Traveling throughout the twelve counties of District 5, we see firsthand some wonderful work in our schools. Public school administrators and teachers have been getting a bad rap from those who refer to the hardworking people who teach our children as “educrats.” The teachers, principals, superintendents, and school trustees we meet say that their job is hard but rewarding. Teachers we talk to are tired of being blamed for low results and some feel pressured to “teach to the test.” Everyone is concerned about the high dropout rate in Texas. In spite of these problems, though, there is hope. You can help change the direction of The Texas State Board of Education by giving a small donation or forwarding this diary to a friend.
We’ve been attending independent school board meetings, and their work is truly inspiring. At one board meeting, a trustee shook my hand and said she had never met the incumbent. She was delighted that we took the time and effort to visit her district.
At another meeting, I was literally brought to tears. A young man who hadn’t been able to graduate in 2009 received such encouragement and help from the school that he was able to complete his requirements and graduate. They had a special ceremony at the school board meeting in 2010, where the superintendent shook the young man’s hand and moved his tassel over to signal his graduation.
At that same meeting, an older gentleman talked about how he had begun as an extreme conservative, but after seeing all that this superintendent, principal, and teachers had accomplished, he experienced a change of heart. He now believes that schools need more help from social workers, because some students come from families without the support students had when he was young. After these two moving scenes—a pretty hard act to follow—I wiped my eyes and then spoke.
That wasn’t the only time I got misty-eyed right before speaking. At a Retired Teachers Association meeting, just before my introduction, they sang “America the Beautiful” and “You Are My Sunshine.” These were songs our 6th grade teacher had us sing when we would get restless or bored with our math lessons. This teacher taught us all by giving us recognition and encouragement. Years later, he even attended our 25th year class reunion!
Seeing all that our local teachers do makes me work even harder to get onto the State Board of Education. We need board members who respect educators and who will pay attention to teachers and experts. Remember the teachers who made a difference in your life. Honor them by electing people who support good teachers and administrators. Our SBOE should help schools and hard-working parents and students succeed in the 21st century, not battle about politics. I’m working hard to win, and with your help we will. We will change this board in November!