Friday, March 16, 2012

The Texas Two-Step -- Cut budgets, increase class size

"I try to meet their needs. I'm not sure I am anymore," says Sara Estrada, who has been teaching for 27 years, says of her pre-kindergarten class at Lion Lane School in Houston, which has grown to 25 students even as it lost its full-time teacher's aide. -- Houston Chronicle
Rahm Emanuel loves the way they do schooling in Texas. Time and time again, he has held up Houston as his model school district because of its supposedly longer school day. Chicago's mayor claims, for example, that children in Houston graduate high schools with "three more years in the classroom." than do Chicago kids. Forget for a moment, that this nonsense was cynically fed to the mayor by Jonah Edelman of the union-busting group, Stand For Children. It sounded believable enough until you start doing some digging and find out what's really going on down in Rick Perry's state

Today's Texas Tribune pulls the shade on the real "reform" forced on Texas schools. It all amounts to massive budget cuts and fewer teachers teaching more kids in larger classrooms. Texas Education Agency data for the 2011-12 school year show that the number of elementary classes exceeding the 22-student cap has soared to 8,479 from 2,238 last school year.

The Republican-dominated state Legislature has cut $4 billion in education funding over the next two years while eliminating an additional $1.4 billion from grant programs, even though statewide enrollment is increasing by about 80,000 students annually.

No wonder Rahm grins when he thinks about Texas.


Ceresta Smith
Yesterday's Educating South Carolina blog reports on Ceresta Smith's talk in Sumter, Tuesday night. Ceresta is a longtime educator, civil rights and parent activist who is a member of the SOS National Steering Committee.

She told a community meeting at the North HOPE Center that moves across the nation to require more standardized testing in schools limit the curriculum and hurt students, and ultimately will result in schools in poorer, largely minority neighborhoods being shut down and replaced with privately run, profit-seeking charter schools with no accountability to the community. It's up to parents, students and teachers, Smith said, to resist test-based curricula.

 "Our children are being robbed, slowly, of a free, quality public education," Smith said. ESC blogger responds: "Somebody say, amen!:

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