Grapevine rally advocates for public schools

Posted Thursday, Feb. 07, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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GRAPEVINE -- Drum lines and music got the crowd pumped up Thursday night at Grapevine High School.

But the hundreds of people there didn't come for a pep rally for a sports event.

"We want our legislators to know that students are a priority, and we don't want them to put it off for a special session," said Sue Armstrong, a Carroll district trustee and an organizer of the multi-district rally.

Leaders of the Carroll, Grapevine-Colleyville and Keller school districts put together the event to encourage community members to be advocates for education.

The program started with drum lines from the three districts and included a dramatic presentation from students.

Southlake businessman Frank Bliss talked about "the structural deficit" in the state's school financing system and how resources have been cut while expectations have grown with high-stakes assessments. He urged parents and educators to take a stand to support public schools.

"At the end of the day, we need to get involved," Bliss said. "We owe it to our kids."

Nika Maples, a teacher at South Keller Intermediate School and the 2007 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year, talked about why she became a teacher. "It wasn't because I thought I could change the face of education," Maples said. "I thought I could touch one heart at a time."

She said students need a lot more than information to pass tests; they need someone who cares about helping them build their futures.

Several parents also spoke at the rally about the need for action.

R. Louie Sullins of Colleyville said that although educators do a great job with the inadequate funds they have, a continued lack of resources would harm students in the short term because of fewer programs and in the future by not preparing them to thrive in a global economy.

"I don't want to be part of a generation that didn't take action to keep our schools great," Sullins said.

Several of those who attended the rally said they were inspired by what they heard.

Jeff Jennings of Euless, a father in the Grapevine-Colleyville school district, said, "I walked out of the meeting wondering what I can do next."

He said he planned to contact his legislators.

State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, was the only legislator at the rally.

"I think calls for action like we saw tonight are really important, and I hope we see a lot more of them," Davis said.

Sandra Engelland, 817-431-2231

Twitter: @SandraEngelland

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