texas is the new titanic {just a bit more low budget}


You’ve seen the movie (ok, maybe not the one above..that’s apparently from a no budget remake, ‘Titanic 2’ ); over-the-top impressive boat, fit a ton of people, faster, bigger, ahead of its time, and according to the folks at the helm, unsinkable. Texas and her education system isn’t much different. She claims to be the envy of all other states, she’s bigger, she’s faster, ahead of her time, she teaches more students, she’s spared no expense obtaining the best curriculum to get to the finish line first.

Our education vessel just has a different, albeit, lackluster, cast of characters and plot. Instead of taking a maiden voyage across the Atlantic, we’re charging towards our future. You have your first class citizens on deck played by school administrators, lobbyists, and the people who fund them. Steering the boat and playing “Captain” is the public education committee and legislators. Finally, you have your third class citizens locked below deck played by our children, teachers, and yours truly, the parents. Oh! We can’t forget Governor Perry. He’s he conductor that tells the band to “keep playing the music” so that people don’t panic. He’s not so much the driving force, but he’s there to put a happy tone on our trip to the bottom of the ocean.

Instead of Jack and Rose, the star of our movie is that big huge iceberg that sunk the unsinkable. Our iceberg, is called HB400. Our education boat is an expensive, ridgid and highly structured machine that can break in half and sink with the right impact. With HB400, we are charging full-steam ahead for that impact. And, like the movie, don’t have nearly enough lifeboats.

In sessions past, legislators worked to ensure we added more lifeboats. They implemented a coordinated school health program. It gave parents an opportunity to come up on deck and have a say about keeping our kids healthy. They gave us the Fitnessgram to measure kids health and allowed us to work with schools on this issue. They ensured schools would recycle- a big deal considering the amount of waste schools produce. They gave us pre-kindergarten. They capped our classroom limits, making sure kids wouldn’t be packed like sardines. They ensured that teachers could count on a fair paycheck.

Unfortunately, our Captains today are only concerned with the first class citizens on the top deck. HB400 is trying to repeal the “unnecessary” lifeboats of students and teachers. HB400 keeps the third class irrelevant and locked below deck to sink with the boat. They are too consumed with preserving the luxury status of the top deck that they can’t see what’s looming up ahead. We are so far down that they can’t hear our iceberg warning.

They forget, that we are all in the same boat.

Churning out unhealthy, socially inept children is not the answer. Bubble filling for test scores isn’t part of the real world.

As for me and the recess bill, I’m that parent that has managed to pick the lock and found the staircase to the top deck. I’m charging up two stairs at a time. I’m yelling at the top of my lungs with the other parents that have joined me (btw, I’ve also called shotgun on a lifeboat and have one foot in with my child intow…it’s called the S.S. Private School).

Recess and HB3770 isn’t just about playtime. It isn’t trivial. It’s about fostering our kids’ future and making them sustainable. It’s about being proactive instead of reactive. It’s realizing that one day, these kids will be making laws. It’s understanding that they are the future lifeboat.

It’s about teaching kids how to swim when our Captain’s over-confidence finally rams that iceberg.

Our Secretary of State delivered a speech to our legislators at the beginning of this session, here’s a reminder:

As a mother and a grandmother, I would ask that you stand firm in your resolve as you ensure a Texas that is just as successful for our children and grandchildren, for they are our most precious resource….Reflecting upon the task before you, I am reminded of an old maritime saying, ‘Strong ships are safe in port, but that’s not what they are built for.’  Ladies and gentlemen of this esteemed institution, you are the strong ships that will guide our great state toward its continued prosperity. And over the course of the next 140 days, there will be times when you are sailing with the wind, and other times when you might feel as though you are working against it. But I submit to you that what matters most is the direction Texas is moving, and that directionmust remain forward. As you intently chart the course of our state, I encourage you to move full speed ahead so that Texas will continue to advance, and not merely drift, or worse, become lost at sea like so many other states have during these times.

So, one more time: Hey Captain! There’s an iceberg ahead. Don’t be the jackass that drives us into it.

Because, as we all know…the Captain goes down with the ship.



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