Thursday, March 09, 2023

Thursday's podcast: International Woman's Day and the Biden White House, Mexico and border and more

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Thursday's video: International Woman's Day and the Biden White House......Mexico and bord...

International Woman's Day and the Biden White House......Mexico and border violence.....Travel to Mexico.....Happy # 64 Barbie.....Happy # 81 Campy.......and other stories........

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Houston, we have a problem

 (My new American Thinker post)

Down in Austin, Texas education has dominated the legislative session.  First, there is a move for school choice.  Second, there is a move to have the state take over the Houston school district.  Third, to no one's surprise, the other side is playing the race card.

Let's look at school choice, a favorite of Governor Greg Abbott.  According to news reports, it's coming:     

Abbott is specifically championing education savings accounts, where the state would deposit funds for parents to subsidize the cost of educating their children outside the traditional public education system. The UT-Austin poll asked respondents whether they support “redirecting state tax revenue to help parents pay for the cost of sending their children to private or parochial schools.”

Oftentimes, school choice is framed around support of “vouchers,” which is similar to an educational savings account, except that the money from the state goes to the school instead of the parents.

My guess is that they will get it done but I'm not sure what the final product will be, i.e. voucher or savings accounts.  In the past, rural parents have opposed choice because they like their schools. In the aforementioned poll, there was no rural divide.  I think that's because the governor is visiting rural areas and making parents more comfortable.  Some version of school choice will come out of Austin this year.

The other big topic down here is Houston's school district, perhaps Exhibit A of why we need school choice.  At the moment, there is talk of the state taking over the district.  This is the story:    

On the eve of an impending takeover of the Houston Independent School District by the Texas Education Agency, little was said on the topic Friday at the HISD State of the Schools luncheon in downtown Houston.

Superintendent Millard House II said “uncertainty looms” regarding the state takeover, but he focused on celebrating recent improvements at Texas’ largest school district -- one with an enrollment of nearly 200,000 students. In the last 19 months, HISD has made academic strides reducing the number of its campuses with a D or F rating from 50 to 10.

So HISD had 50 campuses with a D or F rating but now it's only 10?  These people don't understand that's called failure.  What about the kids in those 10 schools?  In the article, a teacher is concerned that the takeover could lead to layoffs.  Really?  Failed schools don’t need to replace their teachers or administrators?  What planet do these people live in?  In the real world, failure of this magnitude is followed by change, not a continuation of the same people running things.

Of course, a debate or conversation about failed public school districts or school choice, cannot happen without the race card:  "THE STATE’S HOUSTON ISD TAKEOVER IS UNFAIR, RACIST, AND WASTEFUL." Yes, it's always about racism.  What else is new?  It seems to me that the best way to help these kids, of whatever color or ethnic origin, is to put them in successful schools where they can be prepared to meet the challenges of an international economy that does not care about pronouns or the 1619 Project.

Education big topic down here.

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