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    March 13, 2012 at 4:08 a.m.

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    March 13, 2012 at 4:06 a.m.

  • Chris: Do you know much about the Khan Academy? It flips the model of education and is being tested (with measured success so far) in California and elsewhere. The academy's founder and philosophy were just featured on "60 Minutes" and in previous months on Ted, PBS, NPR, etc. They use a simple platform in ways that seem to engage even troubled students. Here's the site:

    Thanks -- Gabe

    March 12, 2012 at 8:18 p.m.

  • I hate that I was unable to attend the community meeting on education. Was honored to support our youth at the Stock Show Auction. This should be the only story we are commenting on. Already some great suggestions proposed. I'm working on some ideas myself. Keep this thread going, Chris.

    March 12, 2012 at 1:26 p.m.

  • “Really? Gambling and bribery is what it's come to?”

    It’s a reward system – some reward systems work and some don’t, but it does show some initiative, doesn’t it? I suppose they have so many students that they really can’t give a reward to each and every student who attends regularly; thus the random rewards. It’s not gambling – at least not legally so. And I can’t see how it’s unethical either. Random door prizes seem to be effective in keeping people from leaving meetings before inept speakers finish talking, so I can see how they might work for students too.

    “How about mandatory community service (scrubbing walls, picking up trash, digging ditches) and then add one day of schooling (before they can graduate) for every day they have to be put to "work." “

    I’m not sure how that would improve school attendance, but it sounds like a good plan for the juvenile detention center.

    “…most of them never will change. Threaten them all you want, it won't change a thing. These kids are vastly different in their outlook on life than any of us. For all intents and purposes, they have checked out and tuned to a different channel.”

    Possibly, but isn’t that a tad defeatist – shouldn’t we at least entertain solutions? If you’re right and it’s really too late for the older children, then what can be done with the younger ones to intercede before they become hopeless? If we can’t change disadvantaged children’s home lives, their economic situations, or their neighborhood environments and if the ineffective VISD bureaucracy won’t or can’t budge, then what can be done at the community level, by volunteers, to improve the situation? There must be something that can be done with the resources that are already in place.

    “I was once told by a councelor at Crain, "You don't need to waste your time worrying about college, you aren't going to be able to get in".”

    Sadly, I find that really amusing (Ferris Bueller amusing). Did you ever go to college? That statement alone would have probably prompted better performance in me – just so I could prove him wrong.

    March 9, 2012 at 4:41 p.m.

  • You are right Chris, you don't see them in school. That is the problem.

    March 9, 2012 at 4:40 p.m.

  • There is so much more to an education than the 3 R's. One of the prime measurements of an educated person is to have a vision for their future. If we are using a cookie cutter template to crank out "graduates" we are only making semi-intelligent cookies. We have to engage the leaders in business and professionals in our community to encourage our future leaders to understand they will own tomorrow. It's value is to be determined by their investment in learning.

    And again the parents must be held accountable for the decisions of a minor child. If they are not involved in the growth of their offspring they fall well short of having the honor of being called a "Parent".

    There will not be many job openings for world class "texting". Life happens in more than 140 characters.

    March 9, 2012 at 4:25 p.m.

  • The problem here is that the kids that are causing these issues just don't care in the least about school and most of them never will change. Threaten them all you want, it won't change a thing. These kids are vastly different in their outlook on life than any of us. For all intents and purposes, they have checked out and tuned to a different channel. A channel where nothing is expected or required of them.

    March 9, 2012 at 2:16 p.m.

  • So if the schools start issuing the word now that 2012/2013 will be a little different and the kids that are trouble will be dealt with swiftly, without a parent phone call, that should be ample warning, right?
    IMO, thats plenty of time.

    I think we all know how well the dress code worked. The first few days of school were a nightmare trying to enforce it. Some schools chose to enforce it, some don't. Thats wrong!

    66 years??? Is she in tune with modern day kid issues. And no, I didn't think you were being ugly.

    I was once told by a councelor at Crain, "You don't need to waste your time worrying about college, you aren't going to be able to get in". That was the 7th grade. That was the last time I spoke to a councelor and I really can't say it changed me much, but I didn't even consider college as a realistic option. I'm not a teacher and have never been in a position to teach students(kids). I figure the approach that councelor took was not the right one. I can still picture him with his feet on his desk eating a snickers while telling me that.

    March 9, 2012 at 1:06 p.m.

  • Unless something is different now than it was not so long ago, VISD has site-based management. Site-based management does nothing but create differences in school. Why does one school appear to be better disciplined than another? The buck stops on the campus, that's why.

    If it is still in place, the 7-step disciplinary process needs to be done away with. This business of calling parents before a kid can be referred to the office is crap! If the parent doesn't answer, the kid stays in class. If I still had kids in school and I was receiving a phone call from the school so they could send my kid to the office--I'd look at the phone and ask 'why are you calling me? You have the authority--just do it!"

    I don't know what VISD is afraid of--check the districts around us. They manage just fine to have discipline in the schools. Those parents that everyone blames for the unruly children? Where do you think they learned how to deal with the schools? By dealing with the schools! VISD is as much to blame for apathetic parents as anything! With that said--sure and swift just will wake everyone up and perhaps jog a few parents into taking more interest!

    And the 85 year old school counselor at Patti Welder, Barbara Sutter, someone needs to encourage her to retire already! I am not being ugly here. According to an Advocate story, she has been at PW for 66 years. You do the math.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:37 p.m.

  • "1. What are your ideas on how we can work together to create a strong education community? 2.What are your ideas for improving student attendance?"

    I'd like to see some really high octane afterschool programs operated by local organizations! Convince organizations, such as the Rotary Club, Junior League, Shriners, Masons, VFW, the Zoo and any others that you could find to set up, fund, and most importantly, to get personally involved with the students in their programs.

    Then get dedicated teachers to engage in relentless recruitment, especially for kids from disadvantaged backgrounds and expose them to local businesses and organizations – people doing what they love to do.

    Teach the kids how to fish, show them how a locomotive engine works, let them see the inside of a judge’s chamber, or how excavators are manufactured. Give kids the ability to spend their afternoons seeing the various ways that people actually apply their education in ways that improve their circumstances.

    I’d bet that fewer kids would want to miss school if they thought they were going to miss the fun afterschool programs that they’ve grown to love; and it would encourage the community to take more of an ownership role in the education and attitude shaping of our students instead of completely outsourcing it to a huge bureaucracy that, by its very design, has to be ineffectual and personally defeating.

    March 9, 2012 at 12:18 p.m.

  • Mr Cobler said, “What should we be doing, other than paying taxes, to help in student success?”

    One on one, you can help one child. You can move him/her into your house. You can teach him/her your morals and values.You can make yourself feel good. Still you will abandon the other 5000 children with problems just like the one you are trying to help.

    Mr Cobler, state-managed central education is a total failure. Your only hope is to return to a local-based education system. You can hope each locality places the same value on education as you do. But if the next door county has no value for education... congratulations that localities' business and residents will move to your community. And that is called free market economic development...without government intervention.

    March 9, 2012 at 11:16 a.m.

  • xback27,
    You sort of have a point. But if that is true, why does Patti Welder have a worse and worse turnout for extra-carriculars?

    I assure you some of the finest athletes in this city are going to that school.

    I say it's the staff at Patti Welder. I could be wrong but until someone proves me wrong, I'm going with that. Money is not going to solve all the problems but it will make it easier.

    I do agree with your thoughts of accessibility for those on the south side.

    March 9, 2012 at 10:39 a.m.

  • @Chris- Answer to question#2: If you want to improve student attendance, many things will have to occur, and it will involve spending money. It's absolutely unavoidable. Campus communities need to be constructed in the student's community. A school within reasonable distance. Neighborhood schools. A kid that attends Victoria West and lives on the southside, for example in the Green's Addition, does NOT have the same advantages that a kid that attends West and lives right across the street in Woodway or in Springwood. He or she just doesn't. People have often asked why those kids are not participating in extra curricular activities, and the answer is quite simple. Many times those families have but one car, and in many instances they have no transportation. These students are solely dependant on school transportation because of the distances involved. We all realize that it is completely unreasonable for a kid who wants to participate in football, or choir, or band, or drama to be expected to walk miles and miles across town after practices or late on a Saturday night after an out of town event, or early in the morning for a band practice. It's just not logistically possible for a kid to leave 2 and 3 hours early or have to walk. If after school detention was assigned or I knew that every night after basketball I would have to walk clear across town, day after day I would NEVER even consider extra curriculars or attend my assigned detentions. Am I a bad, I'm just not willing to walk for 2 hours. As an end result, these kids have higher rates of absenteeism and certainly have more time to get in trouble. The geography and socio-economics were NOT considered when they built these schools. Neighborhood schools, should be built and attended by the kids that live by the schools. In every city (except Victoria) kids that live near their high school attend that particular high school or elementary school. Unfortunately in this screwy town for whatever reason, kids in neighborhoods all over this town get bused to schools miles away. Classic example are several neighborhoods off of Crestwood Drive that are FORCED to attend Schrollemer Elementary. Really? Makes zero sense for those families! Bottom line, Victoria ISD needs to build schools, hire staff, and address problems to needs specific areas. It doesn't work when you blend Country Club and the projects, it just doesnt. Never has and never will. A Country Club kids needs are generally different. Parental expectations and involvement is typically different.

    March 9, 2012 at 10:24 a.m.

  • g) Demand that those children that are not at school to learn are escorted out immediately

    h) Round up every teacher that is not fighting for their students with every breathe they take and get rid of them. Not just from 7:30 till 3:30 but 24 hours of each day.

    i) Remove immediately every AP and Principal that is not doing the same.

    j) replace those tossed with the best available and if they haven't proven themselves, find replacements that can.

    Victoria's kids need people that care all the time not just when school is in session. We already know that some of the parents do not care. For those moments while the kids are in the care of our schools, we need those teachers and administrators doing everything they can.

    March 8, 2012 at 5:58 p.m.

  • a) Remove the state government bureaucracy completely out of public education, except for one job, write the check to the School District.

    b) Provide the local school districts with total responsibility and authority to educate it's students the way each community sees fit.

    c) The local communities may tax as little or as much for the benefit of it's local schools.

    d) Remove all levels of government (except the school district) out of the business of micro-managing education.

    e) The local communities will sink or swim based upon it's success or failure in educating it's youth.

    f) If the kids fail to graduate, gain acceptance into college or trade school it is no ones fault accept the community from which he or she came from.

    Isn't this what freedom of choice is about? Freedom, you gotta try it.

    March 8, 2012 at 5 p.m.