Act Now to Save Public Education in Harris County! – by Diane Trautman & Erica S Lee

The following article is authored by Dr. Diane Trautman and Erica S. Lee, Trustees on the Harris County Department of  Education. It seems like some of our Republicans are at it again in our State Congress, the systematic destruction of our Texas Educational system. One can only wonder if this is by design. Do all that is necessary to ensure that the masses are not “as educated” and with that maintain a class system that depends on systemic ignorance.

The above are my words and is not a part of anything I have heard from the two brilliant authors of the piece below. Please read the article below and take immediate action. Call your state congressman or senator. Better yet,  send him a letter, fax, email, and visit her/his office.

Act Now to Save Public Education in Harris County!

Authored By
Dr. Diane Trautman, HCDE Trustee, At Large
Erica S. Lee, HCDE Trustee, Pct. One 

DianeTrautmanEricaSLeeSince we are not authorized to speak on behalf of the board, my colleague Erica Lee and I present to you the following article speaking not as board members but as individuals who are concerned about the future of public education in Harris County.  The Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) has been around for over 100 years helping our schools, our students, our teachers, and our communities provide quality educational experiences to young and old.  Those quality educational experiences like Head Start, Early Childhood Intervention, After School Programs, Adult Education, Special Education Schools, and Therapy  Services  are now being threatened by a bill that was filed on February 4, 2013, by Republican Texas State Representative Debbie Riddle (HB 945).

House Bill 945 proposes to abolish “each county board of education, board of county school trustees, and office of county school superintendent in a county with a population of 3.3 million or more”.  There are currently two county boards of education in Texas, Dallas and Harris counties, our two largest counties with populations who most depend on the federal programs provided by the respective departments.

Even more alarming, the bill calls for all assets, liabilities, and contracts of a county school board to be transferred to the commissioners court of the county to be held in trust and to be disposed of as they see fit. 

The HCDE provides services to our 26 area school districts at prices most schools could not find elsewhere. I know this first hand as a middle school principal when I purchased all office supplies for our school through the HCDE buying cooperative. Imagine for a moment what our schools would be like without these cost saving services. Schools would begin paying more for these services and that additional cost would then be passed on to the taxpayer in the form of higher school taxes.

So this bill affects not only our students, our teachers, and our schools, but also Harris County homeowners and taxpayers. As a Department, we levy a tax that costs taxpayers $10-$12 per year and we are able to multiply those tax dollars by 5 through our efficient use of funds and grant management. This is not a matter of government waste.

In addition to the federal programs HCDE offers, they also provide countywide competitions for all students in the arts and sciences with the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and the Eco-bot Challenge. These programs are made possible by many local and national business partnerships that support the HCDE and their endeavor to interest more students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers as well as the arts.

We cannot let politics interfere with our delivery of quality educational services. Time is short. What can you do to help?

Contact your state representative or state senator immediately and tell them you do not support abolishing the HCDE and that you want to see the department continue to offer critical educational services to our schools and communities. Or drop by the next HCDE board meeting on February 26 at 1pm to let the Board and HCDE employees know how much you appreciate the services they provide.

Read HB 945.

Comment Here at the Harris Country Democratic Party website.

Act Now to Save Public Education in Harris County! – by Diane Trautman

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