Thursday, May 9, 2013

Response to "The Political Hazards of Changing High School Standards"

Many of my peers, myself included, have recently written about the possibility of reducing the requirements to obtain a high school diploma and the possible ramifications. One of my class mates, Andre Silva said, “The amount of dedication you put into anything is what determines your success. I agree, but I still don’t believe that if there is a student that wants to go to college that they shouldn’t have all the resources available to them that they may need to be successful in an institute of higher education. As I stated in my blog, I believe there should be a duel track curriculum that will provide students with the skills they will need for success in their lives. However, if is no possibility of that happening, I don’t feel that they should punish the students that want an education; because of the few that don’t care about their future enough to try. I feel as though I have the right to say, let them drown, because I didn’t care about school when I was that age. It wasn’t till I was older and worked several terrible jobs that I realized how important my education is to my future. So, why make it any harder for the kids that already realize the correlation between education and success?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Standardized Testing Reduction for Texas Students

As of now Texas has 15 standardized tests that high school students are required to pass in order to receive their diplomas. Recently The Texas House has approved 145-2 which will reduce this number to five tests. Many people though out the state ranging from parents to professional education administrators approve of this reduction in accountability. They argue that not all children will go to college and by doing this they will decrease the drop-out rate. The counter argument is that by reducing the requirements it will leave the students interested in receiving a higher education ill prepared. I can see both sides of these arguments.
On one hand, lowering the demands on students will make it easier to graduate. It also may reduce the cost it requires to make and administer the tests. But, on the other hand, the transition from high school is difficult especially if the proper preparation is not learned. By lowering these standards classes such as, Algebra II and any science courses, will no longer be required. In my experience, those classes are imperative to a college degree; you will not obtain a degree of any type without those core classes.
If it were in my hands I would implement a duel curriculum option. The students could assess what their future education priorities will be. They would have the ability to choose either a trade program or a college entry program. The trade program would give them the appropriate curriculum to aide them in a successful completion of a certificate program, even if they later chose not to achieve any type of higher education they would still have the fundamentals to be hired into a skilled job. The college entry program would give suggestions to help assist the student to be better prepared for their intended college path. Both curriculums would include mandatory visits with an educational advisor to assure that the student are fulfilling the requirements necessary for their success and allow them to alter their coarse if they decide it would better suit their interest.  

I have never felt the Texas standardized testing is necessary at any k-12 level. I believe that my system would be a better way to obtain a higher level of high school graduates. Plus, there would be less time wasted drilling them to do well in these test and more time actually learning what they will need for a successful future.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Importance of Planned Parenthood

Recently one of my colleagues wrote about the importance of Planned Parenthood. She made a few very good points; not only does the program supply affordable care for women that cannot afford it, but I also educates young adults of the importance of contraceptives and “safe sex.” I believe she is absolutely right, she stated, “If Texas takes away funding from this organization I think there will be more problems such as STD’s and less informed people, therefore more pregnancies and even more debt.” I could not have put that better myself. A woman’s body is her own; she should have the ability to make the choices that affect it. I understand the concern that abortions should not be used as birth control, but there are circumstances that make them a responsible decision. However controversial the subject may be, the government should stay out of it. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Limiting Texas Governors Terms

     Texas currently has no limit on the number of terms its governor can hold. I feel as though there should be a two term limit, our federal government has a limit and I believe Texas should too. Governor Perry has been in office since 2000, this is the longest any governor has held office in Texas history.  
     Due to the various political organizations that influence the decisions that Perry makes his appointment have profound impacts on the state. In more recent years, the influence of Super PACs has been visible in his campaigns and policies. He continuously reinstates officials that he has scattered throughout the Texas government and although they will continue to serve out their terms, eventually if Perry is no longer in office the government may find some sort of balance.
     If Texans limit the terms that we allow our governors to serve we may be able to prevent such a one sided monopoly and reintroduce diversity to our system. This diversity encourages economic growth by allowing the population to be included in everyday commerce. Texas is traditionally a low tax low service state; because Perry has been in office and kept the majority of the government republicans it has prevented change. For example, the outcome of the bill concerning the HPV vaccination could have been different if a governor without such a significant history was running the state, there may have been a different veto philosophy applied because he is not so closely affiliated with law makers that passed the bill.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

“A Toast… to Texas Business!”

Recently Senator Leticia Van de Putte published an entry on the Burnt orange report, “A Toast… to Texas Business!” Informing anyone who drinks alcohol (more specifically local alcohol), or supports the increase of local businesses and employment, that she has been hard at work to update the regulations put on state business. The Senator states she has seen many complaints based around the Prohibition era laws, many claim they are “inhibiting business expansion and putting Texas companies at a competitive disadvantage with out-of-state brewers and distillers.” She has done her research and has co-authored a set of bills created to appeal to all segments of the industry.
 It seems as though all the bills listed in her blog make a great deal of sense; she gathered the opinions of producers, distillers and retailers allowing them to identify their differences, figure out what they could agree on, and look for solutions. She continually advocates for San Antonio companies in her blog, using them as primary examples seeing as she is from there; allowing me to feel that she has even more credibility other than being an elected official.
 These bills introduce the abilities for breweries and distilleries to sell a small amount on their premises, brewpubs (such as Flix and other restaurants) to sell their products off- premises, and allows brewer under a certain size to distribute their products. This group of bills has already passed the Senate Business and Commerce Committee in hopes that it will continue through the legislature to eventually meet its full maturity at the Governor’s desk. Other bills the Senator has had a hand in, is the bulk distributions of spirits intended to use as ingredients of other products; with intentions of cutting out the middle man, making them more cost effective for food producers to use.
 In my opinion, these bills will definitely aid in the increase our state and local economy, by adding jobs and possibly growth in local businesses.

Monday, February 25, 2013

School funding fixes shouldn't wait!

The Editorial Board of The Austin Statesman recently wrote an article called “School funding fixes shouldn't wait.” Just about anyone who follows local politics is aware that Texas has been paying for some of their financial short comings with money that should be funding our public school systems.
The argument is, we need to focus more on the support and maintenance of the public school systems. I completely agree, as the writer states, it is not logical or “efficient” for us to assume that without proper funding the schools will possess the ability to perform academically.
The assumption has been made that all attendees of public schools will graduate and go on to college, but not all do. The truth is, if the schools are producing students that are not well prepared for either college or just the work force in general; we are depriving everyone of a positive future. Without an effective way to provide education to our upcoming generations; we can expect the deterioration of such government programs such as social security.
Apparently, the state plans to replenish an undefined amount of funds back into the Students Success Initiative, but they have not stated whether it will make up for the 4 billion dollars that were cut back in 2011. With the state making excuses like, the dropout rate is decreasing and the standardized test score are increasing. It makes me assume that there is little hope for Texas’ educational system, at least in the foreseeable future.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Dewhurst, Straus, Perry See Opportunity for Tax Relief

It is no secret that the Texas government cut the funding for public schools 5 billion dollars last session. With Governor Perry talking about tax cuts many Texans are waiting for an answer for what their plan is to replenish the funding for schools. On January 9th, Perry, Dewhurst, and Straus spoke at the capitol. When asked about this matter Perry responded by saying, “We’ve had public education funding growing at three times the public education enrollment. So you’ve had a 70 percent increase of funding from 2002 to 2012. You've had a 23 percent increase in enrollment growth.”  Dewhurst responded by stating, that 40 or the 400 school districts have sued and they are waiting for the court to tell them the amount to be deposited into this fund. I personally feel that education is one of the most important factors to a successful future for our country and our state. While it would seemingly be beneficial to receive relief from taxes, I feel it would be much more valuable to put the money into educating our children. I am still awaiting a straight answer on this subject.