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Winter 99 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

TCB Insight

By Terrell I. Murphy, Executive Director, Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (formerly known as Texas Commision for the Blind)

The New Year is behind us and most of us are now focused on what lies ahead. The millennium is dominating the news. Most of the stories I hear are negative. They remind me of something I read in Culture Shift, a book written by Price Pritchett about the changing corporate culture. Pritchett writes, "As soon as change starts throwing off sparks, people become preoccupied with all the headaches, aggravations, and fears that come with it. As they say in the newspaper business, `bad news drives good news away'."

Although intended for the changing corporate system, Pritchett's observation also has a universal ring to it. Several fires of change have been started in Texas, and their sparks are definitely in the air. As I'm writing this, the agency is faced with Sunset recommendations that would dismantle the existing rehabilitation system in Texas, the most productive system in the nation, and combine services for people who are blind with services for all people with disabilities. Nationally, changes in welfare reform, workforce incentives, and the national agenda for the education of children and youths with visual impairments are also very hot topics.

We cannot become so preoccupied with the bad news, however, that we ignore all the good things happening today. At no time in my memory have so many people and organizations come together to extinguish the fires that threaten what has been built in Texas. Repeating last issue's acronym, we've become a TEAM (Together Each Accomplishes More). The acronyms that often identify us all as separate, such as TCB, have instead drawn us together because we all have the common goal of making futures bright for adults and children who are blind.

We also cannot afford to label all sparks of change destructive. The Commission has never been content with the status quo and never will be. We all need to stay focused on the main thing---continually improving services to blind Texans. By trusting each other enough to speak frankly and honestly about what is working and what is not, we will continue the progress we've made. Let us not preoccupy ourselves so much with the negative sparks around us that we miss great opportunities to light fires of our own to mold our strong programs in Texas into even stronger programs for people and families dealing with blindness and deafblindness.

"It is dramatic that a state which has existed under six flags should carry high the banner of the blind, leading them out of unequal conditions to self-reliance and accomplishment." Helen Keller, testifying before the Texas Legislature, 1941.

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Last Revision: September 4, 2003