Sunday, May 16, 2010

40 Years of Academic Excellence at Erasmo Seguin

What a celebration - the 40th Anniversary Celebration of  Erasmo Seguin Community Learning Center.

It was a time to congratulate students, former students, parents, grandparents, teachers, staff and friends 
who came to the 40th Anniversary event to enjoy remembering and participating in some Seguin family fun.

Erasmo Seguin has developed four decades of young learners.

The anniversary program included outstanding student performances that inspired us.  They were the: Seguin Choir, Handbell Chorus, Guitar Club, Seguin Dancers and student presenters.

The first principal, Priscilla McGaughey who opened Erasmo Seguin in 1970 and immediate past Principal Marsha Burkley (Kleberg Elementary) also returned to reminisce and tell a few Seguin stories.

Special recognitions, songs and honors went to longest serving teachers Ladora Blaylock (retiring), Clara Hill,  Kay Hocker (retired), Virginia Lyons (retiring) and Helen Scott Mann.  Student reflections also praised these endearing teachers and "Moms."

Erasmo Seguin Community Learning Center can truly boast about its 40 years of instilling academic standards, while building meaningful school and community relations.  It was obvious that-- for present and past students, faculty, staff, principals and parents -- Seguin is a school and a family.

Much appreciation to Chairpersons Chara Pace and Candace Wicks ( 2008-09 Dallas ISD Teacher of the Year) and the Celebration Steering Committee.

Thanks to Alyce Barnes, Patricia Field, Charles Malone, Patrick Williams and the Site-Based Decision Making Committee for 40th Anniversary support.

Congratulations and thanks to Principal Yolanda Thompson, faculty, staff and students.

Celebrate!   Erasmo Seguin Community Learning Center...  You are 40!

You are Exemplary!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Education Secretary Arnie Duncan

A Washington Post education blog made this observation:
'Education Secretary Arne Duncan said something in an interview with the New York Times that was so scary wrong that it leaves me hoping he was kidding. The alternative--that he really means it-- is even scarier." 
From The Answer Sheet - Valerie Strauss
- Say what, Secretary Duncan?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Superintendent Hinojosa must follow Board policy

DISD E-News - April 23, 2010
District to Partner With Uplift Education (a Charter School Operator) and Teaching Trust (a newly created nonprofit organization) to Apply for Federal Innovation Grant

Dallas ISD Board policy CB (Local) (State and Federal Revenue Sources) clearly states:
"The District is committed to seeking outside funds from federal, state and private sources ...
The decision regarding whether to seek specific outside funds shall be made by the Board in consideration of the administration's recommendation, which is developed utilizing input from teachers, principals, students, community groups, agencies and parents."
Last Thursday we had a Called Board meeting.  No action was taken, but comments suggested that it was okay for the Superintendent to apply for grant funds without Board approval.

The superintendent simply has no authority to do what has been done.  That is clearly stated in the District policy on applying for State and Federal Revenue Sources.

Under the Superintendent's contract with the district, he is obligated to uphold and follow all district policies.

Board policy BBF (Local) - Board Members Ethics - Integrity of Character states:
"I will consistently uphold all applicable laws, rules, policies, and governance procedures."
How do you uphold policies and governance procedures when the Superintendent does not follow them?

The $5 million grant application was not authorized by the Board of Trustees.  The Letter of Intent was also not authorized by the Board.

Board policy clearly indicates only "the Board" has authority to make the decision "whether to seek outside funds"  - not the Superintendent. (CB-Local)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Why Charter Schools Fail the Test

Op-Ed Contributor - Why Charter Schools Fail the Test -
Charles Murray - American Enterprise Institute

"THE latest evaluation of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, the oldest and most extensive system of vouchers and charter schools in America, came out last month, and most advocates of school choice were disheartened by the results.

"The evaluation by the School Choice Demonstration Project, a national research group that matched more than 3,000 students from the choice program and from regular public schools, found that pupils in the choice program generally had achievement growth rates that are comparable”  to similar Milwaukee public-school students. This is just one of several evaluations of school choice programs that have failed to show major improvements in test scores, but the size and age of the Milwaukee program, combined with the rigor of the study, make these results hard to explain away.

"So let’s not try to explain them away. Why not instead finally acknowledge that standardized test scores are a terrible way to decide whether one school is better than another? This is true whether the reform in question is vouchers, charter schools, increased school accountability, smaller class sizes, better pay for all teachers, bonuses for good teachers, firing of bad teachers — measured by changes in test scores, each has failed to live up to its hype."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

National Teacher Appreciation Week

Perhaps we can smile about the following 1872 Rules for Teachers, found in the
Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse, St. Augustine, Florida:
  • Teachers each day will fill lamps, clean chimneys.
  • Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day's session.
  • Make your pens carefully.  You may whittle nibs to the individual taste of the pupils.
  • Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly.
  • After ten hours in school, the teachers may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good   books.
  • Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.
  • Every teacher should lay aside from each day pay a goodly sum of his earnings for his benefit during his declining years so that he will not become a burden on society.
  • Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barber shop will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity and honesty.
  • The teacher who performs his labor faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of twenty-five cents per week in his pay, providing the Board of Education approves. 
These rules remind us that teachers have always been required to give more and do more for less.  Yet with purpose, joy and love, dedicated teachers greet each school day as one more opportunity to make a difference in the lives of students.

This is National Teacher Appreciation Week.

I am convinced that Dallas ISD teachers are appreciated every day that a student learns something new, gets a smile, hears an encouraging word, experiences a boost in confidence, feels comfortable and safe, has a tear wiped or enjoys a big laugh.

We're glad you are here teaching now, rather than in 1872 -- the chimneys are way out of reach. 

Thank you, Teachers, for teaching and doing the important job you do for our nation.

Thank you for making Dallas ISD, your school and your students better today.

Thank you for touching the future. 

You are appreciated!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Education reforms get a failing grade

A recent Dallas Morning News OpEd describing Chicago Tribune reporter Steve Chapman's article "Education Reformers Get Schooled" emphasized again that there are no quick fix educational solutions.   The record is that there are no top down one size for all miracles.

Education reforms get a failing grade -

The challenges of education will never be solved by undemocratic dictator models of governance, mayor take-overs and privatization schemes.  Public education is more than all of this put together.

The overwhelming majority of school children will always remain left behind in traditional public schools.   Diverting time and resources to false fixes will continue to weaken public education.

Public education needs to be renewed and strengthened from the bottom up starting with putting teachers fully in charge of teaching and learning and providing the freedom, flexibility and professional development they need.

It seems everyone wants to be an instant expert on education - anyone but the front-line teachers in the classroom who must meet the daily challenges of actually teaching students from all backgrounds, races, income levels, abilities and home circumstances - the good, the bad and the ugly.

An outstanding Florida teacher recently described it this way:  "I Am a Teacher in Florida."  Click Here!
"They come in hungry—I feed them. They come in angry—I counsel them. They come in defeated—I encourage them. And this is all before the bell rings."
"I am a teacher in Florida, not for the pay or the hardships, the disregard or the disrespect; I am a teacher in Florida because I am given the chance to change lives for the good, to educate and elevate the minds and hearts of my students, and to show them that success comes in all shapes and sizes, both in the classroom and in the community."
Florida Governor Splits With G.O.P. on Teacher Pay!