Xavier Miranda sent this in:
In the Best Interest of Our Children
Concerted efforts to privatize our public schools are being implemented with potential calamitous consequences for our children.
Business-reform models discussed on the golf course continue to be applied without any verified empirical evidence or tangible framework. The rationale provided is classic “policy-based evidence,” that is rarely challenged. Such reforms stimulate the private sector by creating profitable ventures at the expense of our children.
Here are a few condensed examples:
- Our children are gradually becoming 1 of 200+ students on a high school teacher’s roster. Personalized instruction, wherein the whole child is taught, will be relegated to a one-size-fits-all model, under the guise of online learning enhancements and blended instruction. This model is not effective, yet district administrators hired Tom Vander Ark, who is instrumental in the privatization movement of public education. Below are a reference number and a link that provide insight.
- EPISD Solicitation: RFQ #15-028 Strategic Planning Services for Getting Smart, LLC for $125,000
- Based on the Jacobs Engineering Firm report, the Board of Managers has recommended the consolidation of some elementary and middle schools, and subsequent conversion toKindergarten through 8th grade settings. This transition disregards the emotional, physical, and social development of our children.
- The Board of Managers has yet to resolve the ongoing TEA investigations associated with the Lorenzo Garcia scheme. Yet, punitive economic and personnel measures are passed on to employees, while accumulating a district-level administrative team that averages approximately $100,000.
- The Board of Managers, led by Dee Margo and Carmen Candelaria-Arrieta, have publicly stated that our district will be facing a $17 million shortfall, yet they award an exorbitant $1.4 million to MNK Architecture, Inc. to merely design a new Central Office—yet the Board recommends the closure of schools to save money.
- Through the formation of the Public Corporation, the Board of Managers has effectively circumvented the democratic process of allowing taxpayers to vote on the aforementioned construction, and burden our tax-base with a $29 million bill.The Board of Managers also found $1.3 million to pay the Jacobs Engineering Firm to provide a study, which contradicts the Texas Education Agency’s projected population growth, while recommending the closure of 22 schools. All these expenditures in the shadow of a $17 million budget shortfall.
These developments beg the question, How do these reforms best serve our children?
Such concerns can be effectively addressed, at our community-generated forum for all EPISD School Board of Trustees candidates. Given the number of individuals running, the current Board of Managers will likely be in power until July when run-off elections conclude. Meanwhile, vital decisions will continue to be made without community input. Meetings will accommodate for the Managers’ schedules, without any regard for the rest who work a typical 9-5 day, essentially muting our voice.
Please plan on attending this forum on Saturday, May 2, 2015 from 9 AM to 12 noon at Cafe Mayapan, located at 2000 Texas Avenue.
(The Facebook link below provides detailed information and allows you to spread the word to interested folks.)
It is requested that our elected officials attend, as these issues affect the economic outlook of our community. It would be of great benefit to students from UTEP’s College of Education to attend and catch a glimpse of how education is being directed. Lastly, it would be of immense value to have the Board of Managers attend and acknowledge the insight of our community.
On a personal note, I invite all to take time from their busy schedules to visit and shadow our teachers, coaches, and administrators to gain a valuable perspective to what we do for the children of our community. Feel free to contact me to make the necessary arrangements.
El Paso Grassroots