ONE TEACHER’S TALE

Dear Editor:
I am a teacher in Humble ISD. Two years ago, I was pregnant after having recently miscarried. My principal at the time was aware, as I had to miss a couple of days to have a D&C [dilation and curettage] performed. I had a student in my class that year who was extremely violent. This student would throw (literally pick up and toss) chairs and supplies and would even attempt to lift and throw desks. I evacuated my classroom several times a week. He also routinely hit and kicked me in the stomach. I was still devastated from my miscarriage and was terrified of it happening again due to this child's violence, not to mention I was terrified for the safety of my other students. My administrator at the time would sometimes talk to the student for a few minutes, allow the student to play with Legos or other toys in his office, and that is pretty much it. One time after I was hit and kicked, I called for help and the principal told me to "figure out the problem" with the student in the hallway while he (the principal) watched the rest of my class. I was confused, angry and scared that the student would continue to hit me. Luckily, another teacher came to help. Nothing was ever done about this student and he went on to the next grade doing the exact same things to the next teacher.  Luckily, she was not pregnant, but she still missed countless instructional time due to these outbursts. Sadly, the principal who allowed all this to happen will be the new principal at an upcoming school. I am an experienced teacher with this current year being my 10th year and I have never felt such lack of support as when this individual was my principal. My school has a new and wonderful principal this year and I feel supported again. However, the behaviors that I have seen over the past three-four years are becoming more and more extreme. Also, more tolerated … I don't want you to think I am complaining or causing problems. I truly absolutely love my job and my students (even the one mentioned above), but administration can make or break school morale.

Name Withheld by Request
Via email

 

FOR BOB REHAK

Dear Editor:
School board elections are ahead of us in May, and along with them, we have our new superintendent. I find that change is good and it is time for us to make changes to our school board. I have lived in this area for 15 years and during those years, I have been an active volunteer in Humble ISD schools during the time my daughter attended them for 12 years. My volunteer positions included council president of the PTAs of Humble ISD and serving on the board of the Humble ISD Education Foundation for two years. I volunteered for seven years for the Humble Rodeo and BBQ Cook-Off; for three of those years, I was one of the executive directors. I’ve worked the Humble ISD Foundation Gala for three years and the Humble ISD Foundation Golf Tournament for two years. I believe bringing in new voices is now needed to get fresh ideas and a different look at needs for the school district. I would like to express my support for Bob Rehak for Position 1. Bob has lived here for more than 30 years. He has been a teacher and owned a business for 22 years before retiring last year. He has been an active volunteer and community activist in the area for decades. I ask that all of you take a serious look at the positions that are up for election and consider changes for our district. Attend the forums, visit the candidates’ websites, and read articles about them. Remember, the school board is a nonpartisan position. It absolutely doesn’t matter which party you or the candidate are affiliated with. Please get out there and vote whether or not you have a child attending any schools. The standing of the schools has a great affect on your property taxes.

Gina Remmes
Kingwood

 

FOR REHAK, WHITMIRE, HERRON

Dear Editor:
The Humble ISD school board election will be held on May 6, and the last day to register is April 6. I’m encouraging everyone to become informed and, most importantly, to make sure you are registered to vote. Right now is a very contentious time; I encourage you to understand the issues and how it will impact you, your children and the community, and how imperative it is to vote in this election. One major issue is school vouchers. Don’t be fooled by buzz words like tax credits, option certificates, and choice scholarship programs – all are code for vouchers. It’s not what you think it is. The credits may be small or, most likely, will not be enough to cover full tuition at a private school. Tax credits have been proposed or used to avoid legal battles involving the separation of church and state. That’s because money flows through a middle man [such as ] a scholarship organization. Such programs have drawn criticism for not serving the neediest students. Look at Douglas County in Colorado. Another issue you need to be mindful of is trust. [It] seems we were sold a bill of goods without any input from the community, or at least, our input was ignored. We have been fighting a battle with the upper crust on public education for almost three decades, with their pushing of vouchers and privatization of our public schools. Taking money away from our schools is not solving the problems. Having explored the issues, I am getting behind Bob Rehak, Abby Whitmire and Christopher Herron. Remember, this is a nonpartisan race, but, also be aware of who has you and your children’s best interest at heart. Please do your due diligence and research the issues that have befallen our district, state and country. Be sure to ask questions of the candidates and become educated on the changes that will be impacting our community. Our students and community are counting on you.

Patty Pinkley
Atascocita

 

SCHOOL CHOICE

Dear Editor:
The Texas State Senate has authored a bill which would introduce school choice to Texas. This would create a market place for primary education and make Texas the 31st state to implement school choice. In a recent interview, State Representative Dan Huberty, chair of the House Committee on Public Education, stated that school choice was dead. Huberty argued that the bill should not be allowed to be voted on or passed due to the fact that the Senate bill contains no accountability for private schools. This information is completely false for three basic reasons. First, in order for a private school to qualify for state funds, the school must be accredited by an organization recognized by the Texas Education Agency. Currently, there is an abundance of private schools that would qualify under this guideline. Second, accountability in the market place is brutally efficient.  Last, Huberty inadvertently admits that “accountability” is really not the issue at hand. He was asked, if the “accountability” issue was addressed in the bill, would his opposition decrease? Huberty’s response was a simple, “No.”  Huberty discussed his thoughts on protecting those state representatives [on the education committee] from casting a “tough vote.” So, in a nutshell,  Huberty feels that representatives not voting for the Senate bill on school choice would cause these voting representatives to not be re-elected. My memory might serve me poorly, but in the dozen or more mailers I received from Huberty during his last election, not a single one stated anything about protecting members from a “tough vote.” This also begs the question, why is it a tough vote? School choice was approved by 87 percent of Harris County voters as a ballot proposition on the 2012 Republican primary ballot. Huberty was asked during the interview, if he was given studies from other states who adopted school choice that indicated improved outcomes with no additional expense, would this change his opposition? Improved outcomes, no additional expenditures – this would be a huge win for the state! Huberty was simply not open to any additional information on school choice; seems like a contradiction as he is the education chair ... shouldn’t he at least act like he was open to change? Contact Huberty’s office at 512-463-0520 and request that he allow a vote and open debate on the Senate school choice bill for the benefit of his constituents and for the great state of Texas.

Fred Flickinger
Kingwood

 

WHAT'S NEEDED

Dear Editor:
We are getting too close-to-the-edge in northeast Houston. The traffic is ridiculous; buildings/houses/new schools are going up at unprecedented rates. We need to retreat somewhat to basics. For starters … use those turn signals. Stop the speeding, the texting, checking emails, and talking on your cell phone while driving. The traffic is so bad and rushed that when you even pause to put the phone away, someone behind you starts honking to “keep it moving.” And since when do the handicapped drivers not realize that those tags hanging from their rear-view mirror are to be removed when driving?   Schoolchildren, even adults, need to walk on the side of our streets facing traffic, not siding with that traffic. Too much earbud usage will not allow you to hear that vehicle coming up on you from behind. Speed limits have a purpose. Lower miles per hour mean less serious injuries or even deaths if a collision should occur. And for those people driving their faster-than-necessary, blaring-muffler trucks and cars? Hey … have some respect for our neighborhoods. Save the noise for the critters in West Texas where you can legally drive 80 mph with generally no consequences. I am completely fed up with off-the-chart speeding traffic on W. Lake Houston Pkwy. Where are the officers who need to enforce traffic speed limits …especially in front of Pine Forest Elementary School? Prohibited cell phone usage and speeding in that convex stretch of W. Lake Houston Pkwy. seems completely disregarded. Too much television advertising and internet usage encourages us to accept these things. Whatever happened to church on Sunday, Boy Scouts mowing the yard and doing a Good Turn Daily, and hand-cranking an ice-cream freezer? America, where are we going? And so violently fast? When is the last time you showed your family a beautiful sunrise or sunset? Too busy in line at Whataburger or Sonic? (I thought so!) Think about it.

John W. Heimburger, Lt. Col., USAF (Ret.)
Honorary Marine – Khe Sanh – 1967
Atascocita

 

SMART PHONE SATIRE

Dear Editor:
I am proposing a solution to what everyone sees as a major problem. I cannot help but observe people in public not connecting with each other because they are on their phones, sometimes even texting the person sitting next to them. I am absolutely confident that my solution is the answer to this problem. I am so confident in this that it would be ridiculous for anyone to try to come up with a better solution or even question my proposal. What I propose is that instead of people wasting their time holding phones in their hands, we could all just get eye implants that shows a phone screen all day every day. People would never have to put their phones down or even be seen holding them in public, because everyone would always see them in their heads. There are more positive things to this solution than are possible to list. Some of these are that people would never have to carry a phone with them and it would free up pocket space. People would also benefit from never having to buy a new phone and would only need to make one expense to get the implant, so it would save everyone a lot of money over time. There would never be a need for a person to pull a phone out in public; no one would ever know when you are on your phone. This would allow people to not be rude or disconnected while out in public. As you can clearly see, my solution to this problem has so many benefits that it would be unfathomable for anyone to think that they have a better solution. It would be an absolute atrocity if our society could just put the phones down and learn to talk and have a conversation with one another to develop our social skills by communicating face to face as human beings. I can only imagine living in a world where we all could communicate and make connections with each other. Unfortunately, I do not believe this will ever happen. Communicating face to face seems to be unheard of. I could never imagine anyone taking the time out of their busy day to just talk and use the communication skills that are essential to humanity. As you can see, my solution is obviously the correct one. It has more benefits than any other solutions; it is the only solution that will completely solve this problem. Therefore, I see it as one no one could possibly question.

Evan Towles
Kingwood

 

ONWARD TO THE FUTURE

Dear Editor:
The Obama Administration and the DNC misled the public completely about their health care plan concerning the cost, savings and coverage, but the most egregious of all is the claim about the number of people that received health care under this plan. This fabrication has been repeated by the mainstream media for so long that it is now believed by the masses to the point they are worried about losing their coverage if it is repealed. Recent studies have shown that just over 14 million had gained insurance under Obamacare by the end of 2015 and of those 14 million, 11.8 million had been placed on Medicaid and 2.2 million received private coverage. These numbers do not take into account that many companies that previously provided employee insurance stopped providing this coverage so many didn't gain insurance, they just changed providers. The Obamacare plan did allow 2.3 million people from 19 to 26 to be covered under their parents’ plan, but this greatly reduced the number needed to enroll to provide the funds in the plan to cover those that couldn't afford to pay for their coverage. Smart? Obamacare had a good point that needed to be addressed, such as existing conditions, but make no mistake; the underlying goal of Obamacare was to put everyone on Medicaid (government insurance coverage). Remember, a huge amount was taken out of SSI to fund the startup of Obamacare that will shorten the life of SSI for the seniors that are depending on it. The rising cost of Obamacare premiums plus the personal deductibles that are now in effect (when Obama is no longer in office) are to a point that many people needing insurance can't afford it and even if they can, the deductibles are so high they can't afford to get the care they need. We all know our health care program is broken, has to be replaced, and be made affordable. Under our divided Congress, this is going to be an uphill battle, but we need to realize it will take several steps to get the plan we need with the restraints we are currently under. Our elected officials need to put the people's needs ahead of their personal and party agendas and build a health care plan that will be effective and really affordable!

Sid B. Nice
Humble