Friday, October 23, 2009

Thank you, GNAT

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of visiting with members of GNAT (Good News Available Transportation) on the occasion of their DFW GNAT Shining Star 2009 awards program.

Education is one of the priorities of GNAT, and the organization is a strong supporter of public education.  

It was a pleasure to be present for the awards event and to learn more about the outstanding community service of GNAT.

Thank you, Board Chairman Lonnie Woods, Judge Thomas G. Jones, and members for an evening of inspiration.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

12-point agenda violates trustee ethics

How can a newly elected Trustee truthfully give the officer's statement below if the Trustee has made advance promises to existing Trustees in return for their political and financial support?

Trustee Jack Lowe's very specific 12-point agenda includes a commitment to vote a certain way on several very important issues which will come before Trustees at a future time. Click Here!    Tawnell Hobbs of the Dallas Morning News previously commented on this list.

This includes a specific promise to vote for Trustee Edwin Flores as Board President for the next two and a half years and to keep the current Superintendent.

The Trustee officer's statement is contained in policy BBB(Exhibit). Click Here!


“I, ________________________________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I have not directly or indirectly paid, offered, promised to pay, contributed, or promised to contribute any money or thing of value, or promised any public office or employment for the giving or withholding of a vote at the election at which I was elected or as a reward to secure my appointment or confirmation, whichever the case may be, so help me God.” Tex. Const. Art. XVI, Sec. 1(b)

The 12-point agenda appears to violate the Trustee Code of Ethics contained in policy BBF(Local-Ethics) Click Here - as well as the restrictions on public servants contained in policy BBFB(Legal-Ethics). Click Here!

Trustees must follow the guidelines contained in Board policies, state laws and the Texas Constitution.

They appear to have been violated.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Almost no election until November 2010

The action of Dallas ISD Trustees in extending Trustee terms from 3 to 4 years would have eliminated both the May 2009 Trustee election (Flores, Ellis, Price) and the May 2010 Trustee election (Bingham, Blackburn, Garza). The May 2011 election would include Lowe, Ranger, and Medrano.

You will find this mentioned in the opinion request letter of Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott sent on December 3, 2008 to the Attorney General where it is noted:
  • The trustees' action has been reported to also postpone elections previously scheduled for May, 2009 to November, 2010.
This statement appears on page 2, the last sentence before the line break.

This points to the likelihood there would have been no Trustee election from the date of the Dallas ISD Trustee decision on November 20, 2008 until November 2010 - a full two years.

It is very important for citizens to Vote for the candidate of their choice - not a candidate who has made secret 12-point deals with current Trustees seeking to continue imposing a narrow, destructive and self-serving agenda on the district.

Remember, thousands of citizens almost lost their right to vote at all until November 2010.

Whatever your decision, use your opportunity to Vote.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Texas Association of School Boards annual convention

The 49th annual session of the Texas Association of School Administrators and Texas Association of School Boards, the TASA/TASB convention was held during the weekend in Houston, Texas at the George Brown Convention Center.

I traveled by car on Thursday to attend this annual state event and returned on Sunday evening. My scheduled attendance at this event was known weeks in advance.

The state school board convention provides many opportunities to participate in a broad range of training sessions and to network among 6,000 school trustees, administrators, decision makers, supporters and parents.  

In addition to breakout sessions and informative lectures, including one from TEA Commissioner Robert Scott, we were privileged to hear three general session presenters:

  • Alan November, educator and modern web technologies educational consultant
  • Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, M.D. (Dr. Q), brain surgeon and assistant professor of neurosurgery and oncology 
  • Debbie Allen, choreographer/actress and U.S. Ambassador of Culture  

Selected highlights from their presentations are worth noting.

Alan November believes students must develop three essential skills: 1) the ability to access the right information at the right time; 2) the ability to work with people all around the world; and 3) the ability to be self-directed.

Dr. Q talked about lessons of determination, resilience, faith, passion, dedication, adoration and mentoring which he learned from patients and uses to help students achieve success.  

Debbie Allen told of her rich education and immense respect for teachers and public education while urging school districts to prepare students to perform on the global stage. She believes it is imperative that teachers ignite curiosity in students. If curiosity is ignited, students will seek and discover for themselves. They will become engaged in education; they will learn more.

Numerous specific workshops were attended and worthwhile training was received for Trustee course credit.

For public education, I am glad to have the opportunity to attend the Texas Association of School Boards annual conference and the many sessions on important educational topics.

I hope to attend this annual gathering of Texas school board Trustees until my school board service ends.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Soaring Eagles at Erasmo Seguin Elementary win US Gold

Deputy Under Secretary Dr. Janey Thornton (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture) was in Dallas yesterday for one very good reason -- to present the HealthierUS School Gold Certification to students and staff of Erasmo Seguin Elementary School.

During a special ceremony, parents and friends heard high praise for the cafeteria team and its collaboration with faculty and staff to provide good nutrition, play and instruction to develop healthy bodies and minds.

Erasmo Seguin, the first  of 157 Dallas elementary schools to receive the HealthierUS School Gold Certification, is in a unique class.  Deputy Under Secretary Thornton said that only about 600 elementary schools in the country have ever received the Gold award.  Winning this ultimate achievement  is not easy -- it was the result of a year-long examination and evaluation process in which children were to "eat smart" and "play hard."  

To show how eager and committed they are to healthy eating and living, children had fun performing an original skit and song that showed parents and guests the benefits of  good food and play.  

Thanks to Erasmo Seguin cafeteria manager and staff for undertaking this tedious process and for introducing our students to more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, less sugar and less salt. Thanks to faculty and staff for your excellent team and classroom work for nutrition and health.

Much appreciation to Dallas ISD Food & Child Nutrition for handling and submitting the lengthy application -- it was a recipe for success.  

Congratulations Principal Yolanda Thompson and students on this USDA Gold Certification for the Exemplary Erasmo Seguin Elementary School.