CISD teacher’s comment represents much of what is wrong with public education

Conroe, August 15 – Conroe Independent School District’s $676 million bond package requires a gigantic 4.5 cent tax rate increase, which the school board will not let the voters decide. Rather, the Board of Trustees will impose the bond tax increase by fiat through a vote in advance in the budget, which CISD will adopt on Tuesday, August 20.

The tax rate increase for the $676 million bond is 4.5 cents. In comparison, the tax rate increase for the $807 million bond, which voters already rejected on May 4, was 3 cents.

The proposed bond package includes almost all of the garbage projects which were in the first $807 million bond package:

  • Giant wooden dance floors for two high schools with 4,500 mirrors for each dance floor;
  • An air soft gun range, which will cost taxpayers approximately $450,000;
  • Robot play fields;
  • Massive sinks for fine arts classes;
  • $23 million of Astro-Turf;
  • Curtains for elementary school stages; and much more.

CISD has still never obtained professional cost estimates for any of the entire bond package. All of the cost numbers totaling $676 million were pulled from thin air within CISD.

What citizens also should find upsetting is collectivist mindset teachers believe they should impose on children going through schools. Reading, writing, and ciphering are no longer the purpose of education. Rather, the focus is on turning students into “team-players.”

An interesting example is Leigh Harrison, a 5th grade art teacher at Vogel Intermediate School in Spring. On August 11, 2019, Harrison made the following comments on social media.

Leigh Harrison’s comment social media on Sunday, August 11, 2019.

CISD graduates approximately 11% of its students without their being able to read. They’re illiterate. Nevertheless, Harrison wants children to focus on “fine arts [which] supports problem solving and critical thinking skills.” Sadly, CISD has moved on from ensuring students actually know how to read, write, and perform mathematical computations. Rather, the focus of the school district is fun.

Harrison commented, “Mirrors and curtains may not be a big deal to you but there are tons of students in every school that would quit if it weren’t for fine arts and athletics, which pushes them to be creative innovative and a team-player.” Goodness. Harrison teaches the 5th grade. CISD teachers believe that 5th grade students are at risk of quitting, if there are not fine arts and athletics programs. Even in higher grades, it would seem CISD’s focus should remain on core education rather than making school a zone of entertainment.

Dance floor mirrors are really an educational priority for Conroe ISD? Curtains for elementary schools have become a core academic focus? Clearly, the school district has lost it academic way.

What is so disturbing about “CTE programs…[which are] essential for making sure we provide career readiness to students that may not go to college” is that placing a 7th grade child on a vocational track is (1) social engineering, because clearly a child that age cannot and should not make a career decision for himself or herself, and (2) robbing the child of the opportunity to obtain a complete education, so he or she will actually have the ability to read the instruction on welding tools, to operate a cash register and count change, or enjoy a novel.

Harrison’s comment that “South district is growing because of all the oil and gas companies building up in the area” reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the demography of CISD. The southern part of the school district is actually not growing. Schools in The Woodlands are declining in enrollment. CISD’s demographic study projects substantial declines in student population in schools in The Woodlands.

Harrison also makes an interesting comment coming from a government employee: “We are the ones you should be listening to…” What Harrison, CISD’s administration, and CISD’s Board of Trustees don’t understand is that the school district needs to begin to listen to citizens.

Citizens in CISD sent clear messages on May 4 in the first bond election, which the voters defeated almost by a landslide proportion:

  • CISD’s voters demand that CISD focus on basic education – reading, writing, and mathematics – at all grade levels;
  • CISD’s voters don’t want to pay for anything unless the school district has first obtained a real cost estimate from competitive bidders to determine the lowest market price rather than basing bond financing on numbers CISD bureaucrats have pulled out of the air;
  • CISD’s voters don’t want to spent money on dance floor, curtains, turf, air soft gun ranges, or robotics play fields;
  • CISD’s voters don’t want the 4.5 cent tax hike which the $676 million bond will necessitate.

Harrison and CISD should focus on what the community expects from them. The community doesn’t live to serve CISD.

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