Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas

September 11, 2006

Whose side is he on?

Star Community Newspapers:

Outdoor education in the form of a week long camp is no longer a part of the curriculum for fifth graders in the Lewisville school district.The board voted Wednesday night to discontinue fifth grade overnight camp and to look at other options for outdoor education utilizing the LISD Outdoor Learning Academy or other opportunities.

Obviously outdoor education is not tested on the TAKS.

Star Community Newspapers:

Trustees had three major concerns about the outdoor camping experience; TAKS requirements, classroom time, safety issues, volunteer-sponsor procurement and financial considerations.

And it could be taking time away from preparing for the TAKS.

Star Community Newspapers:

“I don’t think any of us are opposed to outdoor education per se, but when you look at the risk factors that overnight camp brings to it, I think that’s where all our concerns are; having to dispense medicine throughout the day and into the night the nurse thing the kids spending the night with other adults we don’t know,” Tom Ferguson, board member, said at Wednesday night’s meeting.

Don’t they have to do a lot of this during the day as well?
Star Community Newspapers:

Letters from across the Dallas/Fort Worth area poured into school principals, said Ferguson; all volunteering to safeguard students at the camp. Ferguson expressed his disgust that guardians and parents would feel comfortable leaving their children with adults no one knows. He said that performing background checks is not enough.

The above paragraph doesn’t seem to make sense unless you read the article in the Dallas Morning News.

Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Education:

Trustees said those are the students most at risk. Several trustees said they were “scared” by the number of nonparents volunteering to chaperon camp for the low-income schools that struggled to attract enough parents. They said such people bring additional risk.

The district has not reported a major incident since the program started in the 1970s, but trustees said they were concerned by a growing number of misbehaving chaperons. Schools have reported that some parents left the kids alone and went off with other adults to smoke, drink and act inappropriately.

So Ferguson is criticizing these low-income parents for believing that the school would choose appropriate chaperons for their children. I guess I can’t blame him, these are the same parents that trust the schools to educate their children and Ferguson is probably in a position to know what kind of job the schools have accomplished in the that area as well. I just can’t help but feel that the powers that be in this situation are actually thinking “if they weren’t so damn poor, they wouldn’t need the camps and we wouldn’t be in this situation to begin with.”

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