Mike Kueber's Blog

November 16, 2012

The city of San Antonio partners again with the ISDs

Filed under: Education,Issues,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 2:33 am
Tags: , , ,

The voters of San Antonio recently approved the City Council’s initiative to supplement the existing pre-K programs (state and federal).  One of my several objections to the initiative – called Pre-K 4 SA – was that, because the city’s independent school districts (we have 16 ISDs) are responsible for managing pre-K schooling, it is unwise for the city to interject its non-expert thinking (and $32 million a year) into this issue.  Although our mayor and council may have good intentions, the accountability for San Antonio’s failing schools is already blurred by too many ISDs, and Pre-K 4 SA creates another one.    

But the city of San Antonio hasn’t limited its education initiatives to pre-K.  According to an article in today’s Express-News, the city has partnered with four ISDs to increase the college readiness of Latino high school graduates.   This partnership, in addition to raising the issue of city/ISD coordination, presents a troubling issue of discrimination – i.e., why should an ISD or the city focus on improving the college readiness of Latinos, as opposed to whites, African-Americans, or Asians?  Based on this concern, I submitted the following on-line comment to the paper:

  • The thrust of this program appears to be directed toward improving the graduation rates of all ethnic groups, but there are sporadic references to a focus on Latinos only. Which is it? This seems to be a perfect example of when racial discrimination is unnecessary and inappropriate.

With the city’s involvement in preparing kids to enter elementary school and to enter college, one might wonder why the city doesn’t simply take control of the ISDs, like the mayor of NYC who hires and fires the citywide Superintendent of Schools.  The answer, I suspect, is that Texas law protects the independence of the ISDs. 

But if the schools continue to fail in educating our kids, we will continue to see other governmental entities giving the ISDs their two cents (or, in the case of San Antonio’s Pre-K 4 SA – $32 million a year; or in the case of the Fed’s Race to the Top – $4.35 billion).    

Although the Feds and the city often claim to be hamstrung financially from adequately doing their jobs, they somehow find vast sums of money to spend (invest) on things that aren’t their job.

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