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Communication
Apr 23, 2013   03:44 PM
by Floyd Crider

Communication/Town Hall

I believe that genuine dialogue is necessary for greater understanding.  Greater understanding is necessary for trust.  Trust is necessary for relationship.  And, with relationship and mutual respect we can reach consensus.  Consensus is greater than compromise.  With compromise everyone must give up something.  But, with consensus, everyone must get something.  The difference is in the mindset.

The exchange of information, ideas, opinions constitutes dialogue; communication.  I would like to see town hall type meetings throughout the district.  We could conduct them at churches, lodge halls or other convenient venues.  I know that we have PTA and PTO meetings.  But in my experience, they do not abet exchanges in that the agenda usually is preset and may not include concerns from all present.  An open town hall would allow any subject to be addressed.  All stake holders could be heard spontaneously.  It would be bottom up as well as top down.  On a smaller scale, interested parties could invite their friends and neighbors into their homes to interact with board members.  This could be done periodically throughout the school year, perhaps monthly. 

 



Guns In Schools
Apr 09, 2013   03:09 PM
by Floyd Crider

Recent mass murders around the country have resulted in some calling for teachers to be issued guns for deterrence and defense. Though the idea seems feasible to some, I don’t know if they have thought it all the way through.

First of all, all teachers will not be predisposed to handle firearms. Not everyone is. Further, they also may not be predisposed to aim and shoot to kill a potential perpetrator. Like others, in their initial situation at least, they may “freeze.” Just like soldiers and others.

Secondly, those that do not freeze could get trigger happy with the result being friendly fire casualties. Just like soldiers and others.

To preclude these scenarios, teachers would have to have more than safety and methodology training. They would need pop up decision course training and lots of it. Who is going to pay for this training, weapons and munitions? Have we considered the cost?

Third, as Mr. Dendle stated, if we want a math teacher, we go out and get a professional, certified math teacher. The same would apply for a physics teacher. Thus, if we need security, we should go out and get professional security personnel.

Teachers have enough to do without worrying about mandatory weapons usage. Where would the weapon be stored? Do we wear holsters? What happens when we are showing a student something at his desk and the student behind you thinks he can get your weapon? What happens if a teacher has a rough day and has it with a student or is threatened by a student? Too many variables

We cannot assume that teachers will all want to be Rambo, John Wayne types taking out bad guys with a yippee kiyo warhoop. I don’t see it as necessary at this time. But if it ever was the teachers would have to be volunteers and would need extensive training and attitude testing.

What do you think?



Property Tax
Apr 08, 2013   10:03 AM
by Floyd Crider

When the last Texas legislature unexpectantly (and inexplicably) cut education funds by $5.4 billion in 2011, many districts had to scramble to cover expenses. Unfortunately, but righteously, SAISD had to remove the Homestead Exemption and property owners taxes were raised. Recently, many school districts won a combined court case requiring the state to return some funding. It is under appeal but I expect that it will be upheld. This year’s biennial Texas legislature has submitted a plan to add $3.5 billion to education. Should this be enacted along with the results of the lawsuit, we should look at possibly reinstating the Homestead Exemption if possible or lowering school tax rates.

Although education is a business, it is not like regular businesses in that the goal is not to maximize proceeds (profits) from assets. We are required to have a “Fund Balance” recommended to be 25% of our annual budget. If we exceed that and have no needed expenditures, the taxpayers should receive relief from the tax rate. What do you think?



At Risk Students
Apr 04, 2013   09:10 AM
by Floyd Crider

From the book A Nation At Risk came the term “At Risk” students. That is to say, students that are at risk to drop out of school. At risk factors have been developed after research determined many reasons students leave school before high school graduation. Some of them include: being held back in the same grade; death(s) in the family; pregnancy; failing grades in two or more core subjects and others.

It is possible to early on identify students At Risk and provide intervention measures to address the issue(s) and, hopefully, prevent the occurrence. But, evidently, we are not as successful as we would like to be. We do have alternatives that can help students matriculate and graduate. One is Credit Recovery whereby students can make up failing grades and get back on track to graduate with their class. The selected students attend classes for certain periods, after school or, once, in the summer, in the Credit recovery lab. The classes are CBI, or Computer Based Instruction, and are self paced.

Another is PAYS (Preparing Area Youth to Succeed) which accommodates students who are having major issues. Students can attend morning or afternoon classes. Once again the classes are CBI and self paced.

Another used to be Night School discussed in an earlier blog.

Parents and students should be made more aware of other programs as well. I believe that Job Corps is a viable alternative that is under publicized. I feel that information about the program should be on our district and high school web sites. The program allows selected students to attend school in a controlled environment in certain cities. They receive work opportunities to earn money while attending school. They also have the opportunity to learn a trade while, hopefully, earning a high school diploma.

These options could be made more visible to stake holders. What do you think?



Career and Technology Education (CTE)
Mar 12, 2013   03:49 PM
by Floyd Crider

Not every student is going to college nor should they. I need someone who can fix my car and HVAC. I need someone who can build and do major repair on my house. There are many fields of endeavor that require workers and they pay quite well. I think that the public should be encouraged more to enter into the discussion of what might be worthwhile to have in our community.

I spent a week at Texas State Technical College (TSTC) in Sweetwater, Texas learning about and visiting classrooms, sites and other TSTC locations. As anyone traveling outside of San Angelo going north or west knows, wind energy is dominating the landscape and appears to be a permanent part of the energy response. Anything with moving parts will require maintenance sooner or later. Shouldn’t we at least explore a class in this area? Are students interested, what is the pay (lucrative), what are the employment opportunities, how does the grid work, what are future plans for alternative energy? Would a class in this area be viable? What about other areas? Electricity? Plumbing? Machinists? Perhaps, we could hold a public workshop on the subject to ensure there is dialogue on this subject.



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