Texas Schools

Discussion in 'West Mall' started by BrntOrngStmpeDe, Mar 21, 2023.

  1. BrntOrngStmpeDe

    BrntOrngStmpeDe 1,000+ Posts

    Texas takeover of HISD schools really doesn't seem to promise much improvement.

    IMO, most of the school's success or failure is based on the attitudes toward academics of the student body. It really doesn't seem like a state takeover will lead to much improvement.

    I did a quick search and didn't find much out there about the relative success or failure of this approach, just a lot of hand wringing about how it is yet another "racist" action.

    IMO, these are the contributors to a school's success in order of importance
    1. The students. Their attitudes towards academics are responsible for the lion's share of academic outcomes
    2. Family
    3. Community
    4. Teachers. They are important but their job is like pushing wet noodles if the kids don't care and the parents aren't providing the right motivation and discipline at home
    5. Facilities. I would argue that kids were better educated/smarter 40 years ago when we didn't have technology and all the bells and whistles.

    A state takeover of a school seems like a "just do something... anything" move.
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  2. Monahorns

    Monahorns 5,000+ Posts

    Administration policy is a huge factor. They determine what teachers are allowed to do in the classroom. They either help the teachers do what they need to do or put additional burdens on them. I have never heard a teacher tell me that the administration is giving them good guidance or support. All I have heard is that they make a tough job impossible. A big part of this is discipline. The administration does not discipline bad actors whether they are students or teachers.
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  3. guy4321

    guy4321 1,000+ Posts

    You're both correct. Students have to want to succeed as do their families for good academic outcomes, but that can be altered by the administration. Leander ISD admin got rid of letter grades through fifth grade this year. Not surprising, my fifth grader and his peers, who had letter grades last year in fourth grade, are less worried about tests this year. A state takeover to enforce grades would be a positive. A state takeover to force more DEI would not.
  4. ViperHorn

    ViperHorn 10,000+ Posts

    No the educational product will not get better. The only real change is a different group of people will be getting the graft.
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    Last edited: Mar 21, 2023
  5. SabreHorn

    SabreHorn 10,000+ Posts

    Districts I can remember that were taken over

    Wilmer Hutchins
    Port Arthur
    North Forest

    1) What did they all have in common?
    2) What improvements were made by new board?
    3) Indictments for insider dealing - kickbacks for contracts?

    4) Anything accomplished that would lead an outsider to consider any of these remotely successful or an improvement over things before the takeover?

    Other than the kickbacks taking a different form and possibly new recipients, what has changed?
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  6. Chop

    Chop 10,000+ Posts

    I think La Marque ISD was also shut down and forcibly merged into Texas City ISD.

    Often, historically, the schools could be as lousy as one could imagine and things would go on as usual. But when embezzlement, theft of school funds or property, or other financial improprieties were proven against the Superintendent, School Board or other high-level school leadership, that's when an ISD would be shut down.

    I think that's what got Wilmer-Hutchins and others.
  7. Sangre Naranjada

    Sangre Naranjada 10,000+ Posts

    Local elections matter.
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  8. Monahorns

    Monahorns 5,000+ Posts

    The better option is to identify good school board candidates, support them, tell others about them, and vote for them. Also support school choice initiatives. It is looking probable that a state law is passed this year for it, but we will see.
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  9. SabreHorn

    SabreHorn 10,000+ Posts

    Sorry, Mona, but Pastor Rufus and five other preachers told us that your better choice is a carpetbagger and we should vote for him. Now that came straight from the pulpit, so it can't be wrong.

    Seriously, the next big move will be to FORCE quality neighboring districts to takeover the bad district. How many rejected Wilmer Hutchins before Dallas was forced to take it? North Forest only has 5-6 rejections before HISD took it.

    Both of those examples scream, "LET US SHOW THE AMATEURS HOW IT'S DONE"
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  10. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez Beer Prophet

    This has been an issue on the right and a major cause or contributor to some big problems. Even in conservative areas, our people largely don't show up and don't back conservative candidates. Of course, these races are formally nonpartisan, so it can be tough to figure out what the candidates' philosophies are, and of course, the local media do pretty much nothing to help. However, the Left always seems to show up in these elections, and always seems to know which candidates to choose. Sometimes this will be disrupted when some big controversy will arise that motivates conservatives to turnout in a given an election and make a difference. However, eventually the controversy dies down, and within an election cycle or two, conservatives stop voting again, and the Left regains control. This has been going on for decades now, so they are now very entrenched in local government (cities and school districts) across the state, irrespective of the political leanings of those areas.

    So what is the outcome? A lot of left-wing policies being implemented at the local level, corruption, and very big spending (and therefore high property taxes) at the local level. In addition, when the state passes conservative policy, its enforcement is handled by left-wing actors at the local level who do everything they can to frustrate its implementation. That's why Florida schools and libraries are doing idiotic things to screw with the enforcement of Desantis's school reforms. It's a mess, and we really need to put a lot of focus on dramatically and permanently changing this dynamic.
  11. Horn2RunAgain

    Horn2RunAgain 2,500+ Posts

    Add Seagoville to the list. DISD took it over 10 yrs ago
  12. guy4321

    guy4321 1,000+ Posts

    Nearly perfect explanation! Regarding local media, they do pick up when a conservative seems to be doing well, which pushes more liberals to vote.

    Another part of the issue is the candidates themselves. I look at the list of probable conservative candidates to see which one is best. Most of them have no experience, poor public speaking skills, or a single crackpot idea to focus on. It becomes an exercise in identifying the least worst candidate. Not many on the right want to spent time and money to run, get harassed constantly by libs, and earn $0 to be on the board.

    Meanwhile, the liberals live for education so they have a handful of candidates where at least two seem to be well spoken or have an education degree and / or experience. They know conservatives won't harass them in the grocery store, online, or in the media so they run freely.

    The end result is a predominately lib board with zero or one conservative.
  13. Sangre Naranjada

    Sangre Naranjada 10,000+ Posts

    Sorry, but I just have to correct this. Liberals live for indoctrination, not real education.
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  14. Chop

    Chop 10,000+ Posts

    Many smaller and mid-sized communities have gatherings like "Prayer Breakfast" or Chamber of Commerce (the small town version of COC = a lot different than big city version). It seems to me that if those folks informally select some rational/reasonable candidates, then push them on their congregations and co-workers/clients/contractors, they could win most elections for local school boards, etc. and get rid of the quasi-Marxists.

    And there are various "Moms groups" that they could work with to reach a lot of sane people who probably wouldn't have even known there was an election otherwise.

    There's infrastructure out there in most communities, although much of it doesn't care for politics in general.

    Beware of working with teachers--even good ones. Often, some really nasty folks are whispering (or shouting) are in their other ears.
  15. guy4321

    guy4321 1,000+ Posts

    Yes, I meant as a profession.
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  16. UTChE96

    UTChE96 2,500+ Posts

    There is a school voucher bill going through the Legislature but I haven't heard much about it.
  17. Monahorns

    Monahorns 5,000+ Posts

    DeAngelis who is pushing this stuff nation-wide sounded optimistic the last I heard him comment on it.
  18. Chop

    Chop 10,000+ Posts

    We're pretty close to a tipping point on vouchers. The problem is, I doubt anything that passes would pay for tuition at a decent private school. That being said, SOME of the Catholic schools are really good, and they can be cheap, but there are some special concerns parents may have with those institutions.
  19. UTChE96

    UTChE96 2,500+ Posts

    It will take time to scale. However, this will come in time if more parents are able to afford private schooling.
  20. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez Beer Prophet

    This isn't about schools, but here's an example of how crappy the media is on local elections. Round Rock has an election in May. Two incumbents (Michelle Ly and Frank Ortega) are being challenged by Shannon Probe and Greg Rabaey, respectively. I know little about any of them, so I googled them all to find media coverage. Other than the names and personal and professional backgrounds of the candidates, there's pretty much nothing.

    So how did I decide? I looked at Shannon Probe's page and saw that she's a teacher (big red flag), is a DEI chair for her PTA (even bigger red flag), and a volunteer for "Bringing Antiracists Together" (an even bigger red flag with a hammer and sickle on it). So I voted to reelect Michelle Ly. I don't know if she's especially good, but you can't do worse than an Ibram X. Kendi starter-kit (though Probe is white, which in a way, makes her even worse).

    I looked up Frank Ortega. He has a webpage with his picture and nothing else, but it has the words Trust - Accountability - Equity on it. I voted for Rabaey because nothing on his page pissed me off but most of all, because Ortega had the word "Equity" on his page.

    Very superficial evaluation, but that's all we have with local elections. Just a few buzzwords. Says a lot about the media and local elections.

    There is also a crapload of bond money the city wants to take out. Of course, I voted Hell No on both measures.
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    Last edited: Apr 3, 2023
  21. Monahorns

    Monahorns 5,000+ Posts

    I'm running into the same issue Deez. I have tried to look at info on Rabaey several times. He doesn't even answer questions on his Facebook page. He does mention lowering property taxes (or affordability) and he has a sound bite like "Keep Austin out of Round Rock". Thanks for the information you gave above. DEI and Equity is a dead give away for someone who is really bad.
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  22. Chop

    Chop 10,000+ Posts

    Here's an interesting thing:

    Most people I've heard from on the topic say that our schools have significantly declined over the past generation. It seems like that's the case. But, among the higher intelligence kids in high school, the chemistry, biology, and physics they're learning now are much more advanced than what we were taught in high school a generation ago.

    In the 1980s, the math sequencing was as follows:

    Pre-Algebra..........8th grade, advanced kids--7th grade
    Algebra I.............9th grade, advanced kids--8th grade
    Geometry............10th grade, advanced kids--9th grade
    Algebra II............11th grade, advanced kids--10th grade
    Trig/Pre-Calc........12th grade, advanced kids--11th grade
    Calculus...............not taken, advanced kids--12th grade

    At today's large high schools in Texas, it seems that most kids are on the sequence that only the advanced kids used to be on. The advanced kids are either on the same sequence, but taking "advanced" or "AP" versions of the same classes, or they are also a year ahead of where they were.

    Same with Science. In the olden days:

    Earth Sciences.............8th grade
    Physical Science...........9th grade
    Biology........................10th grade
    Chemistry.....................11th grade (or not taken at all)
    Physics.........................12th grade (or not taken at all).

    It seems that the advanced kids are a year ahead in the Sciences as well, and after the advanced kids finish Physics in the 11th grade, they'll take Robotics, Computer Science, etc. in the 12th grade.

    And it's not just the sequencing. The material in the Science classes is much more advanced than the material in the same classes a generation ago.
  23. Chop

    Chop 10,000+ Posts

    Bottom Line:

    The schools overall are quite a bit worse.

    The academic material for the advanced kids these days is quite a bit more advanced.

    The quality of education is stratifying to a greater degree than in the past.

    And it's not just in Texas.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2023
  24. Chop

    Chop 10,000+ Posts

    There is one constant.

    The public schools were terrible at teaching writing. They still are.

    That aspect of education is especially difficult with large class sizes.
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  25. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez Beer Prophet

    Here's a link to his Issues page. He talks about faith, improving public safety, and rejecting bad Austin policies. That allows for a lot of wiggle room and he could be full of crap, but when Ortega is bragging about"Equity," I'll take my chances on his opponent.
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  26. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez Beer Prophet

    Sadly, I'm not confident in either race. It's an off-year local election. Turnout beyond city employees and interests will probably be very low.
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  27. Monahorns

    Monahorns 5,000+ Posts

    I see posters around town but not sure when voting starts.
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  28. Mr. Deez

    Mr. Deez Beer Prophet

    Early voting goes from April 24 - May 2.
  29. guy4321

    guy4321 1,000+ Posts

    Yup. The media doesn't care about local elections, and the folks running think they'll more likely get votes if they don't explain their positions!

    Yup again. A major part of the reason schools are worse is because the power to discipline students is gone. In the grandparents' school days, they got spanked by teachers for being naughty. Okay, that's too mean, so in the parents' school days, they got sent to the principal's office or suspended. Now that's too mean so modern school kids are not punished at all. Students know that so they act like ****. The good students can't learn in that environment.

    My wife reports the material in the advanced classes is the same as the regular classes. The difference is the student body. In the advanced classes, it's the kids who want to learn and behave well. In the regular classes, it's the kids who don't care and act poorly. Of course, everybody passes because it's always the teacher's fault when a kids fails - and the teachers don't want the same **** kid back next year with still no recourse for poor behavior.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2023
  30. Chop

    Chop 10,000+ Posts

    Little kid in the 1970s
    Big kid in the 1980s

    The way it worked for us was that a parent had to sign the consent to corporal punishment form at the start of the year, otherwise you wouldn't get "pops." All but the weird parents signed the consent.

    Then, when you got into minor-to-medium trouble (fighting*, profanity in class, too much disruption in class, petty vandalism, disrespect or insubordination to a teacher or coach, general jacka$$ery, etc.), you usually had the choice of d-halls (after-school detention) or "pops" (spanking with a paddle--3 hits maximum per day). So you never were forced to get corporal punishment, you had to choose it over d-halls. For me, d-halls sucked, and the pain from "pops" was temporary, so I always took the pops.

    This system had some social, and even twisted entertainment, aspects to it. Any boy who wouldn't take the pops, and took the d-halls instead, was considered a pu$$y and caught some grief from the other kids. And the occasional teacher, almost always a coach, would do the pops in front of the class, which turned into a sort of twisted entertainment for the other kids complete with cheering and plenty of 'Oooooooooooohs', and 'woooooowwwwwws', and 'ouuuuuucccchhhhs.' And woah be unto the poor pain-intolerant lad who cried after the pops...

    I don't think that sort of punishment system would survive these days...

    *fighting in school back then meant fist fighting, wrestling, etc.--no knives or guns. I never saw or heard of a school knife or gun fight back then

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