“… teachers are really proving that they ARE the backbone of education now and always have been, not legislators or standardized testing development companies. They are creating their lessons plans, staying in contact with students, informing parents, and encouraging both while taking care of the needs of their own children and homes. They are indeed heroes as well as health care workers. “ —From an experienced and respected Seguin ISD teacher

During this COVID-19 pandemic, Seguin ISD is maintaining quality contact with 100% of its students, providing internet hotspots where needed, preparing tens of thousands of free meals, and working to maintain quality education during these days of coronavirus. Moreover, fiscally responsible strategies and tactics are being developed for now and the future in light of lake management and COVID-19 economic impacts. … I learned this and more after a wake-up call from colleagues with LULAC Council 682.

More Perfect Schools

I do believe that schools should be kept small, be nestled in the community for equitable ethnic, cultural, socio-economic diversity, and have secure green space for outdoor ecological learning. We have done a reasonable job with elementary schools, but the middle and high schools should be closer in size to 500 students rather than the current 800-2,000 students school. 

Each student should learn ecological principles and develop the capacity to critically think and decision-make. They should develop as generalists and specialists. The ability to effectively communicate — preferably in more than one language — is of utmost importance. 

There should be solid learning of the three Rs; a foundation in the sciences and the humanities should be built; and the school days should involve healthy nutrition, fun exercise, art and music. Ecology-across-the-curriculum/campuses (EACC) also incorporates economics, home economics/money management, and agriculture learning to grow food locally.

Finally, a school with EACC is robustly involved and integrated in a whole ecological community. Each student learns through community service and presents results of these experiences to local organizations. And there are campus measurements of energetics, externalities, and other sustainable indicators … in attempts to make the school and local village truly sustainable.

Current State of Seguin ISD

Despite my dream for more perfect schools, the mindsets of the local, national, and international populace are not with me (except perhaps in Finland). Nevertheless, there are some incredibly positive things that make me happy about Seguin ISD. 

I believe we have a great school board of rectitude which is interested in working toward a more ideal learning system. We have administrators of integrity who are focusing on some cutting-edge programs (designed to reach all students and to meet all learning needs including Spanish and English as other languages). We have good 

students, parents, and teachers who have the capacity to work together and learn. 

We have an incredibly supportive and competent staff. As our current mayor emphasizes, we do have a fantastic village with wonderful resources. We do, however, need to work harder at reducing disparity making certain that everyone here has a sustainable livelihood with adequate monetary compensation for quality of life.

To be continued ....

Paul Bain Martin is a long-time Seguin resident, agricultural entomologist and ecologist, volunteer toward an Earth of sustainable social justice and ecological sanity and a long time educator.

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