Monday, May 28, 2007

Incredible News! The TEXAS LEGISLATURE Did Something Good!!!

This was just posted by Gloria Meraz of Texas Library Association. On the last day of its session, the Texas Legislature, both House and Senate, passed the full funding for informational databases for K-12 schools. After all the letters and calls, frustration and doing without, Texas librarians can look forward to providing students with these valuable resources. When the same legislative body cut funding in 2002, I felt ashamed and frustrated. That cut took place during a summer special session, at a time when many teachers and librarians were out for the summer and unaware of the proceedings, thus reducing the outcry of protest. The lack of funds hurt the poorest of the poor, those districts that could not pick up the funding from local monies. Right after this happened, I began offering presentations about how to cope with the lack of databases and how to work to regain them. I also wrote an article for Teacher Librarian about the situation, and gave the short list of states not providing the databases at that time: Colorado, Florida, California, Texas, and Rhode Island. Finally, five years later, it appears Texas students will once again have equal access to the databases, regardless of where they live. I cannot think of a piece of writing that would make me happier to be outdated.

Now, we can sit back and relax! Not really. We need to THANK those representatives who supported the bill. We need to continue to be vigilant in case the databases become threatened again. And, of utmost importance, we must increase awareness of the resources' value, and teach students and colleagues how to use them.

1 comment:

  1. I saw these new and interesting Bills that I thought you would like to hear about: Virtual schools
    Two bills dealing with virtual schools passed:

    SB 1788 by Shapiro sets up a virtual school network that will allow students across the state to access online courses. The bill facilitates greater equity in access to enrichment, AP, dual credit and other specialized coursework.
    House Bill (HB) 2864 by Rep. Warren Chisum (R–Pampa) creates a pilot program allowing distance learning instruction for certain courses in rural schools.
    Isn't this interesting? I teach technology at the high school level, so who will be teaching them? I am a fan of technology, though I believe that students need the one on one instruction that will allow them to socialize with a higher authority. I personally love internet courses, though I do not believe this is the only way to go. There needs some time of assessment before these students are allowed to take such classes, hopefully the legislature has thought of that as well.

    Another interesting bill is the Private school vouchers
    Several bills that would have allowed for private school vouchers were filed early in the session. However, ATPE and like-minded voucher opponents scored an early victory that seemed to halt their momentum. The House overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state budget bill (HB 1) that prohibited the Legislature from using state funds for a private school voucher program. Although the amendment was later stripped from the bill in conference committee, the overwhelming vote sent a clear message that legislative support for a voucher program had all but disappeared, at least in the House. SB 1943 by Sen. Dan Patrick (R–Houston) would have allowed private school students to participate in University Interscholastic League (UIL) activities and competitions. ATPE urged Patrick to amend the bill to require private school students to meet the same accountability requirements as public school students who participate in UIL. He declined to modify the bill, which made it out of the Senate but died on the House calendar.
    Why am I not surprised?