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Old 12-27-2007, 02:03 PM  
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San Marcos
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local schools no good?

I had an enjoyable Christmas with lots of family over for a few days. I found myself in a conversation with a couple of in-laws, who are pretty high on the corporate ladder, about the failing efforts in San Marcos to attract businesses and homeowners.

They were both very frank with me, that they would not expect anyone at their companies to entertain a move to San Marcos, because our schools are no good. One in-law has a master's from UT and the other from a comparable school. They were both very clear that they expect their kids to go to college and they are hoping for something at or near Ivy League level.

Now, of course most people with those aspirations will fall short, but they were not interested in a school system that stacks the deck against their kids. They said they *might* send their kids to the Baptist Academy, but this would not be their first choice. They want to put down roots in a community with a good local school system, period. San Marcos was not on their list.

I recall when I was younger, my parents moved specifically to get me into the school district that they thought was the best, or the best they could afford anyway.

Are our schools holding San Marcos back?
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Old 12-27-2007, 09:18 PM  
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local schools - a problem??

We recently moved to SM and this is a HUGE concern for our family. We have a few years to evaluate the situation, as our child is still tiny. Ultimately though we may decide to leave town, or homeschool.

These are concerns I have heard raised:

Lengthy bus rides, with elementary and HS students together. Our neighborhood is only 3/4 of a mile from the elementary school (unfortunately it is a dangerous walk) but the kids are on the bus for OVER one hour!

No possiblity of learning Spanish in elementary school - this is inexcusable in the year 2007!

Too much emphasis on testing and practicing for tests.

Lack of an "Education Culture" in town.

We are happy to see that the buildings are being improved, but what is being done to improve the academic standings of the students?
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Old 12-28-2007, 09:06 AM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curious View Post
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We are happy to see that the buildings are being improved, but what is being done to improve the academic standings of the students?

Exactly ! You can teach a kid in a pup tent but we must hire and retain teachers that are going to encourage and motivated these kids. We also need to quit making it okay to have kids so dang young. I mean, hey I can have a kid, take it to school with me , have someone else watch it all day, take it home and have g-ma watch it, and get paid for going to school at the same time! And get a diploma not only from NO-PRIDE high school, but one from San Marcos High School as well ! Dang it!! Make these kids work for it !!
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Old 12-28-2007, 10:22 AM  
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San Marcos
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Interesting that you mention learning Spanish.

Another family member showed me some reports on the various school districts and we have very VERY few bilingual teachers, which means that not only are we not learning Spanish, but kids in Spanish-speaking families are not learning much of anything.

I know, the subject of immersion vs. ESL is a sticky one, but the reports were pretty clear in that the schools where the hispanic children were doing well (in some grades, I saw that we had only 20-30% passing math and science tests), had significantly more bilingual teachers than we do.

We're not talking huge numbers, either. I think the good school districts had something like 3% bilingual teachers and we have 1/2% or something. I'll have to dig up the report.

It was interesting to compare San Marcos with Wimberley. Actually, there was no comparison. They don't seem to have any trouble attracting property owners, either.
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Old 12-28-2007, 01:26 PM  
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I think you have hit on one of the major things holding San Marcos back. We have one of the larger universities in the state, yet many professors choose to commute from Austin or Wimberley. I've heard that half of the professors live out of town, although I can't remember where heard that or whether it is right. It seems about right for the department I'm in. There's 28,000 students, so there's got to be close to 1000 (?) professors, not counting all the other staff. I did hear someone from the Bose campaign tell me that it was the student's (read: sagewood, noise, renters, etc.) keeping more professors from living in town, which is BS. It might play a part, but it's the schools and the economics. Most professors are used to being around students. They've chosen a life that puts them in towns with younger populations. They are in the business of education. Do you really think that someone who teaches at a top university is going to accept sending their kids to sub-standard grade schools? Most people who have a PhD also have at least a semi-educated spouse. Those spouses need jobs too. Professors don't make that much. San Marcos doesn't offer those opportunities, and that means Austin or San Antonio. The high-school has a higher than (state)average dropout rate, and a lower than (state)average rate of continuation to college. Many professors at the university don't live here exactly because the schools here aren't at the level they should be. Especially in a town this size, with a major university, the schools should be well over average. I don't want San Marcos to become a bedroom community for Austin or San Antonio, but if the schools were good, then you'd get more professors and other professionals choosing to locate here. San Marcos is a MUCH more convenient place than Wimberley to be if you are going to commute. It should be an easy choice.

Certainly, there are no quick solutions, and there are some long term issues with poverty, but improving the public schools would be a start that would help everyone. San Marcos/Hays County should also buy into the ACC system and get a campus started here, so that there is a local intermediate step for those that aren't ready to go to university.

Part of the problem with improving the schools is Bush's No Child Left Behind swindle. Really, what it does is force teachers to teach to the tests, so that the district can keep funding. All it has done is lower the bar for everyone, instead of pushing everyone forward. That and whiny parents who have created a situation nationwide where even if a teacher fails a student, they get put in the next grade...
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Old 12-28-2007, 01:57 PM  
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I agree with the assertions about teaching to the tests. That (IMO) is what you get when you try to get the government putting a system in place that is supposed to work for everyone - it doesn't work all that well for anyone.

Still, the reports I was looking at were based on those tests and it appears that we are not teaching to the tests any better than anything else.
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Old 12-28-2007, 04:45 PM  
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The High School is downright awful, when I went to HS in Round Rock the staff knew what was going on. The school knew as well. You could not leave campus unless you were allowed to and they knew. If you missed a class and didn't have an parent excuse then you went to in school suspension for the offense. The HS here is chaos, despite the new facility they don't have a grasp on order which I believe is a factor in the drop out rate.
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