GALVESTON

Findings by a committee analyzing the island’s school system and whether it’s fair and equitable could influence middle-school students and their academic paths for years to come.

Keri Heath: 409-683-5241; keri.heath@galvnews.com or on Twitter @HeathKeri.

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(32) comments

Charlotte O'rourke

“The district tends to be a bit schizophrenic,” Beeton said.

I don’t think it’s particularly helpful to call your potential colleagues “schizophrenic” nor to indicate the issue is about changing the curriculum at Austin when it’s about expanding the curriculum, reproducing the success at Austin, and providing opportunities to encompass more kids.

Determining how to best achieve equitable opportunities for all students is the goal, and I believe Tony Brown’s statement of looking at the issue after the committee finishes its work and the topic discussed in an open meeting is sound advice.

In other words, why conduct an inquiry into the subject if you have already made up your mind?

Galveston is lucky to have 3 candidates to choose from, all with different skill sets and experiences, and it is a very important election for the island’s children.

So choose wisely.

David Hardee

This article is ,”prompted by concern Austin Middle School’s high-performing magnet program created de facto segregation...”. But the title "Committee takes on questions of access, inequities in Galveston schools" is difficult to perceive as being honest, because; The term "access inequities" infers that there is a problem with the requirements to attend. The actual problem is that some of those that want to attend can not meet the requirements. Yet the rest of the article declares that the school has an "A" rating, very effective and consequently very desirable.

So it is difficult to understand what is wrong with the current school policies, procedures, curriculum or anything that needs to change. Evidently the real problem is that some applicants can not meet the acceptance requirements, right?

So a title that reflects the truth should read - "Requirements to attend an "A" rated school are under attack as being discriminating." And then the purpose of the article will be understood, clearly.

Effectively this deflective title and the article illustrated another of the attempts to disguise and make palatable reimaginations of the proven successful elements in our society. Reimagining really is what is called "dumbing down."

The "progressive liberals" are the instigator of these reimaging(s). The more honest thing to do would be to change the moniker of "progressive liberals" to "regressive liberals."

Charlotte O'rourke

David, it is my understanding that the district has space capacity limitations at the Austin campus and has more students that meet admission qualifications and criteria than can be accepted due to those space limitations.

I’m waiting to read and listen to the public discussion on the committee’s report and recommendations. But for sure I don’t want kids left behind in important skills because of inadequate space limitations, facilities, and resources.

David Hardee

Charlotte - Do you have any objections to my description of the article as being titled in a misdirected way and the conclusion to NOT reimagine what is successful for the purposes suggested is agreeable?

Capacity is a problem that is not main issue in the article. Instead the bulk of the article is pointing to the EQUITY of the acceptance requirements. In fact in your initial comment you say, “best achieve equitable opportunities” and do not mention “capacity.”

Capacity can be solved easily with the duplication of the SUCCESSFUL at other facilities. But reimagining the successful to achieve EQUITY and DISCRIMINATION is not a positive goal. If the SUCCESSFUL is dissatisfactory or considered not perfect - leave it alone and go tinker somewhere an “A” rating is not established. A logical conclusion is that perfect (or total conscientious) will never never satisfy a diverse and complex clientele. At some junction the reality will be that there is no homogeneity in the clientele and some will have to be given the opportunity to take a path best suite to their capabilities.

Dumbing down the best is a corruption on society in general

Charlotte O'rourke

David - I agree with you that lowering standards and opportunities are not an appropriate goal.

And I agree this issue has not been appropriately described as it has been made to appear that the issue is about closing the Austin program - a top rated and successful school.

But, in my opinion, that is not the real issue at all. The issue is - can additional students that meet admission criteria or can be brought up to admission criteria attend these STEM programs and how does the district achieve an expansion of educational opportunities in a responsible way?

Does the school district spend resources to expand Austin’s capacity, move students to a larger facility that can accommodate actual need, or is the option do nothing which continues to limit access to the STEM school? What exactly are the options and associated costs if each?

I personally don’t believe “equity” is a bad word. I believe everyone deserves equal opportunity to succeed and receive a quality education and not be restricted access because Austin STEM campus isn’t large enough to accept all qualified candidates.

I think back to when I was deficient in certain educational areas and would hate to think any child would be restricted from working hard to improve, and then once successful, being prevented from programs by a lack of resource capacity.

We need to focus on helping children reach their potential and not creating divisions based on false narratives.

Charles Douglas

Mr. Hardee> I agree with you one hundred percent! [thumbup][thumbup]

Bailey Jones

Yes, the "land of opportunity" should be a place where every kid can excel to reach their full potential without being limited by a lack of equipment or facilities, or someone else's low expectations. And when you silo off the best performing kids with all their special programs and equipment at a separate school, the rest of the kids can't see all the fun they're missing - and that can be an important source of motivation, as any kid who has ever been fascinated by a high school chemistry lab or machine shop can attest.

Charlotte O'rourke

Absolutely!

Walter Dannenmaier

Bailey Jones! COULD NOT AGREE MORE. Standards of admission or performance are DISCRIMINATION! Straight up. I believe that the GISD should apply the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion to ALL GISD activities. No student should be excluded from any activity because of behavioral issues or lack of ability! If the middle schools cannot be consolidated into a larger facility, or Austin expanded to include all applicants, whether qualified or not, then let there be an "equitable" lottery for all places. I think that the Ball High sports programs should be operated exactly the same way. Tryouts and selection of the most gifted athletes deny others the opportunity to experience team sports. So I propose that the athletic programs should be open to all, and that if there are too many kids who want to play football, for example, then a lottery should be conducted to determine who makes the team this year. And as some positions on the team are more desirable than others, then assignments to positions on the offense and defense should also be determined by lottery. Anything else would simply NOT BE EQUITABLE! And just imagine the first time a truly diverse and equitable team takes the field at Kermit Courville Stadium! It will be a guaranteed sell-out! National media will over-run the island! No more inequitable domination of sports by the strongest, swiftest, most gifted players. All should have the opportunity to play.

Bailey Jones

This has to be the stupidest comment of the morning. Where is Carlos? This is usually his beat.

Carlos Ponce

The issue of Galveston schools is not my "beat", Bailey.

David Hardee

Where Bailey found the quote "land of opportunity" is my first bewildering. I did not see it in this thread - so please point me to it and who said it. Thanks David.

Bailey Jones

The "land of opportunity" is where we live, David. That's what we keep telling ourselves, and our kids, about America. There's no excuse for children to lack educational opportunities in the world's richest nation.

David Hardee

So Bailey the quotation marks are not a quote in this thread but your desire to setup for challenge the USA as not being the land of opportunity if we do not meet your description of a school system, right?

Typical Bailey - he would strip the entire population of any inspiration to achieve, to be competitive, or to be a leader. Bailey wants a team where every member is captain, or there is no captain, a city where everyone is mayor, a country without a president and schools where no need to test. Previously I believe Bailey stated he was an engineer- if so he has a diploma, I presume - if so he is a hypocrite to his psyche which inspired him to achieve and be recognized as an Elite among citizens.

Bailey reads all men are created equal as a platitude that he would add the words "and will and must forever remain equal in all things."

Back to the articles context, quotations and opining.

Well, EDUCATING is the objective. Effective teaching is one of the tool used to accomplish LEARNED. And the student is a client wanting to be LEARNED. That student (client) is the first element of this equation - student want - to teach effort - to result LEARNED. Each of these elements has to have credentials and qualifications. OPPORTUNITY is universal in this "land of opportunity". But there are credentials a student and teacher require. Those wanting to grasp or participate in the opportunity and are not qualified - lack credentials - either client or teacher must be eliminated or the result will not be accomplished.

It is evident over the last 58 years that the Education system has been repetitively tinkered with trying to achieve a LEARNED result without the desired result.

Tinkering must be stopped and a rational change applied. Failing result is because those clients (potential students) that are unqualified are actually detrimental to all the qualified clients. All participants have only one OPPORTUNITY, to enter into a convoluted system, with the illusion that no discrimination can be applied, and this single system will encompass all the diversities and produce an EQUITY process, that will accomplish a homogenous result that everyone all will achieve LEARNED.

EQUITY, equality and inclusive are all used as emotional heart tugging words and a sickness that makes Learned a failure. Those heart tugging's are also the sickness that is responsible for all the trauma in our society.

Bailey Jones

David - you have my opinion exactly wrong. I don't know if that's due to my inability to communicate, or yours. But since I've already explained this once today, we'll say it's you. For the people in the back, let me just repeat what I've said so many times before. Equity means equality of opportunity. It doesn't mean that everyone gets to be quarterback. It means that every school has a football team.

Back when you were young, David, women and blacks weren't allowed to attend Texas A&M, for example. This meant that women and blacks were discriminated against. The careers enjoyed by A&M graduates were not open to women or blacks. That's discrimination. Now, anyone who has the grades - and whatever peculiar motivation makes one want to be a Aggie - can attend A&M. That's equity.

If you have advanced programs that cater to exceptional students, but only a limited number of exceptional students, that's discrimination. It's discrimination because some exceptional kids get to participate in programs that allow them to maximize their potential, while other equally exceptional kids, through no fault of their own, can't. The solution to this type of inequity is obvious.

I honestly don't know why so many conservatives have (or pretend to have) so much difficulty understanding this very basic concept - especially considering the starring role that "equality of opportunity" plays in the great American conservative ethos. Maybe you can explain it to me. In simple English, please.

David Hardee

Mon, Oct 25 at 3:04 PM

A comment was posted by baileyhjones:

Response by David -

I’ll be specific to each paragraph in hope that will allow your opinions to be address independently.

Bailey says, “”David - you have my opinion exactly wrong. I don't know if that's due to my inability to communicate, or yours. But since I've already explained this once today, we'll say it's you. For the people in the back, let me just repeat what I've said so many times before. Equity means equality of opportunity. It doesn't mean that everyone gets to be quarterback. It means that every school has a football team.

Comment - Bailey OPPORTUNITY is universal. It is those that DO NOT take advantage of OPPORTUNITY that are unqualified for acceptance in the existing education system (especially in the Austin system) and yet are permitted that are the detriment (especially to their fellow qualified attendees) to ever achieving the desired result. Football and other extracurricular activities are not grade and tested in the determination of results as Learned.

Bailey says, “Back when you were young, David, women and blacks weren't allowed to attend Texas A&M, for example. This meant that women and blacks were discriminated against. The careers enjoyed by A&M graduates were not open to women or blacks. That's discrimination. Now, anyone who has the grades - and whatever peculiar motivation makes one want to be a Aggie - can attend A&M. That's equity.”

Comment - Racial and gender discriminations is the insertion by Bailey consistently, because he is a proponent of the project to denigrate the USA as a systemic corrupt RACIST, MISOGYNISTIC, etc. country founded for the the purpose of keeping domination by the then majority. For over 200 years any discrimination perceived has been addressed and modifications made to remove the PERCEPTION of intent to oppress. In the last 58 years civil rights have been addressed and act done to again remove the PERCEPTION of victimization. Today Aggies demonstrated that any one (race, color, creed, etc) is an Aggie if they qualify by working to achieve it.

Bailey says - “If you have advanced programs that cater to exceptional students, but only a limited number of exceptional students, that's discrimination. It's discrimination because some exceptional kids get to participate in programs that allow them to maximize their potential, while other equally exceptional kids, through no fault of their own, can't. The solution to this type of inequity is obvious”

Coent - This paragraph is filled with vague claims qualified as misinformation or prevarication. Splitting exceptional to give the illusion all are exceptional is convolution. Catering to the exceptional distortion when all the programs are considered, i.e. “head start”, social passing as a grading system, multi-language teaching, child care, transportation, food, etc. are all accommodation originated for those do to guardians under achievements and or suffering from undeserve consequence.

The fact that room for accommodation of all in those exceptional and to also absorb all the perceive everyone is exceptional can be quickly rectified by getting rid of anything perceived as catering to EXCEPTIONAL, only. One fits all.

Bailey says, “I honestly don't know why so many conservatives have (or pretend to have) so much difficulty understanding this very basic concept - especially considering the starring role that "equality of opportunity" plays in the great American conservative ethos. Maybe you can explain it to me. In simple English, please.”

Comment - the basic CONCEPT was not detailed in this sentence, but assuming I can create an understand if it from all you recitation I suggest you mean Equity, Equality, no discrimination, inclusiveness and any form of permissiveness is the solution to ridding the humans of any perception of victimization and purifying the USA of it’s corruption.

Bailey’ snide last sentence requires a response. Bailey says “Maybe you can explain it to me. In simple English, please”

Response, . The words and their assembly in a sentence hoping to convey a cleat understandable thought pattern between sender and receiver. Certainly you and I struggle to be successful in transmission. I do make a lot of effort to be thorough in simple English. Your, “Please” was not necessary because you and others know that if we encounter you will get an exceptional effort to be clear and complete.

Charlotte O'rourke

This ongoing controversy is about limited space or capacity for students at Austin, a STEM school. This limitation has produced inequities in admittance. A committee was formed to help outline potential solutions. I’m hoping the report will be published when finalized.

https://www.galvnews.com/news/free/article_8ec1e028-0ed2-56b2-98ab-2cc86996ba52.html

Clipped from the above GDN article - Laura Addison, a conservative, in the 2017 school board race:

“Her criticism of unevenness includes the district’s “schools of choice” program that allows families to choose which school to attend. When there are more applications for a school than spots available, students are distributed by a lottery. The exception is the Austin STEM Middle School where students are chosen based on their grades, attendance and conduct records.

Addison said the system funnels the best students to certain schools — particularly Austin — and is harmful to new Galveston families who move to the district and are forced to put their children in lower-performing schools because of a lack of open spots. She would not say whether she supported changing the current system to a lottery or to geography-based zoning, typically called neighborhood schools.”

There are several articles over the years talking about limited capacity at the Austin school with more qualified students than spots available for admission creating inequities due to limited access. This controversy is not about dumbing down schools or creating less rigid standards, but trying to provide the best opportunities to more children.

So, can more floors or wings be added to Austin like the proposal for the Justice Center expansion or is the better cost effective option to consider consolidation and moving to a larger school which can better serve the needs of the community? What other options exist or will be proposed from the committee? Don’t you think everyone should wait a month or two and see?

David Hardee

Her is the simplest and best option. End all the optioning and make all the schools conform to the most successful program (Austin).

Quite trying to design a slot that ever peculiar sized peg will fit in. LEARN (aka teach) those willing and able to get an education. Let the doer's do and the dreamers to their own devices. Options is - "a thing that is or may be chosen." - and boundless and never will satisfy all possibilities where humans are involved. To may dreamers are interfering with letting the doer's do and getting the job done.

Walter Dannenmaier

David - The Austin Middle School program has academic and behavioral standards. THIS means that some students don't make the cut, which creates the dreaded "inequity". As a consequence, all the middle schools in Galveston cannot be like Austin, because not all students can meet the academic or behavioral criteria. I did not see anywhere in the article as to how many qualified applicants where denied admission to Austin. But I am sure the administrators at Austin would know if the number is more than zero.

Charlotte O'rourke

According to one source the scoring criteria for admission to Austin: academic performance, STAAR scores, absences, discipline referrals and a sibling component

I’ve never seen the exact scoring protocol for admissions nor the numbers qualifying but unable to get in say for a sibling component, but the criteria were abolished in 2020.

What I’ve never understood in this controversy because there has been no actual debate among the politicians is the clinging to the physical campus (Austin) instead of the CURRICULUM especially when everyone seems to want to expand the program.

David Hardee

Walter just announce for all to know by saying "As a consequence, all the middle schools in Galveston cannot be like Austin, because not all students can meet the academic or behavioral criteria." that the problem is not the school, the curriculum or anything that can be corrected by all the lunacy of tinkering. As long as we allow student that are not able to meet academic or behavior criteria there is no solution.

Any child that is academic or behaviorally unprepared to entry the education program must have been abused by the guardians. First action must be to have CPS perform and execute the lawful remedial procedures. Once the child has attained the disciplines required it can then enter the education system. The harsh treatment of the guardians will produce the best results for the child even if the child is removed and becomes a ward of the state where proper guidance will produce a person equipped to become a citizen that is an asset to society. stop the problems at the beginning (source) and the future is a path to success.

Don't start giving all the examples and excuses that unfortunately happen because each of those examples has an institution or facility that can manage it and the education system is not where the unfortunates should EVER be dumped.

Bailey Jones

This misuse of the term "equity" is tiresome and disingenuous. Not every kid has the talent to get onto the football team, or into an honors math or English class. "Equity" is not shoehorning low-performing kids into advanced programs - it's simply ensuring that advanced programs, and the prerequisites for those programs, are available to every child. When you limit those classes and opportunities to just one school, you discriminate against the kids who don't attend that school. So, for "equity" you need to either expand the school so that it can accommodate all of the kids who can meet the requirements or you need to expand the programs into other schools. It really is just that simple.

I can't think of a good reason why anyone would oppose providing advanced classes and special programs to every student who has the potential to benefit from them. And yet, here we are. Perhaps someone can explain how limiting the educational opportunities for kids serves society.

Lisa Blair

Unfortunately any mention of moving the program to any other physical location is being used against proponents and being falsely misrepresented as supporting “closing Austin” which implies closing the program itself. The people pushing against “closure” know that they are purposely misrepresenting a very important issue. This is the exact reason that school boards benefit from the expertise of professional educators, not politicians. One candidate is a politician who chose not to send her children to GISD. One candidate is a business owner. One candidate is a professional educator devoted to public schools who’s children all attended GISD.

Choose wisely.

Walter Dannenmaier

Lisa - Elizabeth Beeton is the former city council member who I most admire, I guess you might consider her a politician. Are you telling me that she chose not to send her children to GISD? If so, I admire her even more.

Walter Dannenmaier

Lisa - One extra thought - moving the STEM program to a larger school that includes students whose behavior doesn't meet the standards for Austin will probably foster greater focus on the part of the science and math students, wouldn't you agree? Class disruption has probably been proven scientifically to enhance mastery of algebra.

Charlotte O'rourke

Walter, Walter, Walter, I’m definitely not Lisa, but ...... LOL,

Elizabeth suggested a lottery at Austin or getting rid of magnet programs altogether.

I’m not sure why anyone thinks Austin will be just as successful with no criteria which places the very best applicants with no discipline problems together on the smallest middle school campus, but Elizabeth obviously advocates for this in her statements. Your statements - even though reflecting sarcasm - seem an opposing viewpoint from Elizabeth’s. The logic escapes me but maybe you can successfully explain it. I totally understand why parents that have children in Austin want to keep it just as it was prior to 2020 changes, but I equally understand the other 2/3 of the school parents that feel disenfranchised by the small number of admissions due to space. So after the long ongoing controversy, I’m hoping a fair decision is reached SOON.

Elizabeth’s position clipped from the below hyperlink article:

https://www.galvnews.com/news/article_b99d5277-edeb-5271-8af5-e94b3d879ff1.html

“Beeton said she would rather the district get rid of the magnet programs and let parents simply choose which school building their students want to attend.

“You can put all the fifth- and sixth-graders at one campus, and all the seventh- and eighth-graders at another campus, and then you can allow any child who wants to go to a school that’s fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth,” Beeton said.

“Some families prefer that,” she said. “They can just keep all the middle schools open so families can have a choice, not just academically strong students, but any student.”

Comments clipped from same article:

Elizabeth Beeton Sep 29, 2020 7:07am

If GISD believes the admission process is unfair, it should change the admission process, not close a high-performing school! Use a lottery to admit future classes like GISD already does at Oppe. Millions of taxpayer dollars were used to renovate and maintain this school. It took years to develop the award-winning program. Let as many students as possible benefit from it.

Walter Dannenmaier

Charlotte, I was replying to the Lisa commenting immediately above me! I know that you aren't her, but I like you too! Just a bit less than Elizabeth. And it's entirely unnecessary for me to agree with a person to like them. Some may find this startling in 2021. But I am not joking in the least about Team Sports. If we are going to have diversity, equity and inclusion in the GISD, let's go all the way. The Tors should represent all the children of the island, not just the physically gifted. Let's put a diverse and equitable team on the field next year! Good enough for STEM, good enough for football, I say! How I do love this island!

Charlotte O'rourke

Walter, we agree .... you can like someone while not agreeing or supporting their policy positions. Happens all the time as you can never agree with anyone 100% of the time.

If it’s relevant and important to the job, you don’t vote for the person seeking your vote..... if it doesn’t really matter, you take it in context and vote accordingly.

I supported the concept of the “Murphy” plan when it was discussed, but haven’t heard if it’s still being considered by the committee or if it was a cost prohibitive option. This was explained by an editorial and comments from past school board President Dr. Hay in 2020.

https://www.galvnews.com/opinion/guest_columns/article_e2c0b978-4e79-5ef7-8cdf-c9b5c188f5d0.html

As a FYI, I don’t think the sport analogy works as the number of players is preset by the rules, there is no lottery or blind luck pick, and children are not being denied admission for an public educational opportunity because of deliberate capacity limitation.

Thanks for the discussion.

Lisa Blair

I’m not sure why some thing the program is the physical building. Austin Middle School is a curriculum not a building. It can be expanded ( either in a larger physical space or by expanding the existing building) to include all children who meet the criteria for acceptance. The issue is not putting everyone in the program. It’s expanding the curriculum to all who can benefit from it. In my opinion that would be determining how to make every school a Blue Ribbon School.

April Ellis

The issue among all the Middle Schools is that not everyone gets the opportunity to go to the Magnet school and get the "better" education. My daughter has straight A's with the occasional B, no behavior issues at all, great attendance yet when we moved here and she was going into the 6th grade she could not get into Austin, she was on a waiting list. Once again this year, she could not get into Austin in fact I was specifically told they did not accept ANY new 7th graders this year. The district and the community should not focus on ONE school and the kids that attend but ALL schools and ALL children. If you put ALL 7th graders at one of the three middle schools and all 8th graders at another one of the 3 middle schools then put 5th and 6th together at the 3rd middle school then all same grade level teachers will be together and so will the kids. EVERYONE will have the same opportunity to the same curriculums and programs versus this school offers this program but the other school doesn't or this one offers athletics period but this school doesn't, etc. All teachers can have the same resources to benefit and educate the students. Not ONE school will have "better" anything.

I see the comment "why change something that isn't broke" a lot, but the thing is the system is broke because only Austin is a Magnet school and Blue Ribbon School. Why is it that nobody cares that Central and Collegiate are C and F schools, we are ALL part of the same district so why not come together as a District and get our ratings up and get our children the best education possible for ALL of them not just the lucky ones who get picked for Austin Middle School.

I know we all don't agree and see eye to eye so please don't hold back share your comments on my post, I don't take it personal I am only trying to help the kids in our community have the best chance at succeeding in life and I want that for EVERY CHILD in Galveston.

Charlotte O'rourke

April, I agree with you. All children deserve an opportunity to reach their full potential. Keeping children from attending Austin due to a capacity issue or another school with equal opportunities and leaving willing and capable students behind in reaching their full potential isn’t acceptable. Let’s try and make a difference in a child’s life. Thanks for posting that the system IS broken.

Charlotte O'rourke

April, Your child is lucky to have you fighting for them to get the best education, and it’s unclear how anyone can say the school system is doing fine if we as a community are failing 2/3 of the middle school population.

It is still unclear to me what the best solution is, but the do nothing proposal so as to stop alleged “schizophrenic” action of the district is NOT it. I’m waiting for the assigned committee’s proposals, and hope it offers solutions to help our children - all of our children - receive the best education possible.

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