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July 22, 1997


By Peggy McCracken

Meeting new kinfolk
binds family ties

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Family reunions are boring at best and brawls at worst. Or so I thought
until I went to my first with all my siblings and a good number of their
offspring present. Since I married at 16 and left the family nest, we
have gotten together only at our parents' funerals and Daddy's 90th
birthday party. This was different - and very enjoyable.

Dink, the youngest, came from England with his wife, Pat. They stopped
for a week or so in Rhode Island with one of their five children, then
drove to Wichita Falls to visit another daughter who is in the Air Force.

Tootie, next in line, lives in Childress with husband Harry, so we met
at her house for the weekend. That is, I stayed at her house, since
neither her five grown children nor my two could come. Everyone else
stayed in a motel, and we rented the housing authority meeting room two
blocks away for meals and visiting.

Sister came from Amarillo, and two of her five children and their
offspring met her there.

Walter, the "big brother," brought three of his four and some of the
grands. We had all ages, from a baby girl to teenagers to
thirty-something singles and parents to us old heads.

What surprised us old heads was the enthusiasm all the younger ones
showed for our family history, of which there is little on paper.
Tootie, the published poet, is our unofficial historian. She gave each
of us her new book of poetry, which details life during the Great
Depression and thereafter on a series of farms around Flomot. Everyone
perused the poems and copies of Bible pages listing some of our
forebears. Teenagers asked us to tell them stories about our youth,
especially those about their own grandparents.

I enjoyed getting acquainted with the younger crowd, most of whom I had
not met. And getting to know their parents, who were children when I
last saw them. Taking photos with my digital camera, I loaded them into
my laptop computer and showed everyone what they looked like
immediately. It was as popular as Polaroid was a few years ago.

Even sold nephew Larry a web page to advertise his custom furniture and
crafts sculpted of mesquite wood. He brought Dink a mesquite boot that I
would have sworn was real, cowboy-worn leather.

We agreed to meet in England next time - or in Austin - or maybe even
in Pecos. I had considered inviting them this year, but rodeo time is
not the best time to have company when you need lots of motel rooms.
Just wait til next year!

"For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones.
They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be
cut off." Psalm 37:28.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is an Enterprise writer and website manager whose column appears each Tuesday.


Prepare children with new standards

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By Jack Christie, Chairman
State Board of Education

New curriculum standards that will be used to educate Texans well into
the next century won the approval of the State Board of Education this
month. The standards that detail the information students must know will
influence classroom instruction, textbook content, teacher preparation
and the state's testing program for years to come.

The standards are the product of three years of hard work by Texas
educators, national scholars, business leaders, parents and others who
provided valuable input along the way. Public input came in the form of
more than 18,000 faxes, phone calls, letters and electronic messages.
Almost 350 citizens testified in person before the board. That intense
commitment and interest from some of the brightest people in the state
and nation helped forge the new standards, which are called the Texas
Essential Knowledge and Skills or TEKS.

Hundreds of changes were made - some as late as the day before final
adoption - to ensure that the new curriculum standards were the best
they could be. Endorsements of this more rigorous curriculum came from
Gov. George W. Bush, the state's major reading organizations, top
science educators, the Texas Business and Education Coalition and many

The documents, I believe, set higher standards for Texas children. The
curriculum will be more rigorous than it is currently. We have raised
the bar for Texas students and I believe they will rise to the
challenge. The TEKS will impact classroom instruction for the state's
3.7 million public school children beginning in 1998-99. Those changes
will be measured empirically by our state testing program. As Time
magazine noted: "Texas is a national leader in high-stakes testing. . ."

The changes in the curriculum will be apparent on a daily basis in the
classroom. The new standards place greater emphasis on phonics than has
been the case in recent years. They introduce algebraic concepts at an
earlier age. More specific content is outlined in science courses. They
personalize history by making students aware of the people who made the
history. Contrary to fallacious rumors, greater emphasis was put on the
basics, such as grammar, spelling, addition, subtraction, the alphabet
and multiplication tables.

The TEKS represent the first top-to-bottom overhaul of the state's
curriculum since 1984. They replace the curriculum, known as the
essential elements, which for the first time gave Texas citizens some
assurances that students all across the state were covering the same
material at the same grade level.

The new essential knowledge and skills take the next step by returning
some decision-making authority to the local level. The new curriculum
standards detail what students should know. Unlike the essential
elements, the TEKS do not tell educators how to teach the material. We
believe educators on the front line are the ones who should decide what
approach or methodology will work the best in their local community. We
trust local educators to make the right decision because we know they
are working every day to make life better for Texas children.

The TEKS can help Texas public schools rise to new heights. They can help Texas children become the pacesetters for the country.


Teachers see site as good for family

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Dear Editor:

We are two school teachers who would like some coverage for our website
as we travel thru your town. Please view it and get your readers to
visit our site. Kids and families can enter Treasure Hunts and win
prizes. Great idea for idle kids during the summer. Thanks.


Thanks, Alice and Dean Allnutt

Pecos Enterprise
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. Neither these AP Materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for personal and non-commercial use. The AP will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions therefrom or in the transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages arising from any of the foregoing.

Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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