Category Archives: Education – K12

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

Feel free to share.

Abbott Lays Out Lackluster College Plan

The Republican running for Governor, Greg Abbott, released a lackluster college plan today. Instead of providing much needed resources for universities who must help students catch up and become “college-ready,” Abbott proposed to fund our institutions based on outcomes. On top of this, Abbott proposed a plan to expand high-enrollment online college courses for college students.

If one wants to attempt to read the plan, here it is.

Basically, Abbott’s plan holds much-needed resources hostage, while his online college plan only hurts the brick-and-mortar institutions that have put Texas on the higher education map.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott will call for students to receive college credit for taking massive open online courses — often referred to as “MOOCs” — as part of the higher education plan he unveils on Tuesday, sources with knowledge of his plans say.

[…]

MOOCs are online courses with unlimited enrollment that anyone — regardless of whether they are enrolled at a university — can sign up for and take for free. Right now, the courses rarely earn students college credit.

What Abbott’s plan does is negatively affect student-faculty relationships as these courses have unlimited enrollment. Perhaps they might work for some survey course in which students just regurgitate information, but the effect a faculty member has on a course in expanding critical thinking through course discussion will certainly be evident. For sure, these unlimited enrollment courses will not work for courses in ones major course of study. And since he is so supportive of outcomes-based funding, the fact is that these high-enrollment college courses have a high-flunk-out rate–students just leave the courses and never complete them.

Above all, and unlike Wendy Davis, Abbott has ignored the fact that 1/2 of community college and 1/3 of university students enter unprepared, thanks to funding cuts and lack of investment in K-12. Abbott should know a little about this as he has supported K-12 funding cuts and recently lost a lawsuit brought by hundreds of Texas school districts regarding school finance. But, I digress. If students are entering our institutions unprepared after learning in brick and mortar K-12 classrooms, how does he expect these students to be successful in online courses?

Greg Abbott isn’t offering anything regarding college affordability and tuition controls or student financial aid. In short, the Greg Abbott plan does nothing to improve graduation and retention rates. What it does do is bring Texas a step closer to privatizing public higher education.

I wouldn’t even credit Greg Abbott with supporting the status quo, as it seems he is more in tune with digging a deeper grave for state institutions of higher education.

Stick with Wendy Davis’ higher education plan. It works for all Texans.

Greg Abbott Loses Again, School Finance System Unconstitutional

After continually under-funding public education, and then cutting $5 billion from K-12 in 2011, the Republican-led Texas Government was sued by a lot of school districts. Today, the Republicans were handed a huge loss by a district judge in Austin. The judge ruled that the way the state of Texas finances education is unconstitutional. The Republicans will likely appeal, since they support cutting K-12 funding.

Specifically, as reported by the Trib:

In an almost 400-page opinion released Thursday, District Court Judge John Dietz of Austin said that the state’s school finance system is unconstitutional not only because of inadequate funding and flaws in the way it distributes money to districts, but also because it imposes a de facto state property tax. Certain to be appealed by the state, the lawsuit that arose after lawmakers cut roughly $5.4 billion from state public education funding in 2011 will now continue to the Texas Supreme Court.

Judge Dietz went on to explain the best reasons to support public education.

“We realize that others provided for us when we were children. We realize that children are without means to secure their education. Just as others provided for us when we were in school, now is the time when we provide for others,” he said, going on to describe the societal benefits of a well-educated population: lower crime rates, fewer people who need public assistance and a greater state income.”

The education commissioner Michael Williams, a Republican, spoke against the ruling, stating that judges shouldn’t be deciding school finance. Well, judges wouldn’t be needed if Republicans weren’t hell-bent on violating a child’s right to an education as specified in the Texas Constitution by cutting funding. So, whether it is Rick Perry appointees or other right-wing elected Republicans mouthing off against the ruling, the bottom line is that they voted to cut public education funding and have been starving K-12 (and higher education for that matter) for decades.

After Dan Patrick, a Houston state senator who is running for Lt. Governor, tried to cover up his vote against restoring some of the K-12 funding in the last legislative session by saying he chaired the committee that voted to restore the funding, Democrat Leticia Van de Putte called Patrick out in a “hypocrisy alert.”

In 2013, Senate Finance Chair Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, said, “Patrick was directly responsible for these same education programs not being funded…Such revisionism cannot go unchallenged.” [Texas Tribune, 06/21/13]

Senator Leticia Van de Putte, Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor, released the following statement:

“I echo Senator Williams’ sentiments. Dan Patrick was directly responsible for these education cuts, and his revisionism will not go unchallenged. Dan Patrick has shown time and time again that he does not value our neighborhood schools — he showed that when he voted twice against Texas students.

“It is time to accept responsibility and lead. We do not need another court to tell us how to do our jobs. Texans expect a quality education for their children — no excuses, no delays. It is time to put Texas first. As Lieutenant Governor, I will do exactly that.”

And there’s no doubt in my mind that Leticia Van de Putte will take the lead to protect public education and make it a top priority of the Texas legislature.

Elections matter, just like our public schools matter. If you don’t want public schools closing, or if you don’t want your kid in an overcrowded classroom, then you better make it your business to be registered to vote and show up on November 4.

Other Reaction:

Wendy Davis, Democrat for Governor:  “Today is a victory for our schools, for the future of our state and for the promise of opportunity that’s at the core of who we are as Texans. The reality is clear and indefensible: insiders like Greg Abbott haven’t been working for our schools; they’ve been actively working against them. Abbott has been in court for years, defending overcrowded classrooms, teacher layoffs and public-school closings, and today, Judge John Dietz ruled against him. This ruling underscores the crucial need to invest in education and reminds us of just how much our schools, teachers and students have had to sacrifice over the past three years just to get by.”

State Senator Jose Rodriguez (D) El Paso:  Our state has not lived up to its constitutional obligation to offer equitable and adequate educational opportunities to all Texans. Today’s court ruling is yet another opportunity to do better, especially with the 84thLegislature right around the corner. The state’s attorneys should end their battle against the Texas constitution — and our students, parents, and teachers — and allow us to move forward on a legislative solution to this issue, which is of such vital importance for the future of Texas.

State Senator Sylvia Garcia (D) Houston:  “Today is a victory for the school children of Texas. Judge Dietz simply confirmed what we’ve all known for years; that the state refuses time and time again to do what’s right for our children and the future of our state.”

“Today’s ruling reaffirms that Republican leadership has created an unconstitutional system which values some children more than others, yet short-changes them all.”

 

HCDE Seeks Input on Superintendent Search

The Harris County Department of Education has launched a search for a new Superintendent and the Board of Trustees needs some community input. The survey is due by Monday, August 11, 2014, so get it done.

Also, if you’re interested in applying for the post, get it done. As Trustee Erica Lee stated, “We are seeking a diverse leader who is suited to meet the changing needs of students, educators and school districts in our community.”

HCDE Community Superintendent Survey
HCDE Superintendent Job Posting (Initial Application due September 8, 2014)