Courtesy of the Quorum Report comes the news that a new Gallup Poll claims that for people identifying themselves as Republican (or Lean Republican) or Democrat (or Lean Democrat), Democrats now outnumber Republicans in Texas by 43.4% to 41%. I find these results surprising for Texas as a whole, although recent elections in Dallas and Houston seem to bear out these findings, at least in Judicial elections. Click on this link for more information about the poll.
Today's Bill of the Day is House Bill 816 filed on January 27, 2009, by Representative Jessica Farrar (D-Houston) who represents a portion of Spring Branch. House Bill 816 would end the practice of allowing more than one convicted sex offender from living in the same apartment complex. Specifically, the Bill provides that
". . . a judge granting community supervision to a defendant required to
register as a sex offender under Chapter 62 shall prohibit the
defendant, without the express, written permission of the community
supervision and corrections department officer supervising the
defendant, from residing in any dwelling, manufactured home community,
apartment complex, or other lodging in which the defendant knows that
another person required to register as a sex offender under Chapter 62
The full text of the Bill appears below after the jump.
Our Board held its regular monthly meeting tonight. Here's a recap of the issues discussed and actions taken on tonight's Agenda.
We had four special
presentations this evening. Our first special presentation was
recognition of Lupe Garcia, the administrative assistant at Ridgecrest Elementary, as our January 2009 Employee of the Month.
second special presentation recognized John Grubbs, who has volunteered for the past 8 years in the Northbrook High School Collegiate Challenge Program, as our January 2009 Volunteer of the Month.
Each year the Board holds a Joint Public Hearing with the District Improvement Team to discuss the Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) report. Tonight we held that hearing to consider the 2008 AEIS results which you can review by clicking here.
We then had our Board member Liaison reports (each Board member serves in a liaison capacity). Here is the material I provided in my Technology liaison report,
and my legislative update, and here is the information Wayne Schaper, Sr., presented in his
Facilities liaison report concerning the status of the various projects
related to the 2007 bond.
Our next Agenda item was the beginning of what will be a very challenging discussion - the discussion of next year's (FY 2010) Budget. Because the current school finance system provides no additional
revenue for inflationary cost increases, we are looking at very
difficult decisions in the coming years. (For more on the problems
with the current school finance system, see these prior posts).
One of the issues I have worked on has been to reduce the amount of homework that Spring Branch students have that is either not relevant or simply busy work. I have also worked to reduce homework for our younger students based on the overwhelming evidence and research on the issue. You can see my prior posts on homework here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
The Today Show/MSNBC have posted a video and article on this subject that is a call to action to "Join the Less-Homework Revolution." The video appears below, and the article is available after the jump.
iTunesU, which I have featured previously in this blog post, , has a series of podcasts on leadership from a number of excellent sources shown below.
From the email I received from iTunesU:
"Leadership is not something that you learn once and for all. It is an ever-evolving pattern of skills, talents, and ideas that grow and change as you do." — Sheila Murray Bethel. With this collection of content, you will discover the diverse types of leadership, skills, and talents required to succeed. Take the lead from The Center for Creative Leadership's courses in Crisis Leadership and Emotional Intelligence and learn business leadership from American Public Media's Leadership from the Corner Office or Pennsylvania State University's Smeal Executive Insights Series.
You will need iTunes (free download here). Once you have downloaded iTunes, click on each of the images below to access the podcasts available from each source.
It’s Your Paycheck! is designed for use in high school personal finance classes. The curriculum
contains three sections—“Know Your Dough,” “KaChing!” and “All About Credit.” The lessons
in each of these sections employ various teaching strategies to engage students so that they have
opportunities to apply the concepts being taught. Each lesson includes black-line masters of the
handouts and visuals needed to teach the lesson.
You can download the complete curriculum
(.pdf) or in individual lessons. The curriculum (which is all free) includes the following: Unit A: Know Your Dough
Lesson 1: Invest in Yourself (PDF, 62 KB)
Students are divided into groups to produce name tents. Each of four groups in the classroom
produce name tents in a different way to highlight different levels of human capital. The students
identify ways in which people invest in human capital and the link between investment in human
capital and earning income.
Lesson 2: “W” Is for Wages, W4 and W2
(PDF, 443 KB)
Students compute the gross pay for a fictional John Dough given his hourly wage and the number
of hours worked. They compare gross pay to net pay. They learn what FICA and federal income
taxes are. They learn how to complete a W-4 form and what a W-2 form is.
I recently finished Malcolm Gladwell's newest book, Outliers, the Story of Success. The book describes what makes people successful, and includes observations about the importance of age in the success equation. Outliers has caused me to question whether schools get different results not only due to differences in students, but also in differences in the age of students in the same grade, particularly in the lower grades. This has tremendous implications not only for sports, as described in Outliers, but also for things like the GT selection process and standardized testing.
Malcolm Gladwell is going to be in Houston next week, and, as a preview, you can watch this video of his talk at the 92nd Street Y in New York on January 6, 2009.