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Debate on parenting class

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By LPR Staff
Editor/POST-REGISTER

Despite the best efforts of the Lockhart Independent School District Board of Trustees, a debate sparked early this spring will continue.
In April, the board considered whether to keep a Preparation for Parenting class among the required curriculum at Lockhart High School or to make the class an elective. After heated de

bate, the board decided that the class should no longer be required.
At the regular trustee meeting in May, administration approached the board again, questioning whether the class would still be required for students already enrolled in high school or whether the requirement would be dropped completely.
Board member Dennis Placke led the charge to alleviate the requirement altogether, raising concern among some parents that changing the requirements midstream would put students on an uneven playing field.
While many sophomores and juniors had already taken the class, many had not. Some parents were concerned that the change could allow some students to benefit from extra elective courses, while others would be penalized for already having taken the class.
Placke, and several parents along with him, contended that a change would not effect the larger percentage of students as far as grade points were concerned, and that offering students extra opportunities to take elective courses was the responsibility of the district.
“The purpose is to provide the students the chance to take electives they are interested in,” Placke said in support of the change.
Still, many parents and administrators disagreed, believing that the change should take effect with the incoming sophomore class. This would mean that the graduating classes of 2006 and 2007 would still be required to take Prep for Parenting, while the class of 2008 would not.
The board held a special meeting on Monday evening to discuss the issue further.
After more than an hour of debate, the board voted unanimously to keep the requirement for sophomores and juniors.
Much of the dissention came from Placke. He stood largely against the requirement.
“We finally did the right thing with this class, and now we”re going to go back and change it again,” he said.
Many parents attended the meeting to show support for maintaining the requirement for the classes of 2006 and 2007, but they were not given the opportunity to speak.
“This is a special called meeting,” explained board president John Flores. “The concerns of the parents were heard at the last meeting, and while this is a public meeting, it is not a public discussion session.”
After the vote, some parents were still disappointed that the class would no longer be required.
“I still have four kids in the school system,” said Tammy Cunningham. “[The class] offers things that the school needs to be teaching the children if the parents can”t teach them.”
Cunningham vowed to return to the school board and ask them to reinstate the requirement.
In other board business, Assistant Superintendent of Education James Rabe presented a report to the board regarding his review of the high school, freshman and junior high campuses.
Rabe reported that much of the teaching in the district needs to be changed in an effort to help students with the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test.
“We need to increase coaching and facilitating time in the classroom,” Rabe said. “The teachers need to move toward teaching concepts and skills, rather than content.”
He said that the bulk of the teaching in the three campuses he review was geared toward content questioning, but content questions do not appear on the TAKS test.
“We have to start leading the kids” thought processes,” he said, rather than focusing on having the students memorize information.
Rabe will review the elementary campuses next year, and will return to each campus every two years to make sure that the needed changes are being implemented.
Kathibliss@post-register.com

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