Connections Matter to Voters!

By Dr. Sheila Pope

I had the opportunity to watch Judge Fredricka Phillps(she was an attorney at that time) become Vice Chair of Texas Democrats Convention in Dallas (Royce West hosted) in 2008/2009. Since her election as Vice Chair, her career has sky rocketed. I have seen her actively make the rounds with Democrats too.

When she came into SD11 Caucus yesterday before we began to vote and announced she was moving forward in her journey, I realized I was witnessing a transferring of power. I was able to see how two African American women were able to obtain one of the most coveted seats in the Texas Democratic Party.

I was grateful I was able to see Judge Phillips groom and actively support her possible replacement, Dr. Carla Brailey (won nomination at Black Democrats Caucus). Women helping women is critical in any endeavor. Black women supporting each other in politics and business is powerful on many levels.

Both of these ladies are beautiful, smart, and ambitious. They were active in their communities and excelled in their careers before they earned the right to get on the ballot for Vice Chair of Texas Democratic Party. More important, they understood the power of working together to ensure their agenda becomes a reality.

If no one else was woke, I was! To have the outgoing Vice Chair support you speaks volumes to the entire party. Carroll G. Robinson provided a fantastic introduction to Dr. Brailey. Deborah Peoples gave an outstanding speech at the Black Caucus. The crowd loved her speech. You could support her just as well as Dr. Brailey if you were voting based on speeches. Mr. Robinson added credibility to Dr. Brailey. I knew him and I have followed his political career for years. Their connection was important to me.

Yet when I asked my children who they wanted me to cast my vote for, London said Dr. Carla Brailey because she said she “knew her”.

Dr. Brailey and Judge Phillips came to Pearland Democrats Club’s June meeting and spoke to the club and both of the ladies spoke with me about being a mom and teaching our children early about serving the community. I had a connections with Judge Phillips from 2009 and from her work with Adrienne Bell. I discovered Dr. Brailey and I worked at TSU during the same time. I helped students in the sociology department with their research papers. She spoke to my children and London loved the way she looked. A girly girl is London’s Shero!

Dr. Brailey made a connection with me and my family. When I saw her at the convention she again spoke with us. Her team was nice and gave us goodies. I also observed how she and Judge Phillips were working together. Voters need to see who you are connected to and with and voters need to see candidates working before an election and after an election. If you googled Dr. Brailey like I did, you could see she was on her grind for years.

I understood after watching this tranference of power between two dynamic African American female democrats at the 2018 Texas Democrats Convention, connections matter! If you want to hold a seat of power, it is vital you have the right connections.

I Stand with Worthing High School!

by Dr. Sheila Pope

Last night, I attended the Worthing High School and Woodson Community Meeting. I wanted to show my support for my former students and my former colleagues at Worthing High School. I went to hear Worthing’s outcome from Wanda Adams, Dr. Latham, and Dr. Cranbill for myself. I am so glad I attended the meeting.

First, it was an awesome feeling to see my former students the moment I got out of my car. They found me with my new vehicle. lol! They still know my voice. They looked

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Worthing High School Graduation June 2018

great! I am so proud of them. I look forward to seeing all of them graduate in June 2018! I have a few more students that I taught that will graduate in 2019. I came for them too! I also enjoyed sitting in a well-lit auditorium! Yes, we could see each other and we could see the data, newsletters, and other handouts due to new lights, new paint, and new SMARTboards used in the auditorium. When I worked at Worthing for three years, we did not have light or technology in the auditorium. I left in 2016. Good leadership understands nothing get recognized in the dark!

Next, I respected the way Board Trustee Wanda Adams allowed the principals of Woodson and Worthing share all of their positives before sharing the faith of both schools. Both principals acknowledged their staff and their teachers. They were their own press agents! No one could say that new leadership had not made a difference at both schools.

I respect the position Trustee Wanda Adams is in, but I wish she had the COURAGE and

Wanda Adams

Board of Trustee Member Wanda Adams

CONVICTION to just shot straight sometimes! I understand she has to be guarded, but you can ADMIT Worthing MIGHT close. You need to have told parents, You cannot control the outcome of 10 years of negligence on and off your watch! Sometimes, you have to address the elephant in the room, but still speak with hope and not recklessness.

Dr. Latham and Trustee Wanda Adams acknowledged Dr. Campbell and the principal at Woodson were working hard to change the culture of the schools. Dr. Latham said, she supported their leadership and hoped the new PARTNERS would keep them in their current positions. Unfortunately, both principals might lose their jobs because new organizations tend to bring in their own folks! Under the new partnership, HISD does not have ANY say in hiring and firing of staff!

It was clear to me that Dr. Latham maybe the new interim Superintendent of HISD; she does not plan to change leadership at the two schools while she has control of Woodson and Worthing. However, it was also clear to me TEA and Dr. Latham did not agree on key points.

Dr. Latham said the district was going to recommend a partnership with a nonprofit that had a successful record of turning schools around. They prefer higher education entities. She said partnership would not be charter schools nor the nonprofit from Boston mentioned earlier this year. The new focus of Worthing and Woodson would be the International Baccalaureate Program. This seems to be an odd choice, but not worth challenging now. New partnerships will have their own plans. Dr. Latham believes both schools will benefit from a new rigorous IB program.

Dr. Latham said the partnerships would last for three years. The partnerships would be effective immediately in August 2018-2019 school year. The partnerships would have total control of schools that were failing. The partnerships could hire/fire who they wanted to immediately. Therefore, teachers and staff COULD be FIRED due to performance issues or budget issues by June 2018.

Wanda Adams said she would not SUPPORT closing HISD schools. However, TEA does not need Trustee Wanda Adam’s support to make the decisions to close and reopen (reset) failing schools. HISD will submit the application/contract for partnership by April 12th. At the next school board meeting, decisions will be finalized by HISD. Dr. Latham said HISD would publish partnership contracts; however, Dr. Cranbill, TEA rep, said the contracts would not be published. TEA will announce their decisions after HISD submits their complete packages for partnerships on April 30th.

By April 30th, HISD will submit all the names of staff, teachers, and leadership for all 10 failing schools. Some staff/teachers will know their employment status before/on April 30th. HISD will submit the new configurations of the failing schools by April 30th. For example, Dr. Latham announced Woodson, would only serve Pre-K through 3rd grade under HISD new application/partnership. Teachers in grades 4th-8th will be fired or moved around because of HISD restructuring of its campuses.

TEA will tell the district what it will do on by June 2018. If TEA does not accept HISD application/partnership agreement, Worthing will be RESET. Dr. Latham said under reset plan, Worthing will be a 9th-grade center. Students currently in 10th, 11th, and 12th grade will go to another high school that IS NOT in Improvement Required Status. HISD will bus students to their new schools. Dr. Latham did not give the names of new schools nor did she act as if TEA might disregard their partnership agreements.

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In June, TEA Will Announces Its Plans

I was happy to see Dr. Pretta Vandible Stallworth attend the meeting representing Houston Community College as District 9 Trustee. She is an alumna of Worthing. She has great plans to partner with Worthing High School to provide trades/skill credit classes off campus at Houston Community College@ Reed/288 location. However, it seemed like she and Dr. Campbell needed to talk more about their SHARED vision.

Dr. Campbell announced Worthing planned to provide Teacher Education classes, Hotel and Restaurant classes, and Agriculture classes during 2018-2019. With all respect to the Worthing Committee for the efforts, but I DO NOT LIKE the choices. Dr. Campbell said they conducted a survey and the choices were a result of a survey. Maybe the committee needed to try a couple other methods to get more input from students to see what they wanted. We have to listen to Worthing Students!

Worthing students would benefit from ROTC, welding, cosmetology, air conditioning and refrigeration, auto mechanics, Chef programs, and Dual Credit English, government, history, and psychology courses ON CAMPUS and off too. The classes should be offered to 10th grade – 12th-grade students. I thought Worthing was offering these classes this school year, but the plans fell through once again!

The community meeting did not have as many people as I had hoped. There were a few incidents but at the end of the meeting, I walked away thinking Wanda Adams and HISDneeded to prepare for TEA rejecting their plans. They needed to start thinking of how to move forward if TEA suggests a RESET. Having a contingency plan is WISE. I also felt they should have invited a potential partner to talk to the community and other stakeholders. It would have been nice to hear a potential partners’ plans to turn things around.

It was good to see Mr. Marcus McGee, Mr. Gerry Wayne Monroe, Rev. Curtis Dockery, Sheryl Scott Taylor representing State Representative Shawn Thierry, Lighthouse for Students and representatives from Congress Woman Sheila Jackson Lee, Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Urban League, and all of the principals from the South Districts out to support VB Evan E. Worthing and Woodson. I will attend the school board meeting on April 12th! I hope to see you there!

At the meeting, we will see the outcomes of the games that have been played with our children’s futures. We will see who can admit change is necessary and see how HISD moves forward. We will see their new vision for 10 failing schools and their new attempt to turn things around.pexels-photo-910330184259237.jpeg

Shocked to See: Slavery in 2017

By Sheila Pope, Ph.D

This morning I was shocked to see Matt Lauer had been fired from the “Today Show”. I was shocked to see so many of my African American political Facebook Friends still support State Representative Ron Reynolds after he was found guilty of stealing his client’s money from settlements. Yes, I question how we can uphold any government officials with serious integrity issues and act as if they need to be in photos with candidates that have yet to prove themselves. It taints their credibility before they get elected.

However, I was more shocked to see that in 2017, we have allowed our people to be sold into slavery in Libya! This image says it all! Black Friday has a whole new meaning in the world. The images of Africans men being hung upside down by their feet should make all Africans and African-Americans living in the USA get up and get active. What about Caucasians you ask? What about them? Our President tells you where he stands on race relations on a daily basis.

We have a responsibility to understand, what happens around the world is a threat to us in America. Dr. King said it best, “Moreover, I am cognizant of the INTERRELATEDNESS of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” (Letter From Birmingham Jail, 1963).

If we allow this to continue to happen in Libya soon, we will find more of our people missing and being shipped overseas into slavery. While some of us travel internationally, we should consider how easy it would be to become “lost” and “found” in shackles. Sounds like hyperbole, but it is real people. The climate is set for more stuff like this to happen in our backyards. Thanks, Steven Solari for the image.24291751_10215594255517246_4536367000504789490_o

VOTE EARLY!

Written by Dr. Pope

Ladies, let your voice be heard in this election. This is not the time to sit on the sidelines. We have too much at stake. We must participate in this historic election.

Sisters if you want a change in your community, your government, and your socioeconomic status, we must vote. I want my daughters to know they are capable of running their households and running the country too. I want my sons to know women are more than mothers and wives.

More important, I want my daughters   to feel respected and safe from predators, abusers, racist and sexist men. A man that feels it is acceptable to grab women by their private parts or uses derogatory names to abuse women should not lead this country. A man that promotes a racist agenda should not control the USA.

Vote your convictions this elections. I want a country that embraces differences and supports equality. America is great and will always be great!

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Dr. Pope VOTE EARLY @ Tom Reed’s Library in Pearland.