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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung: Tuesday, April 25, 1995 - Page 4

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   New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 25, 1995, New Braunfels, Texas                                4 HeraldZeitung Tuesday April Opinion To talk with Managing Editor Doug Loveday about the Opinion page call 6259144 ext 21 Writing requires devotion and a bit of Buchi Emecheta sociologist D I T O R I A L Disaster Relief Finding the money to aid victims of catastrophes not as easy as it once was kind labeled as acts of God and those perpetrated by the hand of taking their toll on the worlds populations Theyre also straining government treasuries and insurance companies On Monday international insurer Lloyds of London warned that the 308yearold firm was under severe Investors were told however that the company would not go under this year But they also learned that new claims this year in addition to a drain on reserves from previous years will be a tremendous obstacle to overcome On this side of the Atlantic American insurers utilize the Lloyds of London network as a reinsurance market They purchase insurance from Lloyds to guard against catastrophe just like other insurance consumers When natural disasters strike many smaller firms would not be able to sur vive the huge claims that would be made if they had to pay straight from their own pocket so their insurance from Lloyds helps them survive the disaster as well The health of Lloyds therefore is something every insurer in this coun try is watching In the last several years American insurers have had to pay claims on Hur ricanes Hugo and Andrew Theyve also faced claims from earthquakes in Oakland and Los Angeles In the Midwest its been the devastating flooding around the Houston area last year California was also hit with severe flooding this year that damaged agri cultural interests as well as private and commercial property Insurers have spent weeks and months on the scene of these natural dis asters but they werent the only ones inspecting and assessing the damage The governments Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA also sent teams of workers helping victims obtain immediate aid and longer term aid like housing loans and homeimprovement loans While the insurance industry in this country is healthier today than it has been in recent years the same can not be said for the federal government It seems nearly every month the President is having to declare a county or state a federal disaster area entitled to federal relief This month Oklahoma Cky is receiving the attention of FEMA What we need to be asking our government leaders is who has declared our federal government a disaster area With yearly budget deficits and a more than trillion debt the government may not be able to bring aid and com fort to future disaster sites Todays editorial was written by Managing Editor Doug Loveday Write us The New Braunfels HeraldZeitung welcomes letters on any public issue The editor reserves the right to correct spelling style punctua tion and known factual errors Letters should be kept to 250 words We publish only original mail addressed to The New Braunfels Herald Zeitung bearing the writers signature Also an address and a telephone number which are not for publication must be included Please cite the page number and date of any article that is mentioned Preference is given to writers who have not been published in the previous 30 days Mail letters to Letters to the Editor The New Braunfels HeraldZeitung Drawer 311328 New Braunfels Texas 781311328 Fax 210 6251224 New Braunfels HeraldZeitung Editor and Sullens General DuVall Managing Loveday Advertising Stevens Circulation Ann Avery Pressroom Brandt Classified Reininger City Croteau Published on Sunday mornings and weekday mornings Tuesday through Friday by the New liruunjek HeraldZeitung USPS 377880 707 Landa St or Drawer 311328 New Braunfels Comal County Tx 78131 1328 Second class postage paid by the New Braun felx HeraldZeiiung in New Braunfels Texas Carrier delivered in Comal and Guadalupe counties three months six months one year Senior Citizen Discounts by carrier delivery only six months one year Mail delivery ouliide Comal County in Texas three months six months one year Mail outside Texas six months one year Subscribers who have not received a newspaper by Tuesday through Friday or by on Sunday may call 210 6259144 or by 7 weekdays or by 11 on Sunday POSTMASTCR Send address changes to the New Braunfels HeraldZeiiung Draw er 311328 New Braunfels Tx 781311328 Opinion Online contact To submit letters and guest columns electronically by way of online services or Internet or to simply contact staff members the HeraldZeitungs address Is Education bill shifts power base Judith Zafflrlnl Horace Mann wrote Educa tion then beyond all other devices of human origin is the equalizer of the conditions of balancewheel of the social Since the 19th Century edu cator included these words in a report to the Massachusetts School Board in 1848 the nations legislatures have strug gled to improve public educa tion so that it offers each student an equal opportunity to learn The 74th Texas Legislature is no exception On March 27 the Senate passed an education reform bill Senate Bill 1 by Sen Bill Ratliff Pleas ant reduces state control enhances local control of the states school districts and offers parents educational choices for their children The House of Representa tives will consider this bill or an alternate version by Rep Paul Sadler chair of the House Public Education Committee The bill limits the Texas Education Agency to spe cific activities including setting educational goals and graduation standards granting school charters managing funds and developing state plans for voca tional gifted and talented bilingual compensatory and special education programs like those for deaf or hearingimpaired students Floor Amendment 30 by Zafflrini ensures that stu dents who are deaf or hearingimpaired receive the opportunity to be educated in their unique language mode Language proficiency increases their oppor tunities for success as it does for all students Providing for the education of our children is clearly the single most important function of gov ernment I have made it a top priority I am pleased to see the Senate take up the task of reforming Texas said Lt Gov Bob Bullock The reform bill includes provisions giving local school districts options under which they may oper ate in addition to their current general law and special purpose charters A new homerule charter that requires voter approval permits the district to set class size limits but requires compliance with state curriculum graduation requirements accountability no pass no play zero tolerance compulsory atten dance prekindergarten bilingual education federal law and court orders teacher certification finance and information reporting Districts would have the option to modify no pass no play by providing a 3week red shirt period for a students first failing grade report in junior and senior high school The bills educational pilot programs include open enrollment charter schools created by the State Board of Education on the request of parents Such schools would be subject only to core curriculum and gradu ation requirements accountability no pass no play federal law and information reporting The second pilot program permits accredited free schools in low performing school districts to accept vouchers from poor students Free schools may not adopt discriminatory entrance requirements must provide transportation and lunch for voucher stu dents and participate in the state testing system Free schoolsare an attempt to combine the best of public and private schools Every student must have access to a quality education whether through private or public sources We must however ensure that new programs do not negatively impact the public school system Additionally SB 1 improves discipline by allowing teachers to remove disruptive students from class veto their return after a committee review and place them in alternative education The bill mandates that students be placed in alter native education settings for assault selling drugs or alcohol substance abuse or public lewdness Stu dents adjudicated for these offenses cannot be returned to regular classrooms by the courts which may require their attendance in alternative education programs SB 1 also requires that students be expelled and referred to appropriate courts for felony offenses A court could return serious offenders on probation to school with district consent Academic requirements of the bill focus on profi ciency in a core curriculum of reading writing math science and social studies and a curriculum estab lished by the State Board of Education Other provisions enhance accountability for state administered tests and establish new guidelines for education professional certification teacher appraisal instruments educators contracts and classroom teach ers schedules As legislators address educational reform we should recall George Peabodys definition of educa tion as debt due from present to future u mm on vitfo Home rule robs kids of opportunities The concept of home rule school districts is one of the most dangerous ideas to be introduced into this leg islative session Masquerading as local control it is in fact a dirty little plot to rob children of educational opportu nities and to punish Texas teachers Home rule advocates advance the peculiar idea that schools will be some how better if their governing boards are free of all state standards Never mind that the standards in place have been responsible for demonstrable improvement in student achievement over the past several years Home rule advocates want local school boards to be free to increase class size in elementary grades to hire uncertified teachers to ignore the state required curriculum to eject children from school and to fire teachers with out cause to do anything they want with our childrens education Home rule is like a driveby shoot ing that indiscriminately mows down every positive education reform thats been enacted over the past several Today In History Analysis years Its little wonder that this untest ed idea has not been seriously pro posed much less adopted in any oth er slate Since home rule advocates are care ful to mask their arguments in local control rhetoric often talking about empowering parents and teachers wellintentioned people are often mis led Advocates argue that home rule will get rid of bureaucratic red tape that stands in the way of innovative local programs On close examination these arguments dont hold up First home rule does not empower parents and teachers The real bene factor of home rule the group that stands to gain tremendous power is the Texas Association of School Boards that writes the cookbook of recom mended school board policy which is adopted verbatim by almost every local school board in the state This truth can be easily tested by pulling 20 or so local school board policy manu als from across the state and noting the similarity from district to district TASB has a history of opposing the reforms that have led to recent improvements in education TASB opposed class size limits they opposed sitebased decision making to involve community and teachers in campus and district decisions they opposed every single teacher salary increase that has been introduced they even opposed the prekindergarten program This group and the local school boards they represent over whose objection every important standard and employee benefit has been won will now be put in charge under home rule Is there something wrong with this picture Second although advocates argue that state standards are restrictive no one has yet come forward to claim that they had a really innovative idea for an educational program that would have benefited children that couldnt be implemented because of state law or rule Texas already has a very liberal waiver process This movement is not motivated by a desire to make schools better It is a meanspirited concept that is fueled by the desire to save money Texas voters have already turned down home rule in one of its disguis es quite recently Constitutional Amendment 2 on the May I 1993 ballot called for local school districts to be free of state standards that were not fully funded by the state The vot ers said no The Constitution of the state of Texas charges the state with the responsibility to provide free public schools The state cannot relieve itself of the constitutional responsibility by handing it off to local school boards Thus the question really boils down to this Who should set minimum stan dards for Texas schools the Texas Legislature or the Texas Association of School Boards Our choice is the Leg islature This analysis was written by Richard Kouri president of the Texas State Teachers Association By The Associated Press Today is Tuesday April 25 the 15th day of 1995 There are 250 days left in the year Todays Highlight in History Fifty years ago on April 25 1945 delegates from some 50 countries met in San Francisco to organize the United Nations In an address carried by telephone from the White House President Truman called on the diplomats to create a world body that would pre vent the outbreak of another world war On this date In 1792 a highwayman named Nicolas Jacques Pelletier became the first person under French law to be executed by the guillotine In 1859 ground was broken for the Suez Canal In 1874 radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi was bom in Bologna Italy In 1898 the United States formally declared war on Spain In 1901 New York became the first state to require automobile license plates the fee was In 1915 during World War I Allied soldiers invaded the Gallipoli Peninsula in an unsuccessful attempt to take the Ottoman Turkish Empire out of the war In 1945 during World War II and Soviet forces linked up near Torgau Germany on the Elbe River a meeting that dramatized the collapse of Nazi Germanys defenses In 1959 the St Lawrence Seaway opened to ship ping In 1983 Soviet leader Yuri V Andropov invited Samantha Smith to visit his country after receiving a letter in which the Manchester Maine schoolgirl expressed fears about nuclear war In 1983 the Pioneer 10 spacecraft crossed Plutos orbit speeding on its endless voyage through the Milky Way Ten years ago 257 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to President Reagan urging him to cancel his planned visit to the German military cemetery at Bitburg   

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