Thursday, February 28, 2008

Plano ISD Sends Wrong Message About Theft

We need to rear up a new generation of leaders who will be better able to deal with the complexities of the world. Today's leaders are failing at every level: the local level, the state level, and the national level. Many failings are ethical failings, so we need to ensure our children are well grounded in good ethics.

But the Plano ISD is sending the wrong message to our children. The message the Plano ISD sends is that it is okay to steal if you have influential friends.

The Plano ISD named McCall Elementary after David McCall, even though he was a convicted felon.

On February 9 & 10, 2008, Channel 8, WFAA, reported that Plano ISD Assistant Superintendent Roxanne Burleson interfered with school discipline at Plano Senior High. The story run by Channel 8 can be found on their website when you search for "shoplifting cheerleaders." The school put the four JV cheerleaders off the squad and the PISD Administration put them back on the team. This constitutes a Moral Hazard for these cheerleaders. The Administration did not do them a favor by excusing their crime, it may have done them harm, according to the concept of Moral Hazard.

It is one thing for an Assistant Superintendent to make a mistake. People make mistakes. It's another thing for the Deputy Superintendent and Superintendent to both let the mistake stand. This means there is a systemic problem at the PISD Administration, and the Board of Trustees is responsible for systemic problems within the PISD Administration.

Back in June 2007 McKinney had their cheerleader scandal. There it was the school principals who interfered with discipline and it cost the McKinney North High School principal her job. Now that scandal is becoming immortalized in a TV movie about the scandal.

If we want our children to have the best future possible, they need firm grounding in good ethics. They should not be told by the PISD that stealing is okay if you have influential friends. We should vote out the incumbents on the Board of Trustees and set higher standards for the PISD Administration.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Shocked by Don Williams

The Dallas Morning News ran an Op Ed piece today by Bruce Katz and Don Williams, "We Need Washington." I am shocked to hear a Texan say "we need Washington."

Bruce Katz is with the Brookings Institute and Don Williams is the retired Chairman of Trammell Crow. I can understand the Brookings Institute wanting to spend our taxpayer dollars, but I would expect a Texan to have more faith in Texans than in Washington wonks.

Like all propaganda, the Op Ed piece mixes in some truth with a lot of baloney. Government is more often the source of problems rather than of solutions. Do you want another helping of No Child Left Behind? Would you like Washington to compound the sub-prime mortgage mess they created by not doing the regulation they were supposed to do?

For years my daily prayers for my children included requests that God protect my children from evil people, from fools, and from our government.

That Don Williams signed his name to this Op Ed piece is proof that Dallas leadership feels powerless to solve the problems it faces. I agree. That is why I am running for the Plano school board.

Our leaders cannot solve today's problems. Don Williams admits it. What we need to do is to rear up a new generation of leaders that is better educated and better grounded than today's leaders.

America used to have good leaders: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and Abraham Lincoln. Plano can produce a new generation of leaders if we adjust the education we give our children.

The citizens of Plano need to take back our school board. To save our children's future we must resume control of their education. We can begin by voting out the incumbents.

Vote in the May 10th election.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

America Needs Good Leaders and Plano Can Deliver Them

All the newspapers and TV news shows reported recently about the government shooting down a failed spy satellite. What was not so widely reported was how the government bungled an earlier spy satellite project.

Back in November 11, 2007, Phillip Taubman reported in the New York Times an article describing how the government and Boeing bungled the development of a new spy satellite in the article, "Failure to Launch." We tax payers lost over $4 Billion when this flawed contract got canceled.

Bad leadership costs us billions of dollars. Don't get me started on the sub-prime mortgage swindle! But we also have local problems. Dallas lost the Lynacre Academy charter school due to management problems. See the Dallas Morning News article, "Former Dallas Charter School Leader Denies Theft," by Karen Ayres Smith.

America needs good leaders and Plano, Texas, can deliver them. We are a great middle class community and we are as capable of developing America's leaders as any community in America. I think it is our patriotic duty to do so.

Our children get a good education, but we can step it up a notch. There is room for improvement in the elementary school curriculum. And we must emphasize that good leadership is ethical leadership.

We cannot rely on other communities in America to develop leaders that can protect our children's future. It is not happening. The three failures I mentioned earlier in this post are just part of the daily onslaught of leadership failures. We can succeed in this task as well as anybody.

Let's do it! Let's work together to give our children the best future possible by helping them take charge of their future: better leaders for a better future!


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Karen Dillard and SAT Prep

There have been stories in the local press and the national press about the lawsuit the College Board has filed against Karen Dillard.

I heard a report about this lawsuit on Channel 5 news, which made it sound awful that Karen Dillard had the PSAT test.

There are hundreds of copies of the PSAT test floating around Plano. I have two copies of the test, along with the answers! If you are not familiar with the test, you might not know that the students get their test booklets and the answers to the test.

I recommend every parent look over the test, work the math problems their child got wrong, and coach your child on how to get past the trickery of the College Board. And if you cannot solve all the problems your child got wrong on math, how can you help your child? Why, you have to go to a school like Karen Dillard's.

The benefits of Karen Dillard's program go beyond the preparation material she uses. I believe the advice she gives on how to look at the test results and how to handle the complexities of the college application process is good advice.

We are lucky to have her in Plano. And I believe we are lucky to have Michael Novotny as Principal of Jasper High School.

As I read the articles in the newspapers I was reminded of an article in the Wall Street Journal, Wed. Feb. 20, 2008, "Big Retail Chains Dun Mere Suspects in Theft," by Ann Zimmerman. This article gave an account of how Glenn Rudge was accused by Home Depot of stealing an $8 set of drill bits. The store would not listen to him when he said he had a receipt. The prosecutor dropped the charges when Mr. Rudge showed his receipt for the drill bits, but Home Depot still gave his name to a collection agency that tried to shake him down for over $6,000.

Can you believe this? Home Depot and their collection agency wanted $6,000 payment in a dispute over a $8 set of drill bits. Eventually the handy man had to get a lawyer and sue Home Depot. Just because a big business wants money, that does not mean it is entitled to that money. I hope the College Board is mistaken in their lawsuit.

This does give us all an opportunity to talk to our children about intellectual property rights.

The PSAT/SAT/ACT tests are an important part of our kids' high school experience. The story is a good reminder that parents should stay involved with their children's education, including helping them prepare for the SAT, which is tricky.

The story is also a reminder that we can improve the Plano ISD curriculum to better prepare our children for the SAT. For example, the district policy of telling kids to guess the meaning of words instead of looking them up in a dictionary is bad for our children. This policy reduces their vocabulary and reduces their SAT verbal scores.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Good Leaders are Ethical Leaders

When asked last year to explain my educational philosophy, one point I made was that "morality is the root of education."

If we want good leaders, we should expect and insist they be ethical leaders. I believe good ethics are a core competency for effective leadership.

I believe the Plano schools should take a short list of moral imperatives and stress them from kindergarten to 12th grade:
Don't steal
Don't cheat
Don't hurt

I think everyone can agree on this short list. If we expect tomorrow's leaders to be honorable, trustworthy people, then we need to give our children a firm foundation.

If a school principal needs to discipline children who might have stolen, or cheated, or hurt others, then the central administration should support the school staff.

If our children are trying to walk the straight and narrow, if they try to do the right thing, then they should perceive the Plano ISD as sharing their commitment to ethical behavior.

Let's work together to give our children the best possible future. Please vote for me for the PISD Board of Trustees in the May 10, 2008 election.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

America Laughs at Texas Leadership

The New York Times ran an article on the front page, Wed. Feb. 13, 2008, "Alice Journal: Tale of Dead Texas Dog Bites Mayor Who Told It," by Ralph Blumenthal. The article describes how Mayor Grace Saenz-Lopez was accused of stealing a neighbor's dog, then lying about it.

It's a pretty sad story. The author also reminded America that Alice, Texas, stuffed Ballot Box 13 long ago to help LBJ win a primary election. I remember seeing a documentary that described how LBJ cheated his way into politics. The documentary showed a photo of LBJ with buddies posing with the famous ballot box, grinning broadly.

The New York Times is read widely across America. It is probably read world-wide, and Texas was made a laughing stock on the front page because of poor leadership in Alice, Texas.

Texas needs better leaders. We cannot drive to Alice, Texas, and teach them how to develop better leaders. We can, however, develop good leaders here in Plano. We can describe a program for developing leadership in our schools that other communities can copy.

Texas needs better leaders, and we ought to develop those leaders here in Plano schools.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

America (and Dallas) Needs Better Leaders

We need to prepare our children to become tomorrow's leaders. Besides the core lessons in Math and Language Arts, our children must be able to choose right over wrong.

America has problems with poor leadership from top to bottom. In Dallas recently, the DART Chairwoman resigned in disgrace. She was booked this week on a Class A misdemeanor: tampering with a government record. The details are in the Dallas Morning News, "Ex-DART Board Chairwoman is Booked" by Jennifer Emily, Friday, Feb. 15, 2008. Click HERE to see the article.

You are now building your child's future. Let's work together to give your child the best future possible.

Vote for Robert Canright on Saturday May 10, 2008 for the Plano ISD Board of Trustees.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Robin Hood is a Disaster

The Monday, January 28, 2008 issue of the Dallas Morning News had an article describing the dire circumstances at Wimberley, Texas.

The district has been tagged "rich" by the State Legislature and Robin Hood is killing the district. They have to use space heaters because they cannot afford the bill for central heating. That's awful. Click HERE to read the article.

Texas is suffering from a Leadership Crisis. Texas desperately needs better leaders. We need better education to develop better leaders for tomorrow.