New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 11, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas
4A □ HeraJd-Zeitung □ Friday, July 11,1997
■ To talk with Managing Editor Margaret Edmonson about the Opinion page, call 625-9144, Ext. 220.
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“The ethics of journalism are the same as the ethics for living.”
Jim Wooten journalist
OSD should explore other graduation options
A proposal to move Comal Independent School District graduation ceremonies to Blossom Athletic Center in San Antonio may sound practical to school administrators but goes against the tradition of what graduation is all about.
This week, CISD trustees gave informal approval for administrators to reserve Blossom Athletic Facility in San Antonio for May 30, 1998, graduation exercises. If this plan goes forward, the classes of 1998 from Canyon High School and Smithson Valley High School will not walk across the stage at their schools — they and their families and friends will drive out of their communities to another facility for graduation. One school will conduct graduation in the morning with the other school graduating its seniors that afternoon.
According to CISD Superintendent Jerry Major, principals requested the change because of continuing growth at the schools and the constant concern about inclement weather.
Those are legitimate concerns, but moving ceremonies outside of New Braunfels does not appear to be the answer.
Part of the pomp and circumstance of high school graduation is getting the opportunity to say good-bye to your alma mater by accepting your diploma in the gym where you had physical education classes or the football field where you played football or marched in the band. Students moving up the ranks in their schools have watched siblings, friends and schoolmates graduate there and that s where they expect to become part of the tradition and part of the schools story.
Graduating in your community also is important, not only to the students but to the community. New Braunfels and Comal County should make every effort to make these graduates feel like vital members of this community.
Letting them celebrate a major milestone right here goes a long way toward sending that message and allows the rest of us to celebrate their accomplishments with them.
CISD administrators have legitimate concerns about weather and spacing, but they should instead use the $2,000 they would spend rn rentmg Blossom Athletic Facility to find another — local — option.
(Today 's editorial was written by Heruld-Zeitung Managing Editor Margaret Edmonson.)
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Texas curriculum honed by experts, citizens
In the summer of 1994, the State Board of Education undertook the task or rewriting the curriculum for the public schools of the State of Texas. State statute places a responsibility for the development of the curriculum in the hands of the State Board of Education. The state curriculum was more than 5 years old, so a rewrite was in order.
At that time, the State Board of Education, and the Commissioner of Education, Lionel Meno, chose to embark on an examination of English language arts, math, social studies and science as well as 11 other subject areas.
bi our state, this process has been extremely challenging.
Writing teams engaged in writing three drafts of the curriculum. All of the “experts” lave not agreed on die content of the curriculum. However, the dialogue has been helpful and of assistance in further refining and improving the documents.
Certainly there have been areas of disagreement. In the area of health, there is a strong concern that abstinence be presented as the preferred method of contraception in any discussion of human sexuality. Additionally, there has been a strong concern that parents be recognized as those responsible for giving first guid
ance to children in the area of health. In the essential knowledge and skills documents regarding the health curriculum, these preferences are in our recommendations.
As a former Texas history and American history teacher, I am extremely interested in assuring that the rich history of our nation and our state will be respected in all of these documents. Much of die criticism of the social studies document has centered around an alleged lack of content. I believe that some of the criticisms offered of our initial drafts were valid. Now, one can find that important landmarks such as 1836, 1845, the siege of the Alamo, San Jacinto, Stephen F. Austin, Juan Seguin, and William Travis are in our curriculum.
With regard to math and science, students are expected to learn the basics including their multiplication tables as well as other math facts. Science has been reviewed by teachers and business persons as well. An
emphasis on the importance of natural resources, such as oil and gas, has been incorporated into these documents.
In the area of language aits, there has been ongoing debate and discussion about the manner in which we should teach reading in the public schools. We have tried to emphasize the importance of phonics, decoding, and alphabetic knowledge. Despite attempts to reach consensus among all patties, there are those on both sides of the reading issue who do not agree wife our recommendations.
Some individuals have gone so far as to develop their own alternative draft to the English language arts and submitted it for consideration. It has received a great deal pf support in some quarters. In all honesty, this document has some very worthy components. Nevertheless, we were not charged with writing a curriculum guide. This is not about what teachers will teach. The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills is about what children should know. How to teach what students should know is a decision that should be made at the local level.
There have been some representations that the cost of the TEKS documents, which cover IS subject areas, has been excessive as compared to the
alternative draft document, which covers only English/language arts. The development of standards and a new curriculum is an expensive process in a state of 18 million citizens. The documents have been reviewed by mole than 18,000 Texans. Additionally, fee decision of the State Board of Education to take fee project into a third year certainly has added to its cost I do not believe feat has been an unwise investment. While some $9 million has been spoil on this endeavor over a three-year period, it is a pittance compared to the almost $400 million we will spend in fee adoption of textbooks over the next two years.
Adopting a state curriculum wife a strong academic base but wife flexibility for school districts and teachers is paramount to continuing our efforts toward local control of our schools. This process may have led to divisiveness among our elected board members and others who believe that they “did not get their way." However, democracy is not easy and developing consensus in a state as big as Texas is a daunting task. Despite these obstacles, the hard work of parents, teachers and business persons has resulted in a curriculum that is worthy of support
(Mike Moses is fee Texas commissioner ofeducation.)
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Election reform measures will protect rights
By ANTONIO GARZA, JR.,
Texas Secretary of State
This year’s legislative session saw the passage of several elections-related reform measures designed to better protect the rights of U.S. citizens in Texas of all races to register and vote. But if you are eagerly awaiting their timely enactment, as I am, don’t hold your breath. We may be waiting a good, long while.
Because they affect voting rights, these new laws must be submitted under the Voting Rights Act to the federal government for approval before they can take effect. That’s bad enough. But believe it or not, some election reform measures that Texas lawmakers passed two years ago have still not received the green light they need from the federal government under fee Act to take effect. A prime example is a 1995 law that would cut dramatically the number of non-citizens who register to vote.
That measure was designed to keep employees at certain state agencies from having to offer voter registration to persons known to be non-citizens when those persons apply for or renew their applications for social services. We submitted the law to the U.S. Department of Justice for approval, as
requires by the Voting Rights Act. Since then, the Justice Department has been playing a cat and mouse game, whereby it waits until the last minute to respond to our request for approval, only to give us some vague directive to produce “more information," which triggers yet another sixty-day period during which we must wait for a response
In the meantime, our citizens’ faith in the voting process dwindles as certain state agencies are obliged to continue to offer voter registration, even to those known to be ineligible to vote. That’s not fair, either to citizens or non-citizens. In this country, citizens should be able to rely on the notion that if they play by the rales, no matter what their national origin, their vote will court. Non-citizens should be able to rely on information provided to them by state agencies and should not be misled into doing something that may ultimately get them deputed.
The federal government, specifically the Justice Department, has gone to extremes in enforcing the Voting Rights Act by turning it into an opp reunify to micro-manage state affairs, creating yard of red tape and letting much-needed election ‘forms in Texas sit in limbo. Such actions serve to undermine the integrity of fee voting process in Texas, and they are absolutely unacceptable to the se of us
who believe feat Texas can manage its own affairs without interference from Washington.
There’s absolutely no reason I can see for delaying the federal approval of these measures. In fact, it’s ironic that, 00 fee one hand, fee federal government has delayed the approval of these measures, while on fee other hand it has recently sent fee FBI to investigate allegations of illegal voting by non-citizens in Dallas County. It’s fee classic example of fee right hand not knowing what fee left hand is doing
That’s why I've asked Attorney General Dan Morales to seek a declaratory judgment in federal court feat would give those two-year-old election reform measures fee green light they need under the Voting Rights Act to be put into practice. And if a federal court steps in, maybe election reforms from the most recent legislative session, such as those addressing mail fraud, military voting and voter registration rolls, will get federal approval before the end of the century.
Texas voters deserve to benefit from the hard work their elected legislators do every session. Washington needs to stop playing games and to let us Texans get on wife running Texas.
(Antonio Garza Jr. is Secretary of State of Texas.)
Today in History
By The Associated Press
Today is Friday, July ll, the 192nd day of 1997. There are 173 days left in fee year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On July ll, 1504, Vice President Aaron Burr mortally wounded former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton in a pistol duel near Wee haw ken, N.J.
On this date:
la 1533, Pope Clement VII excommunicated England’s King Henry VOL la 1757, John Quincy Adams, fee sixth president of the United States, was bom in Braintree, Mass.
la ITH, tire U.S. Marine Corps was created by sn act of Congress. bl 1554, Confederate forces led by
Gen. Jubal Early began an invasion of Washington, D.C., turning back fee next day.
la 1934, President Roosevelt became the first chief executive to travel through the Panama Canal while in office.
la 1952, the Republican National Convention, meeting in Chicago, nominated Dwight D. Eisenhower for president and Richard M. Nixon for vice president.
la 1955, the Air Force Academy was dedicated at Lowry Air Base in Colorado.
la 1977, the Medal of Freedom was awarded posthumously to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in a While House ceremony.
la 1979, 216 people were lulled when a tanker truck overfilled with
propylene gas exploded on a coastal highway south of Tarragona, Spain.
In 1979, the abandoned U.S. space station Skylab made a spectacular return to Earth, burning up in the atmosphere and showering debris over fee Indian Ocean and Australia.
In 1991, a Nigerian Airlines jet carrying Muslim pilgrims crashed at fee Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, international airport, killing all 261 people on bourd.
Ten years aga: Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke won a third consecutive term, becoming the first Labor Party leader in the country’s history to be elected in feme straight terms in office.
FWe veers aam Undeclared presidential hopeful Rosa Perot, addressing the NAACP convention in
Nashville, Term., startled and offended his listeners by referring to the predominantly black audience as “you people."
One year aga: An Air Force F-16 jet trying to make an emergency landing slammed into a house in Pensacola, Fla., retting fen home on fire, killing a 4-year-old boy and badly burning his mother. The pilot ejected safely.
Today's Birthdays: Actor Gene Evans is 75. Actor Tab Hunter 1.66. Singer Jeff Hanna (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) is 50. Singer Bonnie Pointier it 46. Boxer Leon Spinks is 44. Actress Sela Ward is 41. Raggae singer Michael Rom (Black Uhuni) is 40.
(“Oliver!") is 39.