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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
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October 5, 2011     Hays Free Press
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October 5, 2011
 

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+ Page 4A THEY REALLY SAID THAT? "Never let it be said that a small group of people cannot change the vJorld, in factit is the only thing that ever has." --Margaret Mead, American Cultural Anthropologist Hays Free Press October 5, 2011 _L WI decided to put parents n "time out" this week, utting off the comments section to several sports stories. Parents wilt remain in time out until they can act their age. Comments about individual minors will not be tolerated. Read- ers can comment about coaches, as they are adults and are paid to take the heat. Parents can talk about the teams in general. Local residents can talk about the school district and what they think should be changed; the superintendent can take the criti- cism - he's an adult. But accusations of Minor in Poe, session (MIP) or drugs without evi- dence (yes, we checked these rumors out), naming individual students when they are just trying to please the coach is not welcome. Students are doingwhat the adults, meaning the coaches, are telling them to do. Ifparents have a gripe about how coaches are handling a situation, they can take it up with the school board. But insinuating an offense is not cool, So. you are in "time out." We'll decide when you have learned your lesson. Okay. Just to set the record straight, despite the rumors swirling around town, Kyle has not canceled Christmas. This promise comes straight from the mayor's mouth and was seconded by the fellowwho throws the annual part~, Parks Director Kerry Urbanow- icz. Seems the rmnors took flight last month when the council decided to reduce city spending by outsoureing some of our annual festivities. Suddenly the word on the street was "because of that traitor Tom Mat- tie" or "because of that fancy-pants new library" (depending upon with whom you were talking) the city was going to be annihilating the annual lighting of the yule tree, silencing the choirs in concert and putting the brakes on Santa screaming into downtown on a fire track. Not so. Kyle Market Days, the Halloween Haunted House and the Easter Egg- strvaganza were on the council's hit list, however. But, taking a cue from our northern neighbor, the city en- couraged future sponsorship of these events by civic organizations, private individuals and booster clubs. And local folks did not disappoint. Coming up the the first Saturday in November we've got a pair of Dia de los Muertos celebrations hap- pening on either end of downtown. Beginning at 10 a.m. the Lehman High School Mariachis will be rock- ing Gregg -Clarke Park with booths and chicken dinners. At noon City Square Park comes alive with down- town's 4th annual festival with live entertainment and vendors. And. after the drama of past city- sponsored beauty pageants. I am happy to announce that our local pageant is now rifled the Miss Hays County Pageant and is being pro- duced completely independent of the city of Kyle this Saturday night at the Burdine Johnson Theater. The follow- ing week the Chamber of Commerce will host the four-day Kyle Fair and Music Festival at Thtmderhill. And. due to the long-overdue ren- ovation of the historic Train Depot, our Christmas party returns to the square on November 30. Once again we will gather 'round the pavilion to catch candy canes from Santa, sing carols with our children and cheer as our tree lights up the night sky. So. as much as things change, they stay the same. As has been the tradition for more years than most can remembei, the whole ci .ty will line Center Street next Saturda~ the 15th, and cheer on the parade of school children and beauty queens and local pole, inching their way toward the town square. And in celebration of Kyle's 131st birthday~ we will gather, as always, under the live oaks for our annual celebration and a fat piece of birthday cake. See you there. A~vrfeW years ago back in peacetime yes, way back then - I jokingly ote that we needed a war~;~: :~%~%~:':':':~~:':':~:~:~ to distract policy makers from their chronic top-down meddling in public schools. George W. Bush had just ascended to the presidency. His flight-deck mission then: to become the nation's school superintendent. After all. he'd "done" education in Texas. Congress took the bait, as had state legislatiires. To hear the rhetoric, collectively we had assigned school reform the moral equivalence of war. Egad. I was wrong to think a real war would be the stick of chewing gum that would take reformers' salivary attention off of schools, with the overkill and misery they engineered. I'd seen how flavor-of-the-week changes bombarding my sons' Texas schools did nothing for them. Indeed, test-heavy "accountability" was the worst thing ever to happen to their educations. War "over there"? No matter. The school reformers kept firing their carbines, each time advertising a new magic bullet. Meanwhile, teachers had to duck. cover, and hand out worksheets to comport with ehch new military-style edict. Magic bullet: Merit pay. Raise test scores, make more money. School districts that tried it have found it barely nudged the needle. Then they yanked any incentive when times got tight. Magic bullet: Combat pay, or the equivalent of it. Send teachers into the "worst" schools for more wad. But, then, teachers value job Stability over lucre, especially lucrative offers that collapse when a school doesn't produce the numbers desired. Magic bullet: "New management." This has proven especially specmus when handing schools over to private firms that showed up with whole ammo belts of magic bullets. But many reformers had pressed on with the notion of blowing up the system in favor of suspect charter schools and for-profit contractors. Magic bullet: Increasingly strict dress codes. They're advertised for their stain-fighting power in school discipline. We are to believe lack of discipline to be the root of all scho- lastic ills. However. when educators point out that the best way to manage a class is to have a manageable num- ber of students per class, the reform- ers change the subject. Just the other day another magic bullet was found to be of the dummy variety. A study published in the jour- nal Science asserted that the push for single-sex classrooms and campuses, promoted by No Child Left Behind, offers little educational benefit, and may do more harm than good. The bottom line, according to the study: Though schools and teachers may vary in quality and approach. segregating students by sex is no game-changer. What matters? Highly involved parents who supply really good students, of course. This brings up the most ballyhooed of all school reform magic bullets: "choice," code for school vouchers. If truly authoritative evidence supported the scholastic efficacy of vouchers, we'd hear about it every day from school reform warriors. That evidence doesn't exist, for the simple reason that wherever a student goes (or wherever the student stays in the "failing" public school), his or her parents come along. That variable doesn't vary. Private schools are better schools? No evidence supports it, certainly not when factoring in the family units with which exclusive schools get to work. Believe what you wish. Nothing supports voucher "magic." I'll tell you about magic. It came in the petite form of a third-grade teacher who taught both my sons. Mrs. Evans. She loved to thrill her stu- dents about science - until told that she needed to devote science time to math time. as state test scores dic- tated it. She's out of the profession. Along with the generally amazing raw material presented to schools on Day 1 in the form of generally smil- ing, enthusiastic children, the only magic that can change lives inside the doors is that supplied by teach- ers. What has more than a decade of peacetime/wartime school reforms done to help generate that magic? Nothing. Nothing at all. Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. iyoungcolumn@gmail.com II Recently while traveling down ....... the interstate at the legal speed, ~:,i.: ~, PERSPECTIVES I was passed by a motorcyclist doing at least 75 miles per hour. The rider was not wearing a helmet and I saw something that upset me. He was holding his helmet in his lap. I won- dered what good that would do him if he had an accident. Some time ago, a friend of mine had a motorcycle accident and fortunately was wearing a helmet. After laying down his bike to avoid a collision, he suffered injuries but came through okay because he was protected by the helmet he was wearing. Many states have headgear laws and we know lives are being saved because of these laws. Some motorcyclists ride with flouting the law and risk serious injury or even death. These riders talk about their right to decide for them- selves whether to wear a helmet. This raises a question of what constitutes our rights. If an accident happens. it affects all of us because accidents make our insurance and medical costs go up. in talking about our rights, one sage put it this way: "Your rights end where my nose begins!" We live in a day when we want freedom without responsibility and that is not possible. To be honest, motorcycling scares me terribly, but not wearing a helmet really scares me. We live in a very com- plex world and what affects one affects all. Not every state has helmet laws. but hopefully the day will come when the law covers all 50 states. If we can maintain a sense of per- sonal responsibility, perhaps we can reduce the rate of injury and death by obeying laws intended to make life better for all of us. Ed Cherryholmes formerly served as pastor at the Kyle United Methodist Church. Since his retirement, he has travelled the country and the world, writing his thoughts here. LETTER TO THE EDITOR PLEASE LET THEM COMPETE We are proud parents of the kids who recently made the competition team for the Lehman Cheerleading squad. This group of kids have the potential to be National Cheerleading Champions. We were recently told by the coaches that Hays Superintendent Dr. Lyon has refused to give them permission to go to Florida to participate in the compe- tition. We were told his reason was be- cause the kids would miss two days of school. I would argue that the impact if they don't go would be much greater! Our kids have dreams that they have been dreaming since they were little. They have practiced for 20 hours a week some of them since they were 5. They have a chance, a moment they can see greatness. They have a chance to be great. 12 gifts, 4 boys, leaders in the community. Excellent students. They have dedicated their lives to being leaders in this community. They have a chance to shine the light on Lehman. Kyle and the athletics program. They have an opportunity that a college scout might see that greatness and of- fer them a chance for higher education. This is no less important to them than Friday night, Hays vs Lehman. They have dedicated their hearts and soul to bring home a National win for Leh- man High School. Something the entire town can be proud of. They have the support of their families, community, peers and educators.You can not take their chance away. It is the only chance some of them have or will ever get! As parents, we have invested in our children and are proud of their accom- plishments as leaders in their school. I have watched my daughter since she was a very young girl start her journey doing her first sommersanit, to com- petitive gymnastics and now on the Lehman Cheer team. She is a very hard worker, a great student and has spent a minimum of 20 hours a week devoted to her sport. This is her chance, this is her future. Please do not deny the team the opportunity to be champions, for Kyle, for Lehman and most of all for themselves. Charlene Epps Parent of Mykell Epps Member of the 2011-2012 Competition Cheerleading Squad COMMENTS FROM THE WEBSITE I agree with the city man- ager. I am disturbed that so many people would applaud mediocrity. All homes and businesses in this city are direct reflections of the people residing or working here. If a business owner doesn't have the decency to clean up their property then I will not support that behavior by spending my money there. Should we change the city's motto from "sim- ply charming" to "simply mediocre"? Kyle resident on Old biz, new troubles: City says roadside institution is an eyesore City council needs to con- centrate on other issues. I have been there to fix a flat tire & did a rotation while there... They are fast & inexpensive! That is what makes Kyle a small town: businesses like his where they greet you with a smile even if it's 100 out there. I Gallegos on Old biz, new troubles: City says roadside institution is an eyesore MANAGEMENT BARTON PUBLICATIONS, INC. Co-Publishers Bob Barton and Cyndy Slovak-Barton Office Manager Connie Brewer business@haysfreepress.com NEWSROOM Editor Wes Ferguson wes@haysfreepress.com Staff Reporters Sean Kimmons Brad Rollins Jonathan York School Reporter Jim Culien Community Reporters Sandra Grizzle Myrtle Heideman Pauline Tom Brenda Stewart Sports Editor Jason Gordon Columnists Bob Barton Bartee Halle Phil Jones Clint Younts Donn Brooks John Young Brenda Stewart Proofreaders Jane Kirkham Brenda Stewart ADVERTISING Tracy Mack tracy@haysfreepress.com Delilah Reyes sales@haysfreepress,com CIRCULATION Circulation Mgr. Suzanne Hailam paper@haysfreepress.com CLASSIFIEDS Suzanne Hallam paper@haysfreepress.com Distribution Gigi Hayes Carolyn Harkins Pete Sizemore PRODUCTION Production Mgr. David White Assistant Designer Jorge J. Garcia Jr. Contact Us: HaysFreePress.com news@haysfreepress.com business@haysfreepress.com BUDA 512-295-9760 KYLE 512-268-7862 METRO AUSTIN 512-262-6397 Fax: 268-0262 www, haysfreepress.com