Expanding Class Size

Expanding Class Size

Go, Democrats: Texas Democrats, like ex-governor Mark White and veteran state house legislator Scott Hochberg, continue laboring to improve — against long odds — the Texas system of public education from its dismal national ranking ["The Whipping Boy," by Margaret Downing, December 30, 2010]. The differences between the traditional Democratic approaches and those of the current generation of Republican leaders to this critical issue have never been more obvious.

Democrats approach the educational issue advocating the best possible public education opportunities for all Texas schoolchildren, using the most equitable funding by Texas taxpayers — period. Republicans — like a one-note samba — advocate progressively lowering taxes year by year by year at all levels of government, regardless of the negative impact on public education. If public education can't be privatized to make someone a profit, they just don't care. It would suit their agenda if all education were private.

This past November, Texas Tea Partiers decided, and Texas schoolchildren will be saddled with, what the majority voted for. I give the majority voters, including the Tea Partiers, a failing grade (F) — for Texas schoolchildren. The ball is now firmly in the court of a partisan Texas governor and super-majority legislature, and these guys can't legitimately continue blaming Democrats for the results of their own anorexic priorities.

Pat V. Powers

Online readers weigh in:

Thanks: Excellent article, and these kudos come from a school superintendent. I wish everyone would read and listen to this.


Funding doubled: The more important question to ask is why educational funding has doubled (adjusted for inflation) over the past 30 years, while results have not improved. The answer is that school systems are run for the benefit of the employees, not the students.


Good article: It's time to tell the truth. Elections matter, and it's ­always all about the money.


Great article: And parents and taxpayers need to know this: This change wouldn't save a dime, because as the article noted, districts can already get around the law by getting a waiver. The problem for administrators? The waiver process requires parent notification. They really don't like having to tell parents about large class sizes. Get rid of the law, then there will be no more informed parents.


Not Right in the Headline

Unacceptable: I am a fan of your work and have read much of it over the years; the Houston Press has always impressed me with its sharp analysis and willingness to take on and promote unpopular views. Thus I am surprised by the choice to use the term "Jipped" in the December 16, 2010 headline.

The term "Jipped" derives from the word "Gypsy," a derogatory term for Romani people. It means swindle/cheat and is based on derogatory stereotypes of Roma people. It is deemed a pejorative word.

As an American who has worked with Roma issues for nearly a decade and published/taught/advocated on such issues, I recognize that the associations between the English verb "jipped" and the real people who are slandered by such a term may seem loose here in the U.S. context. This is the same logic that allows "Gypsy costumes" on Halloween or "Gypsy skillets" served at greasy spoons. In the North American mind, the word and connotations of "Gypsy" are often not associated with the real people called "Roma."

But there are real people, with real feelings, real discrimination and real rights. And Texas has one of the largest Romani populations in the U.S. They are not only your subjects but your readership as well.

Please be careful with your terminology.

Newspapers and journalism serve an important pedagogical role about what is and is not acceptable in our society. An apology, with explanation, is in order.

Shayna Plaut
Vancouver, British Columbia

Trouble at Hudson

Online readers comment on "Hudson Lounge Comes Under Fire for Supposed Racist Practices," Hair Balls blog, by Craig Hlavaty, January 3:

Plenty of staff: On December 28, 2010, the Hudson Lounge was staffed with at least four bartenders, two guys at the front bar and two ladies at the back bar. There were also at least two guys helping the bartenders with clearing glasses, etc. There were approximately 60-70 patrons in attendance when I arrived at 10 p.m., but this is only a best guess. There is a capacity sign on the front window that states maximum capacity is 151 or something like that.

I state the above information only to illustrate that in no way was the bar overwhelmed by the number of people in attendance. I was not a party planner; however, if only 25 people were expected for the private party, and an additional 45 people of Hudson Lounge's usual crowd showed up, would the bar have closed down? We can only speculate, but my guess is, "probably not."

In response to the mention that the guests in attendance were professionals, that was only stated so that those who choose to read the reviews will understand the nature of the crowd. Those in attendance were not gang-bangers or purse snatchers. The professions were mentioned so that Hudson Lounge's "target market" understands that although the Tuesday crowd consisted of black people, those people live lives that are similar to theirs.

If the reader does not understand any of the above points, I apologize. You can choose to think that the patrons are whining over spilled milk. It is your right to disagree...as it is my right to be offended by the actions management chose to take.

Kim H

I don't understand: The party planners said that they met with the bar five times before the event, and that they communicated that to the bar, that they thought that up to 200 people would be there. The flyer seems entirely consistent with that story. It's only inconsistent with the bar's story. I obviously don't know what the planners told the bar, but unless Ray Odom was lying, then it's hard to see how both sides are at fault here.


Deal with it: I mean, they are just trying to stay in business. Here is the real-world rule to deal with: Fancy, chic bars attract pretty white girls; pretty white girls attract white men with cash to blow; bar makes money! Black dudes show up; scare away white girls; white guys go elsewhere; bar shuts down! Boom!


Point to ponder: I have heard from a club promoter/owner based predominantly in Scotts­dale that once the clientele of a club like this gets to be more than 8 percent African-­American, it either goes mostly black or it dies.

All these clubs are racist because their clientele is racist. The guy is in business to make money. Maybe we should be examining why white people don't seem to want to mix in the same club as blacks instead of crucifying a club owner for trying to protect his bottom line.



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