As a former Texas teacher and Katy ISD School Board member, I have definite and clear ideas about what constitutes an excellent school district.  That I am so critical of Katy ISD does not mean that I do not revere and appreciate those who work in the field of education. (It also doesn't mean that I don't have anything else to do as someone recently has suggested!  I have a full, happy, and productive life with a great husband, successful children, and really cute grandkids and lots of friends! There are a great many things I'd rather do than constantly comment on a school district in decline!)

But back to the subject at hand--as long as these people who have chosen education as their field of endeavor are sincere in their desire to be teachers, to care about their students, to be honest with parents, and to always be educating themselves academically, I am one hundred percent behind them.

Certain things have to be in place, however, for such conditions to exist. First among them is a qualified superintendent who will set the tone for a fine educational establishment. 

As a teacher in the El Paso Independent School District, there were two superintendents that met my qualifications:  H. E. Charles and Keith Appleby.  How many of the teachers in Katy will remember Alton Frailey in forty-five years as someone they revered?  They probably will not even remember his name, but I remember Mr. Charles and Mr. Appleby. 

Mr. Charles was a quiet, unassuming man who directed his ship, knew that he didn't need an entire coterie of administrative helpers, and let teachers teach as they had been college trained to do. As a teacher myself, I appreciated his confidence in me to write my OWN curriculum, to be able to decide what to teach and then teach it, and to improve every year as a teacher by my own effort without attending mindless teacher training sessions. We didn't need someone to tell us with endless memos and in-service meetings and thick curriculum manuals "aligned from here to Eternity" that we couldn't teach the same Shakespearean play in each successive grade!  We knew that grammar lessons built on the ones provided the year before. We knew that students needed to learn math facts by heart before we taught them how to work with fractions (and we DID teach them how to work with fractions!) Mr. Charles assumed that WE had the brains to figure out those things without help from anyone.  He was smart enough to know that.

Mr. Appleby had been the principal at my high school when I grew up.  He ran a tight ship, and students at my high school obtained great educations that allowed them to become whatever they wanted to be.  When he became the superintendent, he affected the school district in the same manner.  I recall that he came to a twenty year reunion that I attended and spoke about "Success."  He could see it all around the room and hopefully he knew he had a lot to do with that success, but he was modest and unassuming, and we all revered him then as we had when we were students.

Think anyone will ever write such words about Alton Frailey?  

Teaching is not difficult if one has the education, the aptitude, and is left alone to do the job.  Teachers don't need a support (and I use that term loosely) system in order to function.  In fact, in my opinion, they would perform quite well with 1/50th the "support" system that currently exists.  All of that support just gets in the way of a teacher's ability to teach.

George W. Bush said one time when I was on the School Board and he was wanting to be governor, that he was going to get rid of the Texas Education Agency. My heart skipped a beat.  Did he really mean that?  Could we possibly be about to go back to how it was when I taught school, when, if we had a central education agency, I certainly didn't know about it!

Unfortunately, that was just the first of the fabrications to come out of that guy's mouth!

But we could DO WITHOUT THE TEA!

We could DO WITHOUT SO MANY ADMINSTRATORS at regional "service" centers and local school districts.  None of these entities add ONE THING that is important or valuable to the education of our children.  Why is it that no one can see that--at least no one with the power to do anything about it.

We do not need a state curriculum.  The Tooth Fairy could yank all the curriculum manuals out from under us, and no teacher would miss them, and if they did, it would be evidence that they were not qualified to be a teacher!

Public education is big business.  Everyone from Tom Ratliff (bogus member of the SBOE) to Alton Frailey (overpaid superintendent) to all the vendors who feed at the trough of goodies provided by local school district taxes benefit and live off of public education, and that is the problem.

As they say, "Follow the money."

So how do we fix this horrible situation that exists in our Country and our State?  To be honest, I'm not sure at this point that it can be fixed.  Our state legislature thinks that vouchers are the answer.  I don't because I think vouchers are a ruse to let big business gain more control over their employees.  I have seen "public" schools built with "public" money on corporate campuses.  One of my son's first jobs was at Intel in Arizona. They had one of those schools already on their corporate property.  Employees were "mentors," and the whole sickening scenario was already in place. (And no, I don't like mentors--especially when parents are not allowed to know who they are or what they believe--no one should have such access to public school children.)  People who mentor need to go find another hobby! Their TEACHERS are students' mentors if we'll leave them alone and allow them to teach!

What is needed is a strong political leader who actually understands what has happened over the last thirty years in public education.  Unfortunately, finding such a person is nigh impossible.  No politician seems to want to take the trouble to figure it all out.  Dan Patrick and Greg Abbott would like to THINK they know, but they do not.  When the leaders don't know what is wrong, there's no way they can fix what they don't understand in the first place. They also don't seem interested in asking those who do know, either!

In the meantime, those of us who HAVE figured out the problem, plod along, trying to explain, seeking others who also understand, depending on crumbs thrown to us from time to time, but never getting to the final goal--changing the system.

We use the media, the Internet, blogs, web sites, Facebook, on line "newspapers," politicians who like our donations to their campaigns, and anything or anyone else we can find that will help our cause.

We depend on "open records," the ability to comment on published articles, forums where we might get to ask a question of a politician, public forums before government officials, and the ballot box, all of which encompass our ability to have "free speech."

Sometimes we run into brick walls, or we see others run into them.

We want everyone to be able to speak their piece and say what they think needs to be said.  We like to see our teachers treated with respect, allowed to teach, and to be promoted and appreciated.

Unfortunately in Katy ISD, these conditions I've just described are being quashed by our superintendent and his accomplices, our School Board.

As soon as he came to Katy ISD, Alton Frailey wanted to stop the free and easily obtained open records that we had enjoyed always in Katy ISD.  He was harshly criticized by the Houston Chronicle's Editorial Board, and he didn't care!  He just wrote another letter to the Chronicle like he was more important than God, and that what they had to say in chastising him had no merit!

Five years ago, Terri Majors, who had become an excellent principal, who led a really good elementary school, who had hired good teachers who respected and revered her, decided it was time for her to retire.  But she wanted to keep her hand in her profession and be around students by volunteering at her old school.  Long story short, the new principal, told her she could not do that!  Who would not want such a person as Mrs. Majors as a volunteer in her school?

After that, some of the teachers at that school began to confide in Mrs. Majors all the problems, alleged harassment and behavior unbecoming professional educators that was being foisted on them by the new principal and her assistant principals.

Mrs. Majors saw as her only alternative after trying to get the problem fixed by first writing a letter to the superintendent, to speak before the school board.  And speak she did!  For a few months she was allowed to speak a few minutes before each regular meeting of the School Board.  Remarkably while the public and the press were sympathetic with what she was saying, the superintendent and the Board members were not!  At one of the last board meetings where she spoke, Alton Frailey rudely started talking over her as she spoke!  I was there, and I was stunned at his behavior.  He looked to me like a tyrant and an idiot when he did that! Then at that or another meeting, Joe Adams, as president of the Board, asked Mrs. Majors not to speak on the topic of Golbow Elementary's principal ever again.  So much for free speech. 

In Katy ISD, we do not have free speech.  In my opinion teachers don't have it, parents don't have it, and students don't have it.  I am at a loss to explain why we have let this situation exist by re-electing the same ignorant board members who allow it.  I am nonplused by the situation, but I have seen it coming.  We let our leaders take rights away from us slowly over time; we don't object, and then we find ourselves without power, freedom of speech, or recourse.

We have let a principal continue unhindered in the alleged tyrannical treatment of her teachers, and now one of her proteges may be continuing her work at yet another elementary school, McRoberts.  Fortunately for the teachers at McRoberts, THEIR principal has been put on "administrative leave."  It seems there may be, as I am hearing, a video of the actual bullying of a teacher.  Since the superintendent will not comment, and the Houston Chronicle will not do their job as protector of our children, we may never know the truth of the matter. We cannot accuse without proof, and none has been forthcoming.

What we CAN do is vote, and we need to, so that incrementally we can return our governments to the people who pay for them and who CAN benefit from them if they are proper. We need to vote for people who are not rubber stamps, puppets, ignorant, or vulnerable to people who curry favor.  Teachers, who other than the students, suffer the most, need to get off their behinds and also vote. There are over 4,000 of them and most of them have a spouse!  Why don't they all vote? At least send the spouses to the polls! The teachers seem scared of their own shadows, and, as a form of harassment, the school district perpetuates the myth that THEY know how teachers vote.  They do not!  They know IF they vote, not how. The ballot is secret.

The public needs to pay attention to what is happening in their schools.  When a superintendent pulls principals off the job (two of them just this year) and never explains why, we have a problem in our Katy schools.  His seeming lack of regard for the treatment of our teachers, is, in my opinion, unprofessional. The only way to change that is to change the school board.

Mrs. Majors put herself out there three years ago and ran for the board in an effort to do her part to change things.  She lost to Bryan Michalsky by only 609 votes out of 5,253 votes--2,931 to 2,322. Others are now trying to unseat Bryan Michalsky and Charles Griffin, who, in my opinion have been Alton Frailey's handmaidens.  Let's turn out and stop these incumbent board members by electing Leonard Ledford and John Pendergraff.

Included below are some of the documents and reports related to this subject:

1.  Letter Sent by Terri Majors to President Joe Adams in 2011

2.  Letter Sent by Terri Majors to Superintendent Alton Frailey in 2011

3.  Post That Is Under Golbow Elementary On This Website