How to Reduce Class Sizes without Increasing Cost

Make every administrator teach at least one course every day.

One of the most common complaints that I hear from parents and teachers alike is about class sizes. Parents worry that their children aren’t getting enough of their teacher’s attention. Teachers worry that they don’t have time to challenge the brightest kids or give extra attention to those who are struggling.

Complicating matters for teachers: the administrative paperwork burden that seems to grow yearly – to measure and document their student’s success, and to comply with procedures.

The District’s “About” website page, says the District has an average student teacher ratio of 15.8 to 1. That number is calculated (I think) by dividing the total number of students by the total number of employees with education degrees. But many of those with teaching degrees are in administration. Elsewhere on the website, the District says it hopes to maintain a 22-24:1 ratio. But parents and teachers often report far larger classes, exceeding 30 students.

So what accounts for this difference? Some of it, of course, is caused by local overcrowding, i.e., greater than expected enrollment. But the District also has  administrators who don’t actually teach. So here’s a simple idea to reduce class sizes without increasing costs. Make every administrator teach at least one course every day.

Other benefits

That should reduce class sizes and help administrators understand what teachers face every day in terms of administrative paperwork. I’ll bet any needless paperwork disappears in a hurry. I’ll bet physical conditions in schools improve rapidly. I’ll bet learning improves quickly. And I’ll bet employee morale  improves markedly.

A common approach elsewhere

This isn’t such a radical notion. I’ve been told by some teachers, that it’s actually mandatory in some other states. In business, it’s also quite commonplace.

Every business owner knows what it’s like to roll up his or her sleeves and help employees. They do it regularly to  learn how they can streamline processes, increase their bottom lines, improve quality, boost morale, and learn about the problems their employees face.

After 45 years in business, with half of those years running my own company, I’ve learned a few things about efficiency and quality. If elected, I will bring some business acumen to the school district that it needs. To my knowledge, not one person on the Board has started his or her own business from scratch. Nor does the District employ a business manager despite spending $350 million of your tax dollars every year. So please vote for Bob Rehak in Position One. Your last chance to vote is May 6 from 7am to 7pm!

 

Pro-Voucher Pals Fuel More Distrust of Supposedly Anti-Voucher Board

For eight days at the early voting polls in Kingwood, TEA Party members hung out with the incumbents in their tents and distributed literature that attacked challengers with lies that would make Pinocchio blush. Before you read any further, it’s important to note that the TEA Party fervently supports vouchers, and the incumbents claim they are against them.

Let’s look at some of the other contradictions that the TEA Party vomited. They say “Democrats attempt Humble ISD Takeover.”  I have been a Republican for 50 years.

They say they are for “financial transparency” but fail to include the legally required disclosure line that explains who paid for their fliers.

They say that the conservative and effective current board has done a strong job protecting our children. But 23%  of the seventh graders in the Humble ISD can’t read at grade level.

They say that challengers are pushing “a  destructive liberal agenda.” My agenda consists of 1) improving reading programs, especially in early childhood, 2) improving financial transparency, and 3) improving communication between the board and the community.

They urge you to re-elect my opponent for “our children’s sake.” My opponent has been a board member for seven years and almost one fourth of seventh graders in the district can’t read at grade level.

As if to underscore that point, the TEA Party forgot to proofread their own flier. They list early voting instructions for “2015,” not 2017.

They also say they are for fiscal responsibility. However, they forfeited their corporate existence in 2015 due to a tax issue, according to the Secretary of State.

See the letter from the state about the Kingwood TEA Party Tax Forfeiture.

Early in the week, the leader of the TEA Party took pictures at the polls. He was photographing the children of candidates and supporters. When I told told him that he did not have the right to take photos of others without their consent, he accused me online of threatening to sue him.

He convinced at least one of his followers that another challenger (not me) was a “baby killer.” I know this because a TEA Party supporter came to my booth this morning looking for the TEA party flier with the “baby killer” on the back.  The candidate in question is a young mother who briefly worked for Planned Parenthood years ago. She has killed no babies.

The TEA Party labelled her “a proud and prominent fund raiser.” She worked in public affairs. Her primary job was escorting clients through angry mobs of protestors. 

Frankly, I’m surprised that the incumbents pal around with the TEA Party. It contradicts their professed stance on vouchers. That fuels the distrust that has plagued this board ever since it anointed a pro-voucher superintendent. Endorsement-wise, it’s kind of like shooting yourself in the foot, or bringing Cujo home for the holidays.

The Transparent Stone Wall

At the last Board meeting I asked a series of simple informational questions about several budget items that raised issues related to financial transparency. This ad, which will appear in the Tribune starting this week, summarizes what happened. I call it the Transparent Stone Wall.

If my account seems incredulous to you, listen to my questions for yourself at http://www.boarddocs.com/tx/hisd/Board.nsf/Public#. My comments start about 44 minutes and 28 seconds into the meeting. The board’s responses start at 1 hour, 11 minutes and 50 seconds into the meeting. Would you be satisfied with the answers provided if this Board was spending $350,000,000 of your money each year?

Download a pdf of Stone Wall here.

The Power of An Angry Mom

It started when the school board hired a controversial new superintendent. She advocated using public funds for private schools via vouchers.

One mother worried about how that might affect her special-ed child. Others worried about loss of diversity; extracurricular cutbacks; elimination of dual language programs and more.

So they got involved, went to board meetings, asked questions, and did their research. They didn’t like what they saw. Read more about how the Humble ISD Parents movement grew to more than 4000 people and how political parties that support vouchers are now fighting against them with big money.

You can also download a PDF of Angry Mom to email to your friends.

Parents Want Information, Not Lies and Intimidation

Today, there are higher levels of anger, frustration and suspicion than I have ever seen regarding our school board. People tell me they are being ignored, talked down to, and stonewalled. They want information they can trust.

But after early voting started, one young mother – who is also a candidate – got intimidation instead. It just fed the suspicion and rumors about whether the current board is genuine in its desire to keep public tax dollars in public schools. Read more in my next ad.

Click here for a PDF of Information_Not_Intimidation.

Good reading skills fuel upward mobility

Good reading skills determine academic success and upward mobility. Let’s start the journey at the ballot box.

Did you know that currently almost one in four students in the Humble ISD seventh grade cannot read at grade level according to the Texas Education Agency? My opponent likes to say that that’s better than the regional and state averages. But I find no comfort or pride in that dismal statistic. Solutions to serious problems start with acknowledging them, not blowing sunshine at people. Learn more about the value of early childhood intervention in reading. Then vote for someone who will fight for it.

Click here for a PDF about the value of early childhood intervention in Reading.

Boardroom Intrigue at the Humble ISD

When it comes to drama, intrigue, mystery and sheer entertainment, Days of Our Lives and General Hospital have nothing over the Humble ISD boardroom. Learn how Humble is becoming the new Hollywood.

Please send Boardroom Intrigue to every voter you know in the Humble ISD. Have them forward it to all their friends. This stuff must stop. Only you can stop it. By VOTING!

 

What example do you want for your children?

Most of the candidates – but not my opponent – attend meetings from all parts of the political spectrum because: a) this is supposed to be a non-partisan election, and b) if elected, they need to understand the concerns of ALL the parents they will represent.

I have attended Republican, Democratic and TEA party functions. I have attended chamber, church, teacher, retired-teacher, community, board, and charity events. I’ve also communicated with thousands of people at festivals, town halls, coffee shops, in homes and online. As a result, I have a pretty good feel for people’s concerns.

Conflicts between Public and Private Stances?

I’ve also gotten a good feeling for which group’s agendas conflict with my opponent’s public stance on vouchers. He says he’s against them. Here’s where it gets interesting. At a meeting with the TEA Party, their leaders asked me if I supported vouchers. I replied that I favored keeping public money in public schools, because I’ve seen how vouchers can destroy a public school system. At that point, one of the TEA Party leaders started shouting at me and pounding the table…for ten minutes. Yep. My opponent got their endorsement. And suddenly we’re starting to see the effects of dark money showing up in our little school board election; mailers costing tens of thousands of dollars for printing and postage have started arriving from the TEA Party and another third-party source.

Playing Unfair?

When I tried to buy booth space at a public festival in Humble, I was told by organizers that they cut off registration for political candidates – after my opponent registered. They later re-opened registration to other candidates without telling me.

In the meantime, Democrats sold half their space to the Humble ISD Parents group. Both groups welcomed me to share their shade – even though I am a Republican. I accepted. Throughout the day, my opponent’s supporters were gleefully taking pictures of me at angles that made it appear as though I was only in front of the Democratic portion of the booth.

Stonewalling

At a public school board meeting, when I asked for information about a multi-million bid that sounded quite high, neither my opponent nor any of his fellow incumbents answered my questions. Instead, they voted unanimously to approve the bid.

Blowing Sunshine at People

When I cite Texas Education Agency reports showing that almost one in four (23%) of the seventh graders in the Humble ISD can’t read at grade level, my opponent proudly brags about how we beat the state and regional averages, which are even more abysmal. Then he basks in the fading glory of a two-year-old award from a grocery store.

What Example Do You Want for Your Kids?

I could go on and on, but you get the point. It’s time to make a choice. Early voting starts Monday.

  • Do you want someone who works across party lines or someone who toes the party line?
  • Do you want to elect someone who wants to solve problems or someone who pretends they don’t exist?
  • Do you want someone who listens to you or listens to money?

I’m proud to have the no-strings-attached endorsement of the founders of the Humble ISD Parents Group; they lobby only for the good of our children. My campaign is entirely self-funded, so I am beholden to no one except voters. I’m fighting to improve financial transparency, and communication between the school board and the community. Those will be the keys to solving the problems ahead.

Learners are earners

What I hope to achieve

I am campaigning on the need to improve reading, financial transparency and communication between the school board and community. These topics seem to be quite controversial for the incumbent. Fortunately, almost all teachers and parents – Democrats and Republicans alike – agree on the need for these things!

My hope is that greater financial transparency will help the community identify money in the budget that could produce greater returns when focused on early childhood intervention programs for reading. Sadly, almost a quarter (23%) of all students in the Humble ISD seventh grade can’t read at grade level. Fixing this problem must be our highest priority. Yet my opponent has yet to acknowledge it. Perhaps that’s because he’s been on the board almost seven years.

Learners are earners

Kids learn to read from grades K-3. After that, they read to learn. Reading is the key to acquisition of knowledge in ALL other subjects. If students don’t learn to read well, they continually fall behind. They don’t learn to think critically or creatively. And that’s a tremendous waste of human capital. Learners are earners. Learners grow up to be productive members of the community and contributors to society.

A businessman who cares

Who am I? I am a retired businessman, educator, author, community activist, husband and father who has lived in the Humble ISD since 1985.  Now I am volunteering for service on the school board. I can’t think of a better way to give back to the community I love so much. Early voting starts Monday, April 24 at 8 a.m. Please vote for Bob Rehak in Position One. I need your vote. So do the children of the Humble ISD.

Learn how to help where help is needed

Many parents have been asking for ways to help schools that need help. Not all are blessed with enough volunteers. Here’s a way to get involved. This event is for any living and breathing soul in Humble ISD who would like to learn how to help mentor and/or provide food assistance to students in the Humble ISD. All you need is a willing heart and time to help students.

There will be four workshops on Literacy, Hunger, Mentoring Tips, and the Great 8 skills. This is for anyone who wants to make a difference or who currently volunteers at one of our schools.

Date: Tuesday, April 25
Time: Free breakfast starts at 8:30
Workshops: Run from 9 to 11a.m.
Place: The Overlook in Atascocita
Register at: http://lovinghouston.net/event/humbleisdpartners2

Please come and see what Loving Houston is all about and how the group is trying to coordinate partnerships. Attendees will also learn how Humble ISD Community Development is trying to find a church for every school.

If nothing else ….. it promises to be a great networking event.

The workshop will also highlight the wonderful handmade gifts that the students of MOSAIC make and sell to the community. So bring some small change. They sell notebooks decorated with fabric; wind chimes made from glass bottles, candles, and so many other items.

After you attend the event, consider voting early. See http://rehakforschoolboard.com/vote-by-mail-and-early-voting-instructions/. Please consider voting for me, Bob Rehak, in Position 1. I am fighting for early childhood intervention to help improve reading scores throughout the District. I am also fighting to improve financial transparency and communication between the board and the community. Thank you for considering me.