Education is Always a Great Investment…Especially/Even in Dallas

Dallas County is looking to give homeowners a tax cut…Dallas Independent School District is asking the citizens of Dallas to vote on a tax increase!

I think it’s worth it. Here’s an explanation why, taken from this month’s DMagazine…

“With the news that Dallas ISD will ask voters to approve a tax hike in November, the most important election of my lifetime has somehow become even more so. On Friday, when it was announced that DISD trustees will soon discuss a 13-cent increase and the required Tax Ratification Election, or a TRE, the first reaction from a lot of people was: “Seriously?” The idea being that property taxes are already going up so much that the middle class feels like it’s being stretched pretty thin.

“You are, and that feeling is totally understandable. Which is why it’s so crucial that you understand three things:

1. The structure of this tax increase is very innovative, giving voters the opportunity to line-item their votes, and putting measures in place that will allow voters to sunset the tax increases in six years if student improvement metrics aren’t met.

2. Texas property taxes may be the fifth-highest in the nation, but your school district tax rate is shockingly low. Don’t conflate the two. It’s why the district needs money, and it’s why hundreds of districts around the state are asking for or preparing to ask for TREs themselves. More than half (28 of 55) of the area ISDs have recently passed TREs, and 24 of those approved the maximum $1.17 tax rate per $100 of value, which is the maximum allowed by state law. (For example, Frisco ISD is also asking for a 13-cent raise in its TRE vote next month.)

3. The money will be used to support high-quality pre-K, teacher pay, and early college programs. The benefits of each of these programs/initiatives is significant to students, parents, neighborhoods, and the city at large.”

Read more about it here

What do you think?

Has the Texas’ State Board of Education, No Shame?

Think for a moment back to your childhood. You don’t know many people who don’t look like you. You don’t know about their background, what they eat at home, what their traditions are – how they celebrate Christmas, New Years or their birthdays – what you know, is what you are taught.

What if the sum total of what you are learn about those ‘others’ is learned in school. Here, you learn about their language, their families, their history. What you learn shapes how you will think about these ‘others’.

What if you learn from your text book you study that, Mexicans as “lazy” with a do-it-tomorrow attitude and read about a watered down version of slavery during the Civil War  or that,  the home ownership rate in the Mexican-American community is lower than the national average, but this is due to the substantial percentage of Mexican-born immigrants that form almost one-third of the Mexican-American population, many of whom are poor, under-educated, or illegal.

How do you look at your fellow classmates who are the ‘other’?

That’s what a the textbook, “Mexican American Heritage” says, and that’s what our children will be studying from if the Texas State Board of Education has its way. Texas will waste its money, on this pitiful text that, unless something is done soon, will become the books offered to our school districts throughout our state.

One of the few democrats on the TSBOE, Erika Beltran, pleaded with her colleagues, “I’m asking to pull on your heartstrings and putting (sic) yourself in the shoes of a Mexican-American student whose parents, like myself, whose parents have been hardworking,” she said as her voice quivered. “In just the excerpts that I’ve seen, I can’t imagine being a child and seeing that language in front of me. And so, as we prepare for this conversation, I just urge you to think about the kids in our public school system that we already, we all know, are mostly Hispanic students.” 

A little over half of the states 5 million students are Hispanics. Why would adults, intentionally visit shame and humiliation on even one of them? It’s clear that the main reason is a political ideology that does not even stop at the denigration of an entire race and culture, in order to feed an ill-conceived and erroneous sense of white superiority.

When you don’t understand a culture, its easy to stereotype and generalize. That should not be the case in education. It certainly shouldn’t be the case for those who are writing, and promoting text books. “The authors don’t even seem interested enough in the subject to know the difference between Mexican Americans and other Latino communities or the fact that their histories in this nation are completely different from each other,” said José María Herrera, an assistant professor in education at the University of Texas at El Paso.”

Whose actually being ‘lazy’?

Maybe the one’s who should feel shame are the book’s publisher, ‘Momentum Instruction’, and its head, former State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar…

What do you think?

 

 

 

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The Texas State Board of Education: It’s Time for Them to Stop

It’s one thing to allow your political ideology to color your perspective on current events. It’s quite another to let that ideology influence you to change historical facts.

Now let me be clear: all history knowledge and study is subject to change. The more we learn about history, the more we understand about certain eras, the influence of economic, societal and religious pressures upon a period and the actors in those historical periods, that knowledge does, at times, change facts. The importance of some people is elevated. The importance of others is diminished. We can grow in respect for some people and others we respect less. The resent ‘elevation’ of Harriet Tubman, to be the new face on our $20 bill, for instance, came about as our nation’s respect for her and her role in setting slaves free via the ‘Underground Railroad’. Tubman risked her life, to make sure that enslaved people made it to the north and freedom. At the same time, our view of Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States, was more than a little diminished as his role in the America’s genocidal battle against Native Americans, cast him in a much darker role in our country’s history.

But you can’t simply rewrite history to fit your own narrative of superiority. That’s wrong and dangerous.

Can someone please tell this to the Texas State Board of Education  – PLEASE?! They’re at it again!

“A proposed Mexican-American studies textbook for Texas high school students is written by authors with no expertise in Mexican-American studies, contains large sections that have little to do with Mexican-American history and includes language that depicts Mexicans as lazy, opponents of the book say.

“A newly formed coalition of educators and Mexican-American advocates has banded together to try to prevent the book, Mexican American Heritage, from ever making its way into Texas classrooms. The Texas State Board of Education is set to review the book this fall.”

Six years ago, in the previous blog I authored, ‘Change the Wind’, I wrote about these crazy right wing ideological shifts and the harm they would potentially do to our educational system, but to our children as well as the children of our nation. Because, most of don’t realize, Texas and California purchase the most text books, and because text books are only purchased every 10 years, a book full of lies, distortions and revisionist history, will be the books purchased by nearly every school district in the country.  Misinformation will color every child’s understanding of history, nearly a generation.

In the case of this latest education fiasco, depiction of ‘industrialists’ as hard-working, risk taking individuals and Mexican Americans as essentially ‘lazy’ is particularly harmful…

“The coalition pointed to a specific passage in the proposed textbook as an obvious example of the book’s flaws. Immediately after noting that Mexicans were stereotyped as being “lazy,” the authors “reinforce that stereotype in a discussion of relations between workers and American industrialists in Mexico in the late 1800s,” the coalition said. The group quoted from page 248 of the textbook:

“Industrialists were very driven, competitive men who were always on the clock and continually concerned about efficiency. They were used to their workers putting in a full day’s work, quietly and obediently, and respecting rules, authority, and property. In contrast, Mexican laborers were not reared to put in a full day’s work so vigorously. There was a cultural attitude of ‘mañana,’ or ‘tomorrow,’ when it came to high-gear production.”

The Texas State Board of Education is reviewing the proposed book and will consider public comments and feedback in September.”

Have these people lost their minds? Or do they think we have lost ours?

Clearly, the fact that the majority of students in Texas, in particular, are of Hispanic descent. If you teach them that their history in this country, is that of lazy, indolent ancestors who have contributed nothing to our history, heritage or economy, and that only white people were the ones ‘putting in a full day’s work, quietly and obediently…respecting the rules, authority, and property…’ their marred self-image, will produce pretty much the same thing. It will put them in the position of perpetual superiority in our country. It’s an institutionalization of hatred and bigotry that must not stand.

When the State Board of Education meets in September, the period for public comment should be taken up with hundreds of Texans who know better, in line in Austin to say, ‘No’!

We are the only ones who can stop Texas from becoming a laughingstock…and a stumbling block to public education…