Thursday, January 19, 2017


There are a few things that get me all kinds of ranty.  I started to type out a list but I deleted it.  It was making me feel extra doubly ranty.  Suffice it to say that education gets me all ranty.  I started a this rant on Facebook the other night but I decided to go long form.

Hold on to your hats, here it comes...

I am a parent. But I am also an educator.  I have every right to contact my representatives and voice my concerns.  And I do.  However, my opinion is often discounted because I would stand to 'win' in certain political fights. Non-educator parents are the ones with the real power. Lawmakers want to hear from you!  PLEASE take time to educate yourself and contact your representatives. You hold the silver bullet.

There are things happening in both Washington and Austin that parents need to be aware of.  I'm going to tell you about the three that are most important to me.  I can't help but give my opinion but I did try to give you resources for you to learn more on your own.  I should also note here that these are my opinion.  I am not speaking for Sunnyvale ISD.

Let's start with Washington.  President-Elect Trump as nominated Betsy DeVos to be Secretary of Education.  Her confirmation hearings are underway.  Check her out.  Here's a NBC story from Tuesday's hearing.  She will not commit to preserving Federal funding for schools.  She's not sure if Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law and stated that states should have leeway in how the implement it.  No ma'am, that's the point of a federal law, it lets the states know what they have to do.  Please also keep in mind that neither she nor her children ever attended public school. You can learn more about her and her committee hearing from this NPR report. If she scares you as much as she scares me, please contact your Senator.  You can find out who your Senator is here.

In Austin, the A-F accountability system needs your attention.  The measures used to judge schools are neither fair not equitable. Our school districts are supposed to be locally controlled.  A-F flies in the face of that principle.  This webpage from Texas Association of School Administrators is a good clearinghouse for A-F information.  Please take the time to review it.

In both Austin and Washington politicians use a lovely phrase to confuse constitutes: school choice.  That sounds lovely, right? I want to choose the school that I think is best for my child, right?  Most people do choose.  Many people choose where to live based on the school district that area is zoned for.  There are people who do not have this luxury, their income dictates where they must live.  It makes sense on it's face: offer the poorest families the choice to move their student to a private school where things will be better. That's not exactly how it works.

You'll hear a lot in the coming days about education spending accounts.  These go right along with school choice.  They sound awesome but wouldn't really help the kids who need help.  With an education spending account, families would be given the money they paid in school taxes to use on a private school.  The trouble is that the amount of money a family would get will not cover the entire cost of tuition to most private schools.  Families would still need to come out of pocket for half the cost, in most cases.  So, we're back to unfair and inequitable.  The poor kids still can't choose a new school and middle class kids flee to private schools who are not under the tyranny of the A-F system and do not have to give the state's standardized tests.  The rich get richer and poor get poorer.

And what happens to your local district when students take their money and run?  They don't have enough money to provide the kind of top-notch education all students deserve.  Districts have to cut personnel and programs.  Kids are not ready when they leave school. They aren't ready for college or the work place.  That lands them on government assistance.  Tax payers pay one way or another.  Wouldn't you rather your tax dollars be spent on education instead of welfare?

Please go to to learn more about the educational issues that will need to be addressed in Austin this term.  You can also find your state representatives on this page.

Like I said, these are my opinions.  It's totally cool if yours are different.  But make sure you have educated opinions.  Don't count on law maker sound bites.  Please get involved in the process.  You hold the silver bullet!

No comments :