Tell Us What You Think!

Our goal for this blog is to provide a place for educational choice advocates in Texas to

1. express their frustrations,

2. get their questions answered, and

3. politically organize to stand up to and push back on the anti-educational choice organizations.

Please join Facebook and then “like” our page, Texans for Parental Choice in Education.  That was we can stay in touch.

Political power comes from coordinated advocates, responding in unison at the right time.

Bob Schoolfield
bob@ceoaustin.org
Mobile 512-461-3126

My State Senator – Kirk Watson
My State Representative – Donna Howard

17 Responses to “Tell Us What You Think!”

  1. Joycelyn Spellman Says:

    Bob,

    I like your blog.

    Here is a school choice column from today’s National Review Online.
    http://article.nationalreview.com/print/?q=Y2VhNTBkMTllMzZkNjVjMGU1OWQ4NDg0ZmE3MWJjYzk=

    Joycelyn Spellman

  2. Nick Says:

    Mr. Schoolfield, I recently read your letter to the Houston Chronicle stating your support of HISD’s intention to use test scores as a major determining factor in a teacher’s evaluation. I’m never surprised at the number of people who will line up to criticize teachers and lay the blame for under-performing schools at out feet, but I usually ignore them because I know they certainly aren’t going to enter my classroom any time soon as my replacement. I’ve worked in 2 inner city schools during my tenure as an HISD science teacher, so I feel I’ve got some insight into the discussion that you do not. I’ll first say that I support school choice. I’ve seen the wasteful spending (and it’s probably worse than you imagined) that is the stereotype of public schools. Seen lots of it. And, yes, there are some teachers who just aren’t up to snuff. And I do agree that public education is run by a large, progressive bureaucracy that hinders the development of our most talented students, particularly at under-performing schools. No child should be made to be the role model for other under-performing kids when that child has their own ambition, motivation, and ability. We should have school choice, and we should have it now – I do believe it will occur one day, just not in my lifetime.
    However, most teachers in these schools are working their butts off trying to accomplish a task that very few others are willing to do, and most teachers face insurmountable odds in completing their task. It does indeed start with the home. When a kid is absent 50 times in 1 semester, just how is it my fault? When a kid refuses to bring binder/pencil to class – a mindset that preparation is important – just how is it my fault? When the principals pressure teachers to pass kids so that the passing rate/graduation rate is high enough for TEA recognition, even though the kid didn’t learn the concepts because of absences or apathy, just how is it my fault? When the principal removes a successful AP teacher from their AP class because the teacher refused to allow make-up work for a failing grade in said AP class, why is the teacher blamed for upholding a standard? When TEA says the refugee from Africa with zero language ability and 2-3 years of education should be in 10th grade because of their age, and gives me and my fellow teachers 4 years to get her up to speed in math, science, English, and social studies, just how is it our fault (this student attempted to add 14 + 14 + 14 and gave an answer of 312)? When reformers hold up KIPP’s success as if it is because of the teachers, why don’t they allow public schools to be run like KIPP schools, where parents are required to be involved to some degree, kids must attend school longer, and teachers never have to worry about a student telling them to “F off”? Most teachers are pretty good at what they do – they don’t deserve the slander and insults that people such as yourself hurl at them. I have no problem with your agenda. I question why you need to villify a group of people that are doing everything they can, against tremendous odds, and with very little support.

    • Parental Choice in Education Says:

      Dear Nick,

      I appreciate your response to my “editorial” post. Usually I get no response so I feel like I am preaching in a desert.

      I also appreciate all the things we agree about:

      1. We both want school choice. 2. We both agree that many dollars are being wasted. 3. We both agree that public schools are a large bureaucracy that hinders good teachers. 4. We both agree that it is unfair to prevent a good student from leaving a discouraging environment.

      I’m surprised that you felt criticized as a teacher by my post. My intent was to scrupulously avoid criticizing teachers in general. The focus of my criticism is unions, in general, and union bosses in particular. Notice that I never said “teachers unions,” only “unions.”

      I did say that there are a minority of bad (ineffective) teachers, but you agreed with me when you said that “some teachers who just aren’t up to snuff.”

      Teachers in inner city schools have a much harder task for a variety of reasons. You mentioned several. Teachers in difficult schools should be compared with teachers in similar environments. But that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have a “value-added” test for the sake of the students.

      KIPP Academies are primarily good because kids spend more time on task. Kids must come early and stay late during the school day. They have Saturday school and school through much of the summer. Since they are schools of “choice,” parents are invested because they “invested” their child.

      KIPP does not have unusually good teachers, but it has no ineffective teachers. Ineffective teachers are immediately fired because there is no union influence at KIPP.

      Public schools will never be allowed to run like KIPP as long as unions write the teacher contracts. Teachers at KIPP do not want anything to do with the unions.

      If you are a good teacher, you should welcome the value-added test. If you know that you are an ineffective teacher, please find another job for the sake of the kids. If you are a union organizer, you have met your opponent.

      Bob Schoolfield 512-461-3126 bob@ceoaustin.org

    • Scott Carlton Says:

      We will no longer let the fear of “picking on teachers” keep us quiet. We have had enough in locem parentis. You are not my substitute and YOU are not the final say in what is beat for my child. You are only protecting your income and nothing else.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I think most parents base what they know about schools on what they did in school. Schools have changed for the better and teachers are far better educated. As a former teacher and administrator I think the majority of parents are a pain in the ass. You may live in an area where parents are somewhat educated and do have a legitimate interest in the schools. But that is not true everywhere and most parents do not have discipline at home or assist the child with homework. It just does not happen. Teachers should be able to teach and not take on the social ills brought on by parents who do not know what is going on and do not instill good behavior and respect in the child. And you must realize that
    single parent families, children of divorce, , poverty, and unruly children are not created by the schools.

    Unions have always been a threat to many people for a variety of reasons. In Texas there are no real unions. Teachers join various organizations and about all they get is legal advice and sometimes legal representation. Let me remind you that far too many teachers are above average, dedicated, smart, and savy. They do not need to be picked on by some lawyer, politician or whatever. You might want to start with the home situation if you want to really improve education.

  4. Parental Choice in Education Says:

    I think most parents base what they know about schools on what they did in school.

    I agree.

  5. Parental Choice in Education Says:

    Schools have changed for the better and teachers are far better educated.

    Schools have changed for the worse. International tests consistently verify my assertion.

    Teachers may have more education degrees, but that does not equate to teaching excellence. At the private school where my children attended, the best teacher, the leader of the high school program, did not have a high school diploma.

  6. Parental Choice in Education Says:

    As a former teacher and administrator I think the majority of parents are a pain in the ass.

    Since parents are the legal guardians for their children and you are not, that makes you the pain in the ass regarding legal authority over the kids. Of course if you want to sic CPS on the majority of parent associated with your classroom, you’re welcome to, but you might end up in jail for harassing parents.

    • Scott Carlton Says:

      Spoken like a wonderful teacher.

    • Anonymous Says:

      When you start taking money out of your pocket to put in mine you can then be critical of my performance. Let me know when the check is in the mail.

  7. Parental Choice in Education Says:

    “most parents do not have discipline at home or assist the child with homework. It just does not happen.”

    A rather broad generalization. Do you have any documented evidence? Besides your opinion.

  8. Parental Choice in Education Says:

    Teachers should be able to teach and not take on the social ills brought on by parents who do not know what is going on and do not instill good behavior and respect in the child. And you must realize that
    single parent families, children of divorce, , poverty, and unruly children are not created by the schools.

    I understand. It’s all the parents and society’s fault. That’s why you can’t teach them. If you can’t teach them, then why don’t you give up and go get a more satisfying job? Have you no other skills or do you just like the security of a government job?

  9. Parental Choice in Education Says:

    Unions have always been a threat to many people for a variety of reasons. In Texas there are no real unions.

    It is true that Texas is a right to work state, but part of most of those dues go to NEA and AFT in Washington DC.

  10. Parental Choice in Education Says:

    Teachers join various organizations and about all they get is legal advice and sometimes legal representation.

    That’s true. That’s all the benefit they get, but they pay three times as much as the liability insurance actually costs. The “associations” use the other two thirds to “elect the own bosses (legislators).”

  11. Parental Choice in Education Says:

    Let me remind you that far too many teachers are above average, dedicated, smart, and savy.

    That’s right; most teachers are above average. I guess you weren’t a math teacher.

  12. Parental Choice in Education Says:

    They do not need to be picked on by some lawyer, politician or whatever. You might want to start with the home situation if you want to really improve education.

    Yes, that’s the solution! We’ll just fix all the homes and families! Why didn’t I think of that! As soon as we have the right magic wand or witch’s brew it will be easy!

  13. Scott Carlton Says:

    Bob
    I found your website after a frustrating conversation with a school employee. I have always been a fan of school choice and would hope that Texas would move that direction.
    I would like to suggest selling bumper stickers and let me explain why. The obvious is to help generate revenue for the cause. However, the most important is to find others in our districts who agree with school choice. Third, it would be nice for our superintendant to see them on our cars as we roll through the pick up line.
    I am sorry but I dont do facebook so i wont be able to “like” but know that I do LIKE.

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