[eDebate] Fall 2009 = no honors status for debate classes in Texas

rrach at juno.com rrach
Sat Oct 4 17:22:51 CDT 2008

Dear Debate Community Colleagues,
For any of you fortunate enough to have a GPA award for your advanced debate or interpretation classes, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board will vote October 23 to make that no longer the case.
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Honors GPA credit will no longer be awarded for anything other than AP or IB classes in Texas schools under rules being contemplated by the THECB.
This rule would be effective Fall 2009. (see attachments).
Deadline for submitting opinions and testimony for consideration by the board is Today - Saturday, Oct 4.
I would hope at this eleventh hour that any and all coaches in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Texas or out of state would fire off their own dissent to this proposal.  I have attached a short sample letter and hope that at the very least all coaches who care about this issue will download it, modify it by placing their own names on the form, and sending it to: Natalie Coffey, Senior Program Director, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, P.O Box 12788, Austin, Texas 78711, by October 4, 2008.  at natalie.coffey at thecb.state.tx.us
The letter I penned is not anywhere near perfect.  I was only made aware this issue yesterday.  I am proofing, amending, and resending to insure that Something, Anything is submitted before the deadline.
I have two thoughts:  1. numbers are power  and 2.representative group leaders speak for those numbers. 
Every debate coach in Texas should send a letter voicing their position on this issue.  Every college debater and former high school student should submit testimony.
I am hoping that leaders amongst our organizational entities - TFA, TSCA, UIL, NFL, NDCA, UDL- Bill Shuetz,  Barbara Mayo, Jana Riggins/Treva Dayton, Scott Wun, Tara Tate, Scott Deatherage will also weigh in and lend their voices to this issue via submission of testimony.  Apparently debate on this issue was extended past deadline by the THECB because the choir teachers in Texas protested being omitted entirely from GPA calculation.  If choir teachers can effectuate a coup on this issue, then surely speech and debate professional organizations can do the same.
Also hoping that college debate coaches and advocacy groups could lend their voice to this discussion and send testimony to the THEBC in recognition that decreased high school debate numbers will eventually impact their own college programs.  If anyone knows any people, or has access to other high school or college debate educators who wouldn't mind weighing in with their own testimony - that would be great.   please forward this message to them.
if anyone wants to contact me -
Russell Rach
Bellaire high School
5100 Maple
Bellaire, TX 77401
rrach at juno.com
rrach at houstonisd.org

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