First, the bad news.
If it’s true that the countries that out-teach us today will out-compete us tomorrow, we’re in deep trouble. American kids’ test scores are consistently lousy compared to those of kids in other industrialized countries.
And at the very bottom of the American heap are urban kids, minority kids, kids from poor families, kids whose parents didn’t go to college — in other words, the vast majority of kids enrolled in the Houston Independent School District. Our future work force. Our future tax base. Our future, period.
Now, the good news.
To a large degree, the solution to the United States’ education problems is being worked out here in Houston. We’re the birthplace of some of the nation’s most successful charter schools – schools like KIPP and YES, which have shown long-term, measurable success in propelling low-income and minority kids to college.
The secrets to their success aren’t secrets at all. (Have you seen Waiting for "Superman"?) At the very top of the list is an insistence on high-performing teachers.
Research confirms what PTO moms already know: Some teachers are far better than others. No other single factor – curriculum, class size, dollars spent, or use of technology – makes nearly as much difference in a kid’s academic performance as the quality of his teachers.
As much as any urban school district in the nation, HISD has tried to raise the level of its teaching: to recruit the best new teachers; to reward those who perform best; and to improve or get rid of those who don’t measure up.
The district has a long way to go. And naturally, the strategy isn’t popular with teachers’ unions, which fight to save their members’ jobs no matter how poorly those members perform.
But we believe that our public schools’ main purpose is to educate children – not to provide guaranteed employment for adults.
For that reason, in the runoff election for HISD’s District VIII board member, we support Judith Cruz.
Cruz understands teaching: A Teach for America alum, she’s taught both Special Education and English as a Second Language in some of the toughest urban schools that Houston and Washington, D.C., have to offer.
She knows, first-hand, how hard teachers’ jobs are. And she also knows, first-hand, the enormous difference that a good teacher can make in kids’ lives.
She vows to fight for an effective teacher in every HISD classroom, and to see that those teachers get the support they need to do their jobs.
If you’re eligible to vote in this runoff, you too can make an enormous difference in kids’ lives.
Vote for Judith Cruz.
In the 1950s, this MLBer was the only catcher to win the NL MVP – and he won it three times. Who am I talking about?
Somebody needs to tell Guv Dude that the campaign is over and there is no need to talk about invading Mexico and snatching up Tony Montana. I don’t know about that.
CEWDEM is still letting folks blow off some steam on this Port Commission deal – blah, blah, blah, blah.
Early voting continues in the HISD Trustee District VIII run-off.
Hall of Famer Roy Campanella of course won the NL MVP in 1951, 1953, and 1955. The Dodger great is no longer with us and was born 89 years ago today.
The Chron has a piece today about my pal Drayton having the ‘Stros up for sale and I think that’s all I have from The Yard.