Last month I had the pleasure of addressing the Republican Women of Arlington. After my presentation was over I had a deposition to give in Ft. Worth and had to leave to meet that obligation. It didn't give me time to answer the questions of the ladies after the luncheon. One individual went directly to the school board and stated that I was going to "have the principals report to me." This statement couldn't be further from the truth. The principals of AISD are the responsibility of the School Board and Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos. I might add that although I have met many times with principals of schools in my district, most meetings were attended by either Superintendent Cavazos or a member of the Board. I have contacted the lady that has made this statement to the Board and corroborated my side of the story through other individuals in attendance.
Another statement that is in contention is that I said, "our schools are terrible." What I said was, "our schools WERE terrible." The testing at the end of the 2010 school year put three of the five schools that were "Academically Unacceptable" in the north district. You don't have to take my word for it, because it's a matter of public record. This is very unfortunate, because after that school year the rating standard changed to either Pass or Fail. In order to get into a Pass category you only have to test above 60%. Our schools that were previously "Academically Unacceptable" have all gotten test scores that has put them into the "Pass" category. There is hope that the state will change this rating system to paint an accurate picture of the true standing of our schools and where they are in comparison to the old system.
The good news is that Superintendent Cavazos and the AISD Board have met the challenges of these schools and made real time strategic personnel changes to correct these problems. Each of the schools in question underwent principal changes. Mr. Cavazos and the current Board are very progressive, not only in the personnel changes that they have made, but also in changing the curriculum to better suit the needs of a diverse student population. They have my total support and admiration for the job that they are doing.
While we are discussing admiration, let me talk about today's teachers. I personally believe that the missing ingredient to a successful education is parental involvement. I can assure you that most kids in AP classes come from homes where parents make education a priority. I applaud their efforts. Then there are those homes were education is not so important. If the student doesn't show his/her own initiative, then it is up to the teacher to inspire that child to want to learn. In our current society this can be very difficult. Today's teachers face the challenges of behavior management, communicating with parents, planning lessons, and keeping up with the latest in technology. And they do this in over crowded classrooms, on reduced budgets, for comparatively little compensation. You have my total respect for what you do.
In closing let me say this. The fact that the developers of the Viridian project, that is located in my district, have selected the HEB school district has not been lost on me or the School Board. There is a reason for this, and the school ratings in 2010 didn't help the matter. The Board has met this situation by opening up enrollment in AISD to anyone that wants to attend. Therefore, Viridian residents can attend AISD schools. Now the challenge is to get the parents of the kids in Viridian to want to attend Arlington schools.