Monday, August 30, 2010

Basic Differences between Texas and Illinois

For those of you who are familiar with the education system in Illinois (per my experience, at least)... and are curious as to how Texas's education system matches up, I introduce the following:

Texas: ARDs (a.k.a. IEP meetings) are well planned and articulated. Prior meetings are held to go over the student's file before parents are even involved. Yes... it's a bit of a "practice" to make sure every one is on top of things and on the same page. So, you know... everyone looks professional. In addition, ARD meetings are not held unless EVERYONE can make it (even including parents and administrators).
Illinois: Meetings are held at the school's convenience... the parent probably won't show up, so just hold the meeting anyway. Forget about administrators coming, unless you're worried these parents are knowledgeable in the legal system and will sue. Professionalism, what?

Texas: Students are taught discipline from day one. This includes learning "duck tails and bubble mouths" in the hallway. Duck tails means hands are put behind a child's back (sometimes the hands point out giving the appearance of duck tails). Bubble mouths mean that the smallest children (kindergarten, 1st grade, etc) are to blow air in their cheeks... after all, if you have air in your cheeks, you can't talk. Also, yes and no ma'am are required. I quote a teacher in Texas saying... "I better see bubbles in your mouths. I shouldn't have to remind you. You've been in school 3 days now!"
Illinois: Discipline is something that everyone hopes for, but consistency is lagging. Students are not held accountable for their actions, and going to the principals office is "fun." Students running and talking in the hallways are the norm. I would often hear, "You've been in school 6 months, and you still can't follow the rules!"

Texas: $$$$$. And, if you have a master's degree (regardless of it being required), you get $1,000 bonus. Speech therapists receive $500 stipend for materials.
Illinois: You have a master's degree? Stupid you... you should've been a dental hygienist. They make way more on a 2-year degree. And please, don't think about asking for materials. Those diagnostic tests from the '70's are still good.

Texas: SLPs are actually respected when it comes to room issues. I have a huge classroom with ample storage, 2 teacher's work areas, three children's tables/centers, and carpeted floors. And, within the first day of employment, I got keys to the buildings and rooms.
Illinois: You needed a space to work? The hallway won't do? Fine..... I guess you can have this closet with the fake, thin walls. But you'll have to fight the teacher who is using it for storage. It's okay when she yells at you in front of the kids. She does that to everyone. Write her up? Forget it! That never does any good. We're to scared of her. Oh, and you want keys? Well, maybe when the secretary who keeps the keys decides if she likes you or not, you can have them. Just don't make her mad. She'll never give you important messages or mail. She runs this school.

Texas: We have a surplus of money due to our laws that require us to have a balanced budget. Therefore, we're giving all the SLPs ipods to track data. And, we'll buy you business cards. Plus, we'll throw in a free memory stick. We also can afford to bring in speakers that will allow you to get all of your continuing education credits free of charge. In addition, we don't take out money for state income taxes or teacher's unions. We're a right-to-work state.
Illinois: We don't have money. The state owes us millions of dollars, but it probably all went to the crooked politicians. So, we'll actually have to cut all the younger staff, who actually lesson plan and care about the students they teach. Yep. We'll hang on to our tenured teachers who many of which don't give a crap about innovative ideas. They've had this stuff planned since the 1980's. Nothing major in education has changed anyway. At least we have a union that can't get the teachers a raise but will stand by when administrators get one.

Think I like it here? Yep. I do. 


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Good Morning from Texas!

I realize I haven't been writing much, especially since the move down to Rockwall. However, this morning, I had my blog in mind. This was our wake-up call...

The Rockwall High School Marching Band! I thought it was so neat that they were parading through local neighborhoods in the morning. They came to our neighborhood around 9am, so it was early, but not crazy. Band Boosters also were running a "bucket brigade" to collect money for the upcoming season. It was so neat to sit out on the front steps of the house and watch them roll by.

Also, for your viewing pleasure... a picture from when my wonderful husband was here in Rockwall. They say everything is bigger in Texas.... everything!

Friday, August 13, 2010

helllloooo, Texas!

Howdy, ya'll! Randy and myself are just having a grand 'ole time here in the big, wonderful state of Texas!

Whew. How was that? I've been practicing my dialect to fit in with the locals. I think I'm doing okay, but I have pulled a few "sorry, I'm from Illinois" lines when I drive. I'm not used to the medium amount of traffic here compared to Alton. But, my old Chicago suburbs driving is all coming back to me, and I've been getting used to the tons of shopping available just 5 minutes away. It's so nice to think that this is actually the town I will live in and not just visit. This place does have everything, including amazing schools with facilities that rival colleges'.

Anyway, on to the fun news.... we made an offer on a house today! Ha! Surprised you, didnt I? Day 4 here and we might have a house. We went looking around at neighborhoods with our realtor and found one we really liked. It's a foreclosure with an interesting back story, but long story short, the couple that owned it wanted a foreclosure on purpose (?) so the wife could be a stay-at-home mom. They were expecting to be kicked out and were ready to move in with in-laws. Okay. Whatever. So, they took great care of the house, and it looks quite immaculate on the inside (minus stained carpet from 3 kids). Here are some pics & specs...

new kitchen cabinets & appliances... lots of counter space & cabinets

master bathroom w/ huge walk-in closet

master bedroom w/ walk-out to patio


Monday, August 9, 2010


Today is the day. Or, perhaps tonight is the night... that I move to Texas. Last night was my last time sleeping in my house as an Illinois resident. Nothing has really hit me yet. I've had a few little twinges of realization, but nothing full blown. It got to me a little last night when I had to say good-bye to my best friends here, Christine and Heston. I feel like I'll see them next week for our Sunday night watching of True Blood. Or, it's like I'll still be seeing her around the school hallways. I'll miss their liberal kinship and hippy ways. But, their nomads, like us, so I'm sure we'll be seeing them around somewhere.

As for the agenda today... final packing of everyday stuff and cleaning the house for the week of showings and realtors. Yep. Our house is officially on the market. Hip hip hooray! I suppose it'd be extremely wishful thinking if we sold the house while we were on vacation in Texas.... right? Ha. Let's just hope it sells period. I'd be happy with that.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Here are some preliminary pictures of our house, soon to be on the market. A small preview, if you will. Our lives have consisted of cleaning, decluttering, and packing. I'm moving, after all, in four days.