an estimated 35 percent of job openings will require at least a bachelor’s degree, and 30 percent will require some college or an associate’s degree. Students should be able to get the knowledge and the skills they need without taking on decades’ worth of student debt.

Currently, in Texas, 1/3 of university students and 1/2 of community college students are deemed unprepared for college once they graduate from high school. If community college students work hard, earn a 2.5 GPA, attend at least half-time, students could save a whole bunch, while preparing themselves for university-level courses.

Is there a catch? According to the White House:

The requirements:

  • What students have to do: Students must attend community college at least half-time, maintain a 2.5 GPA, and make steady progress toward completing their program.
  • What community colleges have to do: Community colleges will be expected to offer programs that are either 1) academic programs that fully transfer credits to local public four-year colleges and universities, or 2) occupational training programs with high graduation rates and lead to in-demand degrees and certificates. Community colleges must also adopt promising and evidence-based institutional reforms to improve student outcomes.
  • What the federal government has to do: Federal funding will cover three-quarters of the average cost of community college. Participating states will be expected to contribute the remaining funds necessary to eliminate the tuition for eligible students.

So, there are a couple of catches. The first one is that the participating colleges need to adopt institutional reforms to improve student outcomes. That said, and in a state like Texas, the colleges would need to put in some effort to help prepare students before they get into their transferable courses–tutoring programs, convenient course time availability for working students, proactive academic advising, etc. At least, that’s my thinking. It seems politicians of either party are so far off the mark when putting the onus on colleges to get students college-ready, and do little to fund K-12, which is where these students should be getting college-ready. There are some screwed-up priorities when it comes to education in Texas.

The second catch is that the Feds pay for 3/4 and the states pay the remaining funds to eliminate tuition. How that works in Texas, whose community colleges are locally controlled by elected boards, is still to be seen. Perhaps it’s through state financial aid. Still, states much choose to participate and with Texas ever-slipping backwards, and as some of my college professor friends have said, “I won’t hold my breath.”

Tech and Workforce Programs

Obviously, a good chunk of this would go to folks wanting to earn career certificates in tech and workforce programs. Many of these programs exist according to community needs, so, there will be a substantial benefit and return on the investment if students immediately fill jobs and become contributing members of the economy. Still, the state must choose to participate.

Something to consider is that many of these programs are too small–not enough seats and plenty of competition to enter the programs. Here in Texas, there is a huge nursing shortage. Back in 2005, my friend and former Express-News columnist Carlos Guerra wrote about the nursing shortage.

“Texas needs 34,000 more registered nurses to catch up to the national average…”

And that was in 2005. Some progress has been made, but if there is lack of support to grow these programs, by 2020 the shortage could number 70,000.

Obviously, there is much to think about. Certainly demand for all kinds of programs would increase with this kind of opportunity, but without available seats and investment from community college districts and other state funding beyond the tuition break, meeting employment needs would continue to be a challenge.

All of this said, anything that gives the next generation a break from tuition costs and student loans would be welcome.

 

 

Van de Putte Ad: A Matter of Trust

Endorsement: Vote Straight Ticket Democrat

Monday, 10/20/14, is the first day of Early Voting and DosCentavos.net urges you to vote a STRAIGHT DEMOCRATIC TICKET.

I should also mention, where there is no “D” but there is a Green Party candidate, I will vote for the “greenie.” No, I won’t vote for Libertarians. And Republicans? Now, that’s a laugh. If all I have is an “R” I’m skipping that race.

There are some races where a Republican high-spanic is running. In these races, I urge my Chicano/Latino family to NOT vote for them just because of their name, and to vote for the Democratic candidate. And that goes for everyone else.

Whether it is the high-spanic Bushie running for Texas Land Commissioner or the right-wing high-spanic running for Harris County Treasurer, the bottom line is that Republicans have proven to be toxic in 2014, especially against the poor, infirm, of color, women, the disabled, etc., and high-spanic Republicans are even more dangerous. In the case of these races, I urge you to vote for John Cook for Texas Land Commissioner, and my friend David Rosen for Harris County Treasurer. They are the best choices in these races, so it should be a no-brainer, anyway.

In areas in which I do not reside, but you might, please vote:  Luis Lopez for Texas House District 132, Re-Elect Mary Ann Perez in Texas House District 144, and Amy Perez for Texas House District 150.

From the top to the bottom of the ballot, the Democratic Party offers strong candidates who will serve Texas and Harris County well. I don’t support them just because they are Democrats, but because they offer solutions to the challenges faced by Texas. Wendy Davis is looking toward the future; Leticia Van de Putte is an exceptional leader who will ensure the Texas Legislature works for all Texans; Sam Houston is the only choice for Attorney General who will defend the rights of all Texans; as Texas Comptroller, Mike Collier will be an accountable and responsible steward of our tax dollars and investments; John Cook, as Land Commissioner, will protect the public lands which generate revenue for our public schools; and my friend Steve Brown will bring transparency to the Texas Railroad Commission.

While we have a strong statewide slate, we cannot forget about the rest of the ballot. Decisions are made in our local courts that affect us all. We must re-elect Justice Jim Sharp to the 1st Court of Appeals; send good folks like Judge Steven Kirkland, Ursula Hall and Jim Peacock to the district courts (just to name a few); or my friends Kathy Vossler and Tracy Good to the Family and Juvenile Courts;  or another friend, Raul Rodriguez to the County Court. There are so many to mention, but they would all serve offering fairness and justice for all.

And still, there are other positions, such as Ann Bennett who will protect our voting rights as County Clerk. Or keeping and sending, respectively, Deb Kerner and Melissa Noriega on/to the Harris County Department of Education Board of Trustees. And let’s not forget Jim Cargas for Congressional District 7! There are a lot of names on the ballot, and many I missed here, but I support all the Democrats.

I have no problem whatsoever voting a straight Democratic ticket in 2014. And neither should you. The future of Texas is at stake, and voting for Republicans will only continue setting us back decades. We must move forward, and the only chance of that happening is with a Democratic slate.

CLICK HERE FOR EARLY VOTING LOCATIONS

A voter photo ID will be required. Click here for acceptable IDs, or how to obtain a FREE Voter ID from you DPS office.

Added Guidance from a Trusted FB friend:

Please remember to vote in the Lone Star College System elections, too. If you vote ONLY a straight party ballot, you will miss them. Please vote YES on the bond; Art Murillo, Alton Smith, and Dom Bongiorni (District 3, 4, and 9) for trustees.

 

 

Wendy Davis Radio Ad: Aqui En Las Calles

Wendy Davis has hit the radiowaves with a strong “people on the street” Spanish-language ad which calls out Greg Abbott’s lack of support of Texas schools. Give it a listen (click the orange button).

HISD Up Close Features Rice Professor Richard Tapia

I’ve been away from my blogging duties for the last couple of weeks as my mom is working on getting over a nasty case of pneumonia. She’s recouperating slowly and I’d like to thank all my friends and family for their good thoughts and well-wishes during this time.

Still, I don’t want to make you all suffer from lack of DC content, so, here’s a video I’d like to share featuring my friend, HISD Board President Juliet Stipeche, interviewing National Medal of Science winner and Rice University Professor Dr. Richard Tapia. Enjoy!

[Video] Wendy Davis ~ Empleos De Hoy

In case you haven’t seen it, Texas Gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis released this Spanish-language ad on Texas Education.

“Today’s jobs require an education, but how many of our children aren’t going to achieve their dreams because of Greg Abbott?

He fought against our schools, defending budget cuts which resulted in the lost of 11,000 teachers.

Democrat Wendy Davis knows the importance of an education, she wants to move a step forward with pre-k, double the funding for professional education, and to put universities within the reach of all of our children.

With Wendy, we achieve more.”

Leticia Van de Putte Launches Two Ads

Here is Twice, an ad on K-12 Education Cuts which were supported by Dan Patrick.

And here’s Respeto–in Spanish. Even if you don’t understand it, it still lights a fire under you.

Quick translation:  When I speak of the respect we deserve, I speak for my grandmothers who were born in Musquiz and Guadajara; for the service of my family–my mom as a teacher, my father a veteran. I speak as a mother, as a grandmother, as a pharmacist. I speak as a Senator who keeps fighting to protect the future of our children. And I speak as a Democratic candidate because our community never gives up.

 

Wendy Davis Launches Education Ad

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