Public Notice: Schools and Environment
Dedicate, celebrate, dance to the music
Question: Is Austin truly a progressive city or just a pricey hipster Disneyland? Put another way, does our surfeit of bars, festivals, and barbecue make up for the fact that more than 60% of our city's public school kids now live in poverty?
Earlier this week, Mayor Steve Adler noted Austin's growing economic segregation, and declared it our "fundamental moral and ethical responsibility" to fix this. But will we? And how?
It doesn't take a genius to see there's no better way to address income inequality than making sure all kids have access to a strong public education. But as you may have noticed, brains are in short supply at the Texas Capitol at the moment (as are courage and heart, come to think of it ... where's that damn wizard when you need him?).
That's why every Austinite who claims to care about our growing income divide needs to take two measly hours this Saturday and show up for the Save Texas Schools Rally, April 18, 10am-noon on the south steps of the Texas Capitol. The message is simple, but the stakes couldn't be higher: Stop underfunding and over-testing Texas students, and make sure each of them has access to a solid public education.
With a few brave exceptions, lawmakers are a notoriously skittish bunch and, unless they're taking dictation from the usual well-heeled interests, they generally don't act until pressed to the wall. It's our job Saturday to get them there – and give them the brains, courage, and heart to do the right thing by 5 million Texas kids.
And from there, head right over to:
Austin Earth Day Festival 2015 returns to the Historic Browning Hangar at Mueller, Saturday from noon-6pm, with 10 drumming and dancing acts in a variety of global styles, hands-on demonstrations, about 100 non-profit exhibitors and corporate vendors, a Kid's Zone, local food trailers, and more. There's also a "1970s-style talk show" speaker's panel – including Mayor Adler, County Judge Sarah Eckhardt, County Commissioner Brigid Shea, Pliny Fisk, Chris Riley, and Tom "Smitty" Smith – which will also be broadcast live at www.channel austin.org and KOOP Community Radio, 91.7FM. And it will be a "zero waste" event, thanks to Balcones Resources, East Side Compost Pedallers, Ecology Action, and Green Frontiers Water (remember to BYO bottle).
The 3rd Annual Waller Creek Pop-Up Picnic, benefiting the Waller Creek Conservancy, is this Saturday, April 18, 6:30pm in Palm Park. Pre-purchase delicious-sounding baskets-for-two at www.wallercreekpicnic.org.
The inaugural Shoal Creek Awards, presented by the Shoal Creek Conservancy, celebrates recent successes along the creek with food, drink, music, and a silent auction. Tue., April 21, 5:30-7:30pm at PGi Studios (formerly La Zona Rosa), 612 W. Fourth.
Learn About Parks
The Eilers (Deep Eddy) Neighborhood Park Improvement project anticipates renovations to picnic, play, pathway, and landscape features within this popular waterfront neighborhood park. Come hear what PARD has in mind, and provide input, at a community meeting at 6:30pm, Tue., April 21, in the Harvey Penick Room at the Lions Golf Course Club House, 2901 Enfield Rd.
The Mansfield Dam Low Water Crossing Recreation Area is due for a makeover as well. Come to an open house to learn about the LCRA's proposed improvements and provide feedback. Wed., April 22, 5-8pm (presentations at 5:30 and 7pm), Travis County West Service Center, 4501 N. Hwy. 620.
PARD Hiring Lifeguards: The City Aquatics Division is hosting hiring days through the end of May to help people interested in working as a lifeguard, cashier, or swim instructor, to complete an application, interview, and register for any required training. Thu., April 16, 4-8pm, at the Aquatic Administration and Training Facility, 2818 San Gabriel. www.austintexas.gov/department/lifeguarding-austin.
PARD is also hiring over 150 temporary employees to lead, play and teach children's activities this summer, throughout Austin at various summer camp locations. www.austintexas.gov/summerjobs.
The 2015 Cen-Tex School Bus Roadeo: Drivers compete on obstacle courses designed for school buses of various sizes. Winners in each category will represent Central Texas at the state Roadeo in Frisco, later this summer. 7am, Sat., April 18 at LBJ/LASA High School, 7309 Lazy Creek Dr.
Save Texas Schools supports:
• Making outstanding public education a top priority for Texas.
• Restoring all school funding cuts made by the 2011 Legislature and providing sufficient resources for our growing student population.
• Revising school finance laws to be fair to all students.
• Re-evaluating our high-stakes standardized testing and accountability system, and reducing the burdensome amount of testing the current system produces.
• Using positive community-based solutions [the "Community Schools" model] that are supportive and not punitive to improve struggling schools.