22 candidates for 4 seats
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EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER
HISD board race
By Janet Beals, Ellen Berman
and Barbara Bogue
Candidates for District I are
Edward Sanchez, Mary Parker,
Letha Marion Reynolds, Ginia
Wray Wright, Shirley Wedgeworth,
Ray A. Morrison and Rev. Arturo
1. Coed Phys-Ed
Reactions to Title IX and coed
P.E. classes in Houston schools
were mixed. While Morrison prefers sex-segregation in physical education classes, most other candidates lean toward mixed classes.
Both Parker and Navarro approve
of coed classes if separate dressing rooms are maintained, while
Reynolds sees them as "not necessary, but not objectionable."
Wright and Wedgeworth agree that
the court rulings should be followed by the district, and Wedgeworth
adds his support of coed classes.
Navarro remarks that "the situation
is challenging for all children as
individuals/' Sanchez believes that
HISD is doing its part in enforcement, and that the kids are "doing
OK" with coed classes.
2. Magnet Schools
Almost all candidates in this district spoke positively of the magnet school system. Navarro, the exception, feels that the program has
been over-sold and is a distraction
from the real problem of desegregation. Reynolds and Wedgeworth,
both of whom worked in the early
stages of magnet school development, would like to see the program
expanded. Parker and Wright also
favor an increase in the number of
schools, and Wright adds her wish
for more parent education about
specific programs. Morrison,
Wedgeworth and Sanchez agree
that the system has been successful in helping desegregation. Sanchez calls it "the best school system so far"—but Morrison wants to
see more vocational schools.
3. Sexist Texts
Reactions differed on the treatment of sexist materials in the classroom. Four candidates mentioned
specific action they would take,
while a fifth, Navarro, said simply
that he wants no stereotypes perpetuated in the classroom. Of the
four, Wedgeworth would personally review any questionable text,
while Wright and Morrison would
do their best to remove sexist material. Parker, believing that equal
time should be given to all ideas,
would bring the offending material
to the attention of the board with
the hopes of enacting a policy.
Reynolds disapproves of censorship, but believes that a teacher's
good judgment can balance and influence the contents of a text.
Sanchez feels that a decision of
this nature should be left to the
state committee that handles these
4. Migrant Children
Three candidates,Wright,Wedgeworth and Sanchez, answered the
question of migrant or alien children attendingHISD schools tuition-
free with a firm "no." Wedgeworth
hedged his negative response with
On Nov. 8, voters in Houston Independent School Districts 1, 5, 6,
and 7 will go to the polls to select four new trustees to the HISD board.
The board presides over an operation with a current budget of $379
million and 15,500 employees. The school board in Houston is big business.
A board trustee must be involved in the management of the district's
funds, the selection of architects and contractors for new schools, and
understand bidding procedures.
Although the complex political maneuvering and legal battle over the
breakaway Westheimer Independent School District has grabbed most of
the headlines, there are other issues of equal importance facing the board.
These include continued efforts toward desegregation through the
magnet schools system, progress toward a fully bilingual system and
measures to erase sexism both in the classroom and within the ranks of
With no incumbents among the 22 candidates and scant public debate
on these and other school issues, voters may find the following Breakthrough poll helpful in choosing among the candidates for this political
Here are the questions and the candidates' responses, noted by districts and order of filing.
How do you feel about girls and boys participating in co-ed
physical education classes, as required by Title IX?
Do you feel that the magnet school system has helped to
desegregate the HISD schools?
If a teacher or parent brought sexist texts or teaching materials
to your attention, what would you do about it?
Do you think that the children of Mexican-American migrants
and/or aliens should attend HISD schools tuition-free?
What would you as a new board member do to bring more
women into upper administration in HISD?
Do you think sex education belongs in schools?
In light of the recent Supreme Court decision upholding
the firing of a gay teacher, how would you handle a similar
situation in HISD?
an exception in the case of possible
federal or state financing. Reynolds
also responded in the negative,
saying that the district cannot afford tuition for these non-taxpayers, and that state law must be
obeyed. Parker agrees that finances
are a problem, but argues that aliens do pay taxes indirectly. Her
first concern is for the children,
calling it "false economy" not to
educate them. Navarro agrees that
no child should be denied an education, and sees the issue as a judicial problem.
5. Women Administrators
Only two candidates, Reynolds
and Navarro, said they would seek
out competent female applicants
for upper level administrative jobs,
the latter adding that he would
"work for balance in top positions."
The other five candidates are together in their belief that promotion
should be based strictly on qualifications. Sanchez, noting the high
percentage of women already in
the school system, adds that he'd
have to do some research on the
problem, while Wedgeworth feels
that "we are not that far off in
women administrators." Morrison
does not feel that promotion is the
job of the school board to begin
6. Sex Education
All candidates but Sanchez approve of some form of sex education in the schools. Sanchez feels
that the subject belongs at home,
but is willing to cooperate if parents have other views. Parker approves of parenting classes and
would like to see parents informed
about the contents of the classes;
but she disapproves of the teaching
methods used. Reynolds is in favor
of being open and early about sex
education, and would also like better parent awareness of the schools'
role. She feels we must decide,
"Who will conduct sex education
in the schools, the students or the
teachers?" Wright sees sex education as a necessary subject, to be
taught by a "responsible person"
as early as sixth grade. She emphasized that sex education meant
"hygiene, body development, etc.
-not intercourse!" Wedgeworth
adds that because of the failure of
church and home to do the teaching in this area, the schools must.
Morrison approves, if sexually segregated classes are taught by a person of the same sex. Navarro believes very young children are not
ready, and that classes should begin with 11- to 12-year-olds.
7. Gay Teachers
Onlyone candidate, Sanchez, expressed the opinion that he would
unequivocally fire a homosexual
teacher. "I don't want kids around
those kind of people," he says.
Three candidates, Reynolds, Parker
and Wright, feel that a teacher's
off-duty life is his or her own business, and would not fire a gay teacher unless other factors intervened,
such as classroom performance or
specific complaints from parents.
Parker comments, "I do not feel it
is my responsibility to legislate
morality." Reynolds agrees, and
adds, "In my 39 years with the
school system, I have never known
any homosexuals to be fired for
that reason alone, and I don't see
any reason to start now."
PAGE 6 OCTOBER 1977 HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH