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Let Red Oak residents attend Red Oak schools!

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Red Oak residents have requested to detach from Ferris ISD and annex into ROISD. About one-fifth of the residents are opposed to this request.

The Ferris School Board has already denied the request. If the Red Oak School Board approves the request, the State will end up deciding.

Now WHY is a homeschooler interested in this issue? My kids have been homeschooled for the past eight years.

Yes, they have attended numerous group classes and functions.

The variety of educational settings and childhood development of students has intrigued me to do a lot of research into this area, resulting in much reading on educational methods and philosophy and many interviews with teachers.

Knowing some of the families involved I have a few things to point out everyone might want to check into: "Students will suffer from changing schools"

I admit I am very concerned over statements a simple switching from one statistically good school to another statistically good school would cause "this much" suffering. It seems to me that a teacher/educational system should be preparing students to deal w/ changes, not making them dependent on a specific environment.

As homeschoolers, We are constantly asked about the concern of "teaching our kids in isolation —how will they be able to cope w/ the changes of the real


I have not had any problems with my kids taking different classes from a lot of different teachers in varying areas.

Homeschoolers are constantly attending dual-credit classes at the colleges: a change in educational environment should not be that big a deal to a student well-prepared for a real education.

There are plenty of students in Red Oak [and private schools] making straight A’s and taking college level classes [the dual credit program is a widely-touted program]. Obviously the opportunities to succeed are there.

"But our students are doing great in Ferris!" I’m sure many Ferris students are doing well academically. That is included in the school’s statistical reports to the state. They will feel the loss of a straight A student in those statistics that were cited by the school board.

Losing a student that tests well throws off the curve for the whole class/school. [we hear about this a lot from those criticizing homeschooling: "but we need your well-performing bright students to up our scores!" — literally.]

Teachers said the number one factor in student’s grades is "parent involvement." Kids switch schools all the time. If you are truly supporting your children in their education, they will do as well in Red Oak as they do in Ferris.

Unless Ferris has created a peer-dependent society which will hamper a student’s learning no matter where they end up.

"Ferris is certainly not making this decision based on money." Yes, the loss of funds will affect Ferris —they stated this very clearly at their Board meeting. The state allows a loss up to five-percent of a school’s budget. The state expects a competent school to be able to deal with that type of loss because life happens.

Here’s more from the state site that describes detachment :scroll down to SUBCHAPTER B. DETACHMENT; ANNEXATION:http://lo2.tlc. state.tx.us/statutes/docs/ED/content/htm/ed.002.00.000013.00.htm

And here’s Ferris’ that explains their budget: http://www.ferris isd.org/business.php

I attended the Ferris Board meeting. The Board did NOT use the monetary effect as the primary reason for denying the petition: The percentage of the loss to their budget is simply not that much for legal teeth, but they will feel it.

Eight-thousand dollars in revenue per student is a sizable chunk, especially considering they aren’t spending that much per student.They know the loss would involve some cutting of programs, "it is not an acceptable reason within the confines of the law.**

Add in the future economic impact of the Master Planned communities sprouting up on Ovilla Road, and Ferris should still come out ahead in the near future.They cited the "social impact" on Ferris, which I address below.

"So why is this such a big deal to Red Oak residents?" I mentioned at the meeting my biggest concern is the effect to the community.

A lot of people do not realize what "civic duty" really means anymore. Red Oak residents -as students in Ferris schools- are NOT interacting with the Red Oak community —they are immersed in the Ferris community.

Their families are subsequently immersed in the Ferris community. The families spend their time in Ferris, not in Red Oak [this was confirmed rather explicitly at the Ferris ISD board meeting].

The students do not get the opportunity to participate in Red Oak Community events with their educational peers like the ROISD students do.

The students are involved in doing projects and events that benefit Ferris, not Red Oak.

Ferris wants to keep the student and tax funding and have the sales tax dollars and practical support. It does not bother them that they are hindering a family’s ability to be involved in the community in which they vote.

They can benefit from your involvement in Ferris without needing to worry about how you’ll vote. For them, it appears to be a nice deal. That Ferris openly recognizes this situation "causes confusion" [as with Wilmer, Glenn Heights, and numerous other residents] yet refuses to allow a change requested by a majority is distressing.

That they are willing to sit back and continue dividing a community in which the majority is begging to be united is appalling.

The Ferris ISD is teaching, supporting, and modeling a horrible example of community and civic duty.

That demonstrates a huge negative social impact on Red Oak by denying it involved citizens, "and on Ferris as supporting a flawed example."

I believe that horrible example of civic duty trumps any state-approved loss or minor social programs in which they might feel a cut.

Since the civic involvement of families and children affects EVERY homeowner and resident, THAT is why the decision on whether to detach is valid whether you have children in the system or not: you will be relying on your neighbors for the future of your city.

"Isn’t this really a School Choice Issue?" I am a HUGE advocate of School Choice. I totally support the right of parents to decide where their children go to school. But I also realize that as the public school system stands now, vouchers and Real School Choice *in the public system* are not available. You cannot lose that which you did not have to begin with. Your options are to move or decide on a non-public mode of education.

Taking that into consideration, I support the right of Red Oak residents to attend Red Oak schools, especially when there is such an overwhelming majority

making the request. Not barely half, not even 3/4, but a solid 4/5 of the voters in the area have voiced a desire to be united with Red Oak.

And as has been mentioned, if you don’t want to be a resident of Red Oak or attend Red Oak schools, then move!

Educators have an awesome responsibility in lighting a fire of civic duty in our future community leaders. This is an excellent time to set an example in how to bring a community TOGETHER.

It will be interesting to see what the ROISD says and decides at their June 9 meeting. I encourage you to attend this meeting and encourage your fellow residents, regardless which side of the issue you support.

As a homeschooler, the whole process has simply rejuvenated my decision to remain outside the jurisdiction of the school districts, allowing me to support it within my community, but not needing to march in lock step w/ them.

Good luck to ALL of you, no matter what is decided.

Amy Hedtke

Red Oak Home Schoolers of TX:


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