Archive for May 10th, 2019

Albert Pujols now has 2,000 career RBIs. What are the most RBIs he has had in a season? For double points, how many postseason career RBIs does he have?

Somehow, the following from the Chron does not surprise me. Most stuff the HISD School Board does these days does not surprise me. During Teacher Appreciation Week no less.  Here is from the Chron:

Houston ISD trustees voted Thursday to end the district’s contract with Teach For America, an organization that places high-performing college graduates from non-traditional teaching backgrounds in classrooms.

In recent years, about 35 Teach For America corps members joined the district annually, committing to a two-year program. Corps members are HISD employees and earn salaries paid by the district, though they cost HISD an additional $3,000 to $5,000 in fees related to recruitment and support.

Board members voted 4-4 on a motion to continue the contract, with a majority vote needed to support its renewal. Trustees approved the contract in 2018 by a 4-3 vote, but the outcome swung this year with Board President Diana Dávila flipping from “yes” to “no” on Thursday.

Opponents of renewing Teach For America’s contract noted corps members are less likely to remain in the district long-term than educators certified through more traditional methods. Some trustees also quibbled with the fees paid to Teach For America at a time when educators across the district are receiving modest salary increases.

“TFA is an organization that is problematic,” HISD Trustee Elizabeth Santos said. “It deprofessionalizes teaching, increases turnover and undermines union organization. We should not subsidize TFA with extra dollars. They should not have special privileges over alternative certification paths.”

Dávila, who had voted each of the past three years to renew the district’s contract with Teach For America, did not speak about her vote or respond to a request for comment Thursday. Ahead of last year’s vote, Dávila said Teach For America corps members “are making a difference” and “we need to not let these partnerships end.”

Trustees Sergio Lira and Jolanda Jones also voted against renewal.

And this:

Trustees Wanda Adams, Sue Deigaard, Holly Maria Flynn Vilaseca and Rhonda Skillern-Jones voted to renew the contract, while Trustee Anne Sung abstained.

Here is the entire read: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/HISD-trustees-vote-against-renewing-district-13834070.php.

Tsk, tsk, tsk. What is up with the abstention? She probably has a good reason for abstaining. Then again, she probably does not. Pitiful.

Here is what my good friend Anna Eastman tweeted last night on the HISD vote:

Horrible news.

And this:

And where was the TEA conservator tonight? NO! . . . you can’t hire a superintendent, but, YES!, you can cancel the TFA contract????? SMH, Houston and Texas.

Then Anna posted this on her Facebook this morning:

Last night I made an emotional post about the HISD board voting down the Teach for America contract. I’m still upset this morning, surprised and not surprised. At its height in HISD TFA corps members comprised about 10% of new teachers (this is only new hires, not second year or all of the other great corps members who are veteran teachers or principals or serving in some other capacity in the district) and for the past three years they’ve comprised about 4% of new hires. I’ve felt it was a shame that the numbers had been reduced to the level they had, but I believe strongly that principals should get to make these choices for their campuses. Heck, they even pay the fee to TFA out of their own budgets. It’s a myth that corps members take jobs from veterans. They take jobs that other teachers won’t take. The only instance in HISD where that could be assumed was at the onset of Apollo 20, even though it was not exactly that, rather there were too many brand new corps members placed at at least one of the schools without a strong bench of veterans for balance. Houston is full of educators who came here as TFA corps members who’ve been coming to Houston since 1991. I’m glad children in other systems will still benefit from having a TFA CM as their teacher.

I hope HISD will reconsider this move, but I’m worried that with votes like last night, no commitment to teacher salaries from the board and all of the other factors that have created an adverse working environment, folks – regardless of their path to teaching – will quit choosing HISD altogether. I read yesterday that 38K kids leave HISD for charters and 28K leave for private.

To be totally transparent, I started serving on the regional board for Teach for America after I got off the HISD board. I chose to do that because I believe TFA is one tool out of many we have to improve Houston schoolchildren’s educational experience.

On the cable franchise fees fight up in Austin, here is this from the Chron:

The Texas House on Thursday approved legislation that would limit fees telecommunication and cable companies pay cities to use their rights of way, likely opening up a new spending gap of at least $12 million two days after Mayor Sylvester Turner laid out his proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Senate Bill 1152, authored by state Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, passed the House on a 92-50 vote on the third and final reading Thursday. The legislation, which had received Senate approval early last month, heads back to the upper chamber, where lawmakers will decide whether to approve the House version.

The measure would eliminate what cable companies and some lawmakers say is an outdated double tax levied on companies that transmit cable and phone services over the same lines. The bill would eliminate the lesser of the two charges, starting next January.

Opponents say the bill amounts to a gift for large telecom firms, which would not be required to pass the savings on to consumers because the state is barred from regulating cable rates. Turner had urged lawmakers to oppose the measure, saying it would deliver a financial hit to Houston.

I wonder if anyone thought about amending the bill to phase in the limitation of the fee over a three and a half year period? My cable franchise fee on my monthly bill is around $11. I wonder if I will see a reduction?

In 2006, Albert Pujols had 137 RBIs of course, his best RBI season and he has 54 postseason career RBIs.

Retractable roofs at stadiums are not waterproof. I was at the grand opening of NRG back in 2002 and it was raining and the rainwaters were flowing in with the roof closed. Last night at The Yard, folks had to use their umbrellas during the downpour with the roof closed. The game went on though.

Take your umbrellas again tonight.

What about that Josh Reddick snag? Nice!

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