(19) comments Back to story

E.J Petree

This is just another example of the dumbing down of America all down in the name of equity.

Gary Miller

E J > An example of giving those who don't try to excel the same credit as those who try to excel. Rewarding sloth instead of hard work. Wanting success without earning it. Giving trophies to spectators. It's how ISD schools destroyed education in America.

David Schuler

This letter is spot on! I think it would be an absolutely brilliant experiment, in the spirit of fairness and inclusion and diversity, to use a lottery to select athletes for Class 4A and above high school football teams in place of measuring hard work, dedication and persistence. Apparently the 'cream of the crop' methodology is fine for athletics but not academics. Why is that?

Don Schlessinger

[thumbup]

Kathy Whatley

We need to challenge our students not make things easier. In the world they will not get a promotion or raise because they showed up sometimes and did part of their job. If we don't teach them the importance of hard work and trying your best we have failed our students.

Jack Cross

Has anyone noticed, All the republicans for state offices in Texas all are calling for school choice? Almost every speaker at the republican’s convention called for school choice, even a lot of African Americans favor school choice. Why, because families want what is best for their kids and pull them out of these schools. They pay school taxes and them a lot of money for private schools. No discipline and trying to make every one equal are destroying schools and cities. As people move out the schools are destroyed. Here is the evidence All your big cities,Houston ISD largest school district in the state, 7th in the nation, 7 percent white students. Dallas ISD 2nd 5.5 percent white students. San Antonio ISD 1.8 percent white students. Every one of these big cities are overwhelming democrat because of actions like is happening at Galveston's Austin school, illegals and low performing black students are concentrating all low income students. All you have to do is look at the number of free lunches. We should not hold back gifted students regardless of race and if you can do that at schools like Austin it should happen lsss you drive the families away. The future of our nation depends on a well-educated work force. Texas has more kids in Public Schools than 28 states have total population. Only 26 percent are white students and this number is dropping each year. The majority 53 percent and is growing and will continue to grow due to the young age and birth rate.

Illegal immigration comes with a huge cost, students from central America, don't know the language, poor and not well educated plus African Americans not putting education at a high priority creates a perfect storm for failing schools and when the family leaves, the city fails. Galveston applying for huge numbers of public housing plus applying for several thousand section 8 choice housing where applicants can get the application and live anywhere in the country, helped destroy the La Marque and damaged TCIS when these students moved to the mainland after Ike.

Immigration and trying to make equal outcomes are destroying the education system and cities. Kids entering schools today are not ready to learn. Teacher have to teach kids things that kids use to learn at home. Kids its Friendswood mostly come from families with both a mother and a father. That’s why Friendswood scores high and that's why families with school age kids leave Texas City, Galveston, La Marque and Hitchcock and choose Friendswood or League City. If schools accept that some students are advances an not group them where other students hold them back, maybe so many families would not be leaving public schools.

Charlotte O'rourke

It sounds like the Austin campus can’t accommodate all of the students excelling academically and meeting criteria .... so what’s wrong with expanding academic excellence by creating more opportunities by expanding and rearranging space.

The sports analogy was a good point, but the sports team is limited by the number of playing opportunities available.

Academics and opportunities for learning shouldn’t have number restrictions for gifted and hard working students.

Charles Douglas

GISD is not setting up number restrictions for gifted and talented students at Austin Middle School! They are not depriving gifted and talented students of a chance to be grouped with other gifted and talented students attending Austin Middle! That is a deception, and a Liberal talking point to appease certain groups or demographics! The mindset GISD has taken on is that since we don't have the situation or climate for more students to be in the Austin Middle mode, rather than focus on correcting what the other middle schools are doing WRONG, it is easier to just BLOW-UP what AUSTIN MIDDLE is doing RIGHT! In other words, " LETS ALL BE AVERAGE!" Then the problem, and the griping coming from the majority goes away!!! That of course is the least expensive, easiest, and the least controversial way out of the fix they find themselves in. If I had a student in GISD, he or she would be out of there like a shot! I am sensitive about such issues because I was educated during segregation, and on the wrong end of it I might add. I did not like it then, and I don't like to see a sort of reverse affects of what I went through happening to others who are working hard to succeed. Just think about it, " A Lottery System?"

"Really?" GISD should stop with the appeasement, and do their jobs! Mr. Cross mentioned student migration out of LMISD. I know student who left that school district for League City and Dickinson ISD. I was kin to some of them. Truth be told, I think TCISD needs to double down, and be on guard. Shore up areas where they are slipping, because if not, their numbers in specific demographics will start going DOWN....because of parents pulling their children out! The author of this Op-ed is right on!!!!

Roy Hughes

Written by Lynne Springer

Unless I have misread something when Austin opened the school district set the criteria for those who could apply. Because there were more applicants than spots they set up a lottery system back then. The only way I knew this was that a friend of the family applied ( the student met the criteria) and was rejected. His number was not chosen. Because all of the student's friends got in the parent was not at all happy. The parent complained and the parent must have spoken to the right person because the student was able to get in.

I worked at Weis before the Austin plan came together and before a good portion of the Weis teachers left and became the new Austin teachers. It appeared that the school district wanted to relocate the school that had an Exemplary rating to another part of the island to make it appear that any part of the island could achieve what Weis had achieved. Weis was exemplary when I was there. The students that went to Weis were from that attendance zone and there were a few transfers in the mix, as well.

Some of the teachers that were already at Austin stayed. I do not know if they had to reapply. What I found that was so odd was that when I was hired into the district four years prior to that a principal at one of the schools told me that GISD had a court order hanging over their heads about keeping all campuses integrated. If my principal knew that then, why on earth would the personnel in the Administration building set up the system at Austin know that it might segregate the population. I suppose they were more concerned about ratings. But, why were they worried? They already had one school on the top. All they needed to do was bring the other schools up.

My daughter went to the GISD. Before I moved to Galveston I recall asking my parents several times about academics. We came from a suburban school district on the Northside of Houston and I could not afford for my daughter to go backward. I did put her in a private school after my move to Galveston while my house was being worked on. When I took her out of the private school and put her into public school we discovered that she was at least one year ahead. What the public school was currently working on she had already had in private school. From that point forward it was basically an off and on experience. Some subjects were more advanced while some were not. She did mention that where she went to college and in some of the classes where they were reviewing the high school material she was learning and not reviewing. That was about par because I experienced the same when I left Ball High and went to college. I noticed the biggest difference in math. Of course, when I went to Ball High the classes were leveled. I was in accelerated math. I am not sure what that meant except I was behind when I took College Algebra. The accelerated classes had different teachers than the Master's level teachers. I had already heard that the teacher I had was not quite of to par and sure enough, it was proven in college. My brother, on the other hand, a Master's level math class, and the teacher did not have any issues. That must have been the difference between the levels. I do not recall that there were a large number of students at my level that went to college. I am not sure what levels Ball High expected would go to college? That should not matter. They should teach the same material to all students so if the student does decide the student will be equipped with the proper knowledge to succeed. That is the name of the game, isn't it?

Charles Douglas

Ms. Springer, I could not agree more!!!![thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

David Schuler

If you teach the same material to all students - especially in math - then either 1) there will be an unacceptable number of failing students or 2) advanced students will be behind others when they go off to college. As soon as the Austin lottery system kicks in the teachers will realize they have to cull out advanced topics to keep from having high parent complaint rates. It's all downhill from there.

Charlotte O'rourke

Lynne, thanks for the historical background. I have some questions if you or other commentators would be so kind as to answer:

1). Was the historical lottery you mentioned based on students that qualified or a lottery based on all students?

2). Do you know if the current proposed lottery is based on students that qualify or all students?

3). I thought everyone was taught the same subjects but some students were on a more advanced timeline and placed with students of like abilities. For example, geometry may be taught - depending on the level of the student - from grades 7 until graduation. Why are separate magnate type schools needed at all if curriculum and classes can be structured to group students? What are the academic advantages of this magnate school process?

I’ve just recently tuned into the discussions and am confused on the controversy of insisting on a specific location (Austin) versus the curriculum.

Unlike football which has a very low percentage of a high school participants being drafted to the NFL, all students deserve a quality and equal opportunity education to obtain a decent living wage job.

Addressing the school issues would do much to making Galveston a coveted place to live.

Charlotte O'rourke

Good morning Charles. I don’t think less griping is working out for the school Trustees.

If it’s true that space limitations prohibit more students that qualify from attending Austin, then I’m for more spaces regardless of building location.

I’m opposed to a lottery which admits defeat of the ability to generate opportunity based on needs.

Attending Austin specifically - a building - shouldn’t be the fight. The fight should be for more students having the opportunity to achieve excellence and a safe environment for all students that are striving and working hard to be better than AVERAGE.

Charles Douglas

Ms. O'ROURKE, thank you for your response, and I must say I agree with you because of your recent response. If what AUSTIN MIDDLE has in the way of enviornment is what's causing them to be standouts, then GISD should re-create that enviornment in other schools, but don't "Blow-up" what is going on at Austin Middle!

If I walked up and stood in the hallways of one of GISD'S low performing schools, I probably could gurantee there will be great differences between there, and standing in the middle of Austin's HALLWAYS! Discipline differences for one, and desire to learn among other things as well! I'm talking about LEARNING ENVIRONMENT in the classrooms, and in the hallways! Inspiring people to learn should be introduced at sub-par schools because many of those students there might be in home environments where poverty takes precedence!

A single parent working two jobs in order to pay the rent or put food on the table will prioritize that to be more important than focusing on the future, because they are invested in NOW! Oh, I have been there! I will also agree that GISD is not the only place this stuff is going on, even now. These kids are to important to ignore, and all the stops needs to be pulled out in order to help those who stand in the need of help.

However, it will not be smart to impede the progress nor the process, which has helped Austin Middle School soar like eagles! I can't say it aný better than that. We must realize these students will be in competition with other students one day for scholarships, jobs, and opportunities, locally, nationally, and internationally. So then, set up mentoring programs, have successful business people to come in and speak to them. Have ex students drop by and share!

One of the things which inspired me the most in school was a group of convicts came to my high school under guard and told their stories, from where it began in their homes to where they stood on our auditorium stage. It made me determined to not end up in Huntsville State Prison more than ever!

Charlotte O'rourke

Going back to the sports analogy. Tom Brady was not expected to be a GOAT quarterback as he was taken in the 6th round.

Sometimes one just needs opportunity and hard work to achieve what others consider impossible.

Charles Douglas

Tom Brady got into an environment at the University Of Michigan which was a chance of a lifetime! Michigan was not then and neither is it now ..SMALL POTATOES! ( One of my sons got an offer to play for Michigan.. he turned it down and went somewhere else. ) One can make a point that Michigan is not the only Potatoe in town,and nor should it be. Just like Austin Middle should not be the only school of excellence abiding in GISD!

Notre Dame, Southern California, Purdue, and University Of Miami are all great schools and produced Great Hall of Fame, & Rich players like Drew Brees, and Joe Montana too! My point is Brady at Michigan had no more of an opportunity than Joe Montana had at Notre Dame, or Drew Brees did at Purdue! Montana & Brady both have won at least four Super Bowls, they both are filthy rich, ( So is Brees )..and they both had an opportunity to be great at different SCHOOLS! Question: Why is Austin Middle School the only Middle School in GISD, which allows the proper chance, environment, and opportunity for students to soar like an eagle? Answer: It shouldn't be ...but is, because somebody has DROPPED THE BALL!

Charlotte O'rourke

Instead of continuing to fumble (delay and lottery instead of a plan to accommodate a student’s need to soar like an eagle as you so eloquently stated), GISD needs to stop preventing the students that qualify from being able to achieve their maximum potential because of a lack of space at the Austin campus.

It’s unacceptable that 150 students are accepted and 100 rejected even though they meet criteria.

If creating a bigger facility is a better option and is more economically feasible than several middle schools and the program can be implemented without disrupting its success, why not implement that more encompassing goal of admitting more students?

Staying the current course ..... not acceptable.

Tom Brady thought about transferring from Michigan - which I agree is a top notch school both for football and academics. Would Tom have been drafted in the NFL at all if he had transferred to a lesser school so he could play more? Surely, a top tier school enhances opportunities.

Life choices are extremely important as you stated and the sometimes arbitrary judgement of others as to our children’s rights or abilities to soar should not be accepted as equal academic opportunity especially when the student ACHIEVES and is still denied admittance for whatever lame reason provided.

Charles Douglas

Ms. O'rourke you are proposing quite a bit of ifs in your proposals and scenarios. If General Patton had not moved when he did taking the route he did in order to rescue General McAuliffe of the 101st Airborne division at Bastogne in WW2 ...they would have been wiped out! I suppose one could used ifs to qualify anything. Now as for TOM BRADY transferring, and playing, .. JOE BURROW transferred from Ohio State who plays Michigan in the BIG TEN, to LSU, and he played and got drafted Number One in the NFL last year! Want another? Troy Aikman transferred from Oklahoma to UCLA in 1986, and got drafted drafted later by the Dallas Cowboys as their Number One pick! Now he is a Hall Of Famer. Anyway,.. for a lady you sure know a lot about Football. Lolo... but so do I! Anyway, thank you for your comments and God bless this great country we have to afford us to freely make our opinions known! It is the epitome of a free society. I also suspect GISD will do what they are inclined to do no matter what we think! I'm done.

Charlotte O'rourke

Patton .... hmm .... What God willeth will be.

Thanks for the discussion.

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