Deep Cuts to Public Education Funding Reported by Washington Post

Trump’s first full education budget: Deep cuts to public school programs in pursuit of school choice.
Documents obtained by The Washington Post show how the president wants to reshape K-12 education and college financial aid.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/trumps-first-full-education-budget-deep-cuts-to-public-school-programs-in-pursuit-of-school-choice/2017/05/17/2a25a2cc-3a41-11e7-8854-21f359183e8c_story.html

Moving Forward!

I would like to congratulate the winners in this campaign. It was a bitter, hard-fought contest, but it’s over now. Healing must begin for the sake of the Humble ISD. Nothing is more important for the vitality of a community than the health of its schools. Therefore, we must now put our differences aside and work together for the sake of everyone: parents, students, teachers and homeowners.

When we have different ideas about how to do that, I sincerely hope we can talk openly with each other and debate ideas respectfully. All of us are smarter than any one of us. We must listen to each other and learn from each other’s points of view. And I intend to do just that.

I campaigned on three things: the need to improve a) reading, b) financial transparency, and c) communication with the community. I hope the Board agrees with these things, because I intend to keep fighting for them. If the board will work with me, I will work with the board.

Until the next election, I intend to support the parents, teachers and students of the district by advocating for improvements we need to help our children succeed. In the meantime, I pledge to remain vigilant, remain engaged and remain positive.

Read more in my next ad, Moving Forward.

 

Running Again

The outcome on May 6 was not what we hoped it would be, owever, I intend to remain engaged and will be running again. I want to thank everyone who contacted me in the days following the election. Your generous words of support encouraged me. It made me realize that thousands of people need someone to help articulate their concerns.

High Turnout

Even though incumbents defeated all challengers, we had a record turnout. The number of votes received by each of the challengers exceeded the winners’ totals in the previous election.

Issues Still There

People listened and got involved. Parents demand to know how we can improve reading scores in the District. People question we don’t have more financial transparency and fully comply with the recommendations of State Comptroller for Contracts and Procurement. Parents still want better communication between the board and community.

Staying Involved

People have asked me to stay involved and help them voice their concerns. So today I am announcing my intention to run for the next available board seat. That will be Heath Rushing’s if the newly elected Board decides to have a special election. If not, the next election will be in a couple years.

Fighting for Better Results

In the meantime, I will watching the current board closely to see if it improves the District’s performance in reading, transparency, communication and the overall ratings. Check in periodically for news. And once again, thank you for all your support. We must remain vigilant, remain engaged and remain positive, fighting for students and their parents.

Proud to be Slimed by Breitbart

Not everyone gets to be slimed by Breitbart. The incumbents and the powerful interests they serve must feel they’re losing this election because  they’re calling in the White House mouthpieces.

A Parody of the Ghostbusters

There’s definitely something strange in the neighborhood. I feel this election has turned into a sequel of Ghostbusters and I’m playing a leading role.

I heard from a friend today. Her daughter called her from London to say that I was making headlines halfway around the world – while I was passing out campaign fliers in Kingwood. Breitbart, a bastion of paranormal political news, had slimed me in a story about the “non-partisan” Humble ISD school board election. And it was going global! Go figure.

Reading: The leftist threat to Trump’s Agenda?

Even though I’ve been a Republican for 50 years, this far-far-right news organization was painting me as a “leftist” out to “thwart Donald Trump’s agenda.”

My platform consists of: 1) teaching students how to read better, especially in the early grades, 2) increasing financial transparency, and 3) improving communication between the board and the community. I seriously had no idea Trump was against those things (except for perhaps the transparency part).

Teaching kids to read, improving financial transparency, and improving communication must be pretty radical notions for Breitbart if they consider them leftist threats. But seriously?

The Threat of Bi-Partisanship

Perhaps they thought ideas that appeal to both sides of the aisle represent a leftist threat; they did spend considerable time detailing the support I received from Democrats. I hear bi-partisanship is now passé in the world of the far-far right.

Perhaps the sliming had to do with my stance on keeping public tax dollars in public schools. But my opponent says he is against vouchers, too. So that can’t be it. Breitbart didn’t call him a leftist.

But there is one other possibility? My opponent could just be pretending to be anti-voucher. After all, that explains why he voted to hire a pro-voucher superintendent, who is still listed as a national spokeswoman for the pro-voucher movement. It explains why he voted against highly qualified, far less controversial candidates for the job. And it explains why the pro-voucher Breitbart News slimed me.

The Real Story: Why Breitbart is Covering a Local Election

One thing is for sure. This election has taken on national significance. That’s the real story. Why are powerful, political elites from Washington and Austin trying so hard to influence this election? Why was the TEA Party attempting to intimidate candidates and voters by photographing their children at early voting? Why are national organizations mailing fliers and making robocalls against another challenger who is the mother of a young child?

Powerful Republicans in Washington and Austin must feel threatened by the 4300+ members of the Humble ISD Parents group. This group is recommending several challengers for the school board who all feel that public money should stay in public schools. If the Machine can’t win a fight against a few angry parents in Humble, Texas, they can’t win. These parents are in their way. That’s why they are pulling out all the stops to squash them like bugs.

Why Vote for Rehak?

When you go to the polls today, vote for people who put parents, teachers and students ahead of profit and ideology. Vote for people who will stand up to bullies.

Vote for Bob Rehak. Unlike my opponent, I have not accepted a penny in donations and owe no one favors. I will represent you, not the Machine.

Protesting without Voting is like…

Can you figure out a way to improve voter turnout in school board elections?

It’s a curiosity of modern life. People will protest by the millions, but vote by the thousands. What’s with that? If people hate something enough to march in the streets, why don’t they take the time to actually do something about it at the ballot box?

Let’s see how well you can motivate people. Please complete this sentence with an analogy. “Protesting without voting is like…”

Here are three examples to prime the pump.

  1. Protesting without voting is like cooking without eating.
  2. Protesting without voting is like a car without wheels.
  3. Protesting without voting is like a book without an ending.

OK. You get the idea. Let’s make this go viral. Send it to all your friends, especially the ones on couches.

All entries are due by noon on Friday this week. Come one, come all.

There are only two rules: have fun and keep it clean.

The winner will have his or her idea turned into a professionally designed poster for posterity and the satisfaction of knowing that she/he actually may have helped change the world for the better.

I’m also posting this on Facebook. The winner will be the response with the most likes.

 

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.