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Posts published in “Day: September 11, 2008”

New candidates challenge Crosby ISD “Old Guard”

CROSBY – All the excitement over the general election this coming November 4 will be locally highlighted by the Crosby I.S.D. School Board of Trustees election as two positions are challenged and a former President is running unopposed.

Five positions came up for election this time and three candidates registered. Gerald Blankenship, a former submariner, now President of the local American Legion Post, will stand unopposed for Position 7, to be vacated by Earl Boykin. His name will not appear on the ballot as Harris County says it would cost more to enter his name.

Blankenship indicates he wants to balance the school budget in a couple of years but acknowledges that this will be difficult as the state is currently requiring No Child Left Behind but not funding it.

Will Locke is concerned for the standard of vocational education, “We need to upgrade our vocational education, currently we are shipping vocational students to the local college and I wonder if there is a more economic way that we might teach those courses and retain some students that might be dropping out from the current policy.”

Locke states that his primary appeal for local voters is that he is not tied to any local entities.

Kathie Slotter aims to make board practices more open to the public. “I think it is not so much if we are elected but when we are elected to the board we will work to make policy open to the people we represent.”

These three all agree that school programs are being slashed due to budget constraints. They believe there are ways to cut budgets that will not jeopardies children’s education. They state they are for fiscal responsibility of tax dollars. They summarize their intentions as ACT (Accountability, Change and Transparency for the district’s future.

Related to accountability, they intend to create a high quality, effective learning environment. They hope to ensure accountability while improving the level of cooperation between the board, teachers, the community, the state and federal government. “The first thing we need to do is get out from under that 40 year old federal desegregation mandate,” says Blankenship.

In their quest for accountability they intend to report to the community on a consistent basis students’ learning progress, how funds are spent and the overall fiscal health of the district.

To bring about change, they agree to balance the decision making process by allowing open dialog between the school board, teachers and the other aspects of the community with the understanding that best decisions are made through community involvement. They intend to focus on the importance of academics and be advocates for students, parents and teachers.

Their plan for transparency involves supporting an open and transparent decision making process including informed research, analysis, public input and reasoned discussions. They intend to implement the most participatory and transparent budget-setting process to determine school board spending policies.

These seem lofty goals considering the state of public schools today. In countless articles throughout the state, increasing costs of operations and capital projects would seem to make balanced budgets an impossibility. Meanwhile state representatives are saying schools have all the money they ever need.

Seeing Red…

Last Saturday’s 2nd Annual Crosby Youth Football parade left with lots of enthusiasm from the parking lot of the high school as cheerleaders and players waived, threw candy and displayed posters showing their enthusiasm. The official season started at noon that day and will continue for 11 more weeks. The intent is to develop skills and enthusiasm for the game of football in this area. Home play will be held behind Arlan’s market in the new fields from Harris County Precinct 4. Above are the Red Rayders saluting for coach Mike.

Multi-tasking-itis

Dear Angie,

As usual, I’m having trouble focusing. It’s the last day of the week that I can devote completely to my writing, and yet the gravity of that does little to motivate me. I should be taking full advantage of this day to myself, but instead I am resisting the temptations of the internet, television, and a nap. This is no easy feat – all are well within my reach. But I figure that writing to you, while not technically something that will advance my career as an author, is more productive than any of the alternatives. At least it’s writing, right?

Do you ever have trouble getting yourself to sit down and concentrate on a single task? I recently read an Atlantic Monthly article that discussed whether or not “Google is making us stupid.” It argues that modern media (the internet in particular) has reduced everything to snippets, meaning that we grow accustomed to reading, hearing, and watching information in short bursts and thus have lost our ability to stay engaged with longer works. I can’t say for sure if that’s true, but I do know that I am working in one, two, three… eight different windows on my computer screen right now. How’s that for short attention span?

(The article goes on to talk about a great many things related to how reading different types of materials – long, short, ideograms like Chinese characters, etc. – affects the circuitry of our brains, and how perhaps what we input to our minds affects what we output. It’s all very fascinating. You can, ironically, Google it to read the whole thing.)

I remember when we took World History together in our junior year of high school, and our teacher told us that unlike most teachers, she would never yell at us for doing “off-task” things in class. She said that if we were smart enough to be in her honors class, then she trusted us to multi-task. We’d only get in trouble if we didn’t do our homework or weren’t able to answer a question that she asked us.

At the time, I thought that was extremely cool and forward-thinking of her. She understood the way we worked! But now I can’t help wondering if our ability to multi-task is really a blessing in disguise. For me, doing more than one thing at a time usually means I’m just not doing any of those things very well. I think I’d rather be a master of one trade than a jack of them all.

But can I re-train myself to focus on a single task and finish it before I go on to the next?

Well, I wrote this letter to you in one sitting. I don’t think it means that I’m cured, but I think it’s a sign that the diagnosis is correct and the medicine may be starting to work.

Now that that’s off my chest, I should probably return to my writing…

Much love,
Kristan

Gimme an “H”

Hargrave High School Varsity Cheerleaders Left to Right: Front Row: Savannah O’Pry, Molly Bates, Megan Berry, Pam Martin-Captain Middle Row: Lindsey Dempsey, Kacy Williams-Co Captain, Lyndsey Jackson, Tara Theis Back Row: Mayla Sanchez, Kelly Stewart, Lindsey Edge, Carly Cooper.