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Most parents want their children to grow up to be kind, compassionate, charitable adults. So when schools sponsor activities which foster giving, most parents are supportive.

In the past few years, a new “giving program” has been developed called “Giving Tuesday.” The group’s website states:

We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

Sounds good. After all, the Christmas Season has always been known in America as our most charitable time of year.
Giving Tuesday” even provides k-12 school curriculum free on their website to help teachers and schools develop “giving” programs and “encourage” everyone – students, staff, parents and the community – to participate.
Sounds like something most Texas parents could support.

But when President Obama issued a “Giving Tuesday” message and Harris County Department of Education (HCDE -the federal government’s back door into Texas public schools) pushed “Giving Tuesday” and linked to the “Giving Tuesday” website for schools to “get ideas,” I decided to look deeper. After all, it wasn’t just a coincidence that Arne Duncan visited HCDE in person.

(Note: HCDE is a leftover government entity from 1889 and a past era of Texas education when counties operated our public schools. It still exists only because of a loophole democrats passed back in 1995. HCDE does not answer to the Texas Education Agency, the Commissioner of Education, or the County Commissioners so they have made themselves the federal government’s liaison into Texas public schools. They by-pass TEA and push the federal “cradle to grave” programs across the state.)

 HCDE not only posted the link to the “Giving Tuesday” website, they encouraged Texas public schools to participate saying:
  • Giving Tuesday” Get Your Campus Involved
  • Teachers will want to know about #GivingTuesday, a global   day for giving back….
  • As a teacher, you can encourage your students and parents to take action
  • Organize an event on your campus
  • Announce a new fundraising initiative for your school that day
  • Please don’t forget about #Giving Tuesday Dec. 2
  • Share your #Unselfie.

But a closer look shows the “Giving Tuesday” free curriculum teaches “lessons” that would not be acceptable to many parents, and certainly not to any conservative ones.

What is this curriculum teaching?
Here are some quotes from the lessons:
Investigate the idea of Privilege in order to raise awareness about the way that both you and others DO and DO NOT experience Privilege in your communities.
Text: “I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege. So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white privilege. I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was “meant” to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools, and blank checks.” – McIntosh, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
1. What does McIntosh mean by “white privilege”? Why is it invisible?
2. What might be in that “invisible package”? Create a list.
3. Why does McIntosh state that white privilege is “meant” to be something that one does not recognize?

ANSWER: “Charity is just writing checks and not being engaged. Philanthropy, to me, is being engaged, not only with your resources but getting people involved and doing things that haven’t been done before.” — Eli Broad
In contrast to 19th century “charity,” which had been destined for the needy (it was a form of social welfare), philanthropy of the 20th century was “for mankind.” The shift from charity to philanthropy occurred when the Rich partnered with progressive elites of the academic world, local governments, and professional associations. They all worked together to generate progress in science, education, human rights and public health…The “foundation” was created at the beginning of the 20th century as a way to channel big money to important social causes designed to promote human progress…Our nation has come to view philanthropy as both a quintessential part of being American and another means of achieving major objectives. American citizens embrace the idea that with rights come duties; we have the duty to work for social justice as members of a larger community.

Do research on the Internet to find out how BIG philanthropy has helped and will continue to help everyone—even those who donate the money. You may want to begin with the following names: Johns Hopkins, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie,
George Soros, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet.

Prior to the airing of a BBC documentary in October 1984, Americans had heard very little about the Ethiopian famine. Since the Reagan administration was reluctant to send provisions directly to this socialist regime, it actually cut its food assistance – to zero – in 1984…After it aired, the BBC film shocked the world: 10 to 12 million people were starving or on the verge of starvation in Ethiopia….The LIVE AID rock concerts in London and Philadelphia in July 1985 sought to raise money for the starving of Ethiopia. An estimated global audience of 1.9 billion, across 150 nations, watched the live broadcast. Famous singers such as Elton John, Madonna, and Phil Collins participated…Mass fundraising efforts led to the distribution of 20,000 tons of food to two million people each month…After the concerts, the Reagan administration changed course and approved $45 million for USAID to buy and transport 80,000 metric tons of food…This event led to the passing of the African Relief and Recovery Act (1985), whereby aid for “rehabilitation” was deemed by Congress to be legal – even in socialist countries. Funding for irrigation projects, seeds and tools, and training in health skills became possible…
Using the following historical notes, teach students about the backlash against President Johnson’s approach to eradicating poverty in the United States.
“In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson launched a War on Poverty: his goal was to create better schools, health, homes, and job opportunities. To attain this goal, the federal government created programs like Head Start, Legal Services, the Job Corps, Medicaid and improvements in Social Security. It was the responsibility of the government to lend a helping hand to the poor. Yet ever since this War on Poverty, conservatives have championed the idea that the poor are responsible themselves for their own poverty with bad attitudes and faulty lifestyles.”
How can you persuade others that your ideas are valid, relevant, and infused with a sense of purpose – without coming across as pushy and without offending your audience?
“Giving Tuesday” states that the purpose of teachers using their curriculum is NOT to foster charity in the hearts of school children, it is to use the students to FUND RAISE. 
Quotes from the curriculum guide:
1. The primary goal of this curriculum is to generate a genuine and authentic commitment to service in your school community by energizing students about fundraising for a specific cause in preparation for #Giving Tuesday….
(You can read the entire curriculum here.)My Observations

Besides being extremely biased, left leaning material, which may be objectionable to many Texas parents, it is questionable if this curriculum is even legal in Texas.
Texas Education Code Sec. 29.906 outlines character education restrictions for Texas public schools. “Charity” (not philanthropy) is a character trait listed in the statute and requires curriculum be approved by a school district committee before being used in the classroom. This committee must consist of:
  • parents of district students;
  • educators; and
  • other members of the community, including community leaders.

Statute also includes the following statement:

This section does not … authorize proselytizing or indoctrinating concerning any specific … political belief.

Texas Education Agency makes no mention of the  “Giving Tuesday” curriculum.
But “Giving Tuesday” was still encouraged by Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) – with a link to the website offering the free curriculum.
In a quick search, I found two other Texas School districts which mention “Giving Tuesday”:


Humble ISD participated through their Education Foundation and offered the link to the “Giving Tuesday” curriculum on their website

An Austin ISD press release states, “Schools put philanthropy curriculum into action…”

If your school district participated in “Giving Tuesday,” you can file a request for public information to find out:

  • Which curriculum was used
  • If the curriculum was pre-approved by your school district committee and
  • Who serves on your district’s committee

You can get more involved by volunteering to serve on your district’s Character Education Committee in the future.

A final note: Texas Representative Debbie Riddle has been trying to close the loophole which allows HCDE to continue to operate. Last Session she authored HB945  (with Fletcher/Miller, Rick/ Elkins/Toth) but the Texas House Public Education Committee blocked her efforts.
You may contact the Texas House and Senate Education Committees as well as your own representatives and let them know Texas conservatives want the Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) closed.Colleen Vera

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“Tortured language” Used To Promote Common Core in Texas

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twisted language

Dec 6, 2014 by

By Niki Hayes



            “Tortured language” has been an important government tool for years. (Just ask Jonathan Gruber, chief architect of ObamaCare, who bragged about the use of tortured language in writing that controversial piece of legislation.)  Such “tortured writing” uses euphemisms and flimflam when taking falsehoods and twisting them so that people will misconstrue them as truth.


A new example in Texas is the Education Service Center 11 (ESC 11), a governmental agency, with its chart comparing Common Core math standards with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards.  (To see the ESC 11 chart, please go to:


ESC 11’s chart claims that Common Core and TEKS are equal in content and scope. Therefore, they say schools can buy Common Core-aligned materials and feel safe that the materials support our TEKS. This is pure flimflam – “tortured language.”


I was a member of the Texas math curriculum standards writing team when we wrote the new 2012 Math TEKS.  I can state unequivocally that the new Math TEKS that we wrote and the Texas State Board of Education adopted are not the same as the federally-driven Common Core math standards. 


First, our TEKS document is a brand name product that was developed by 80 citizens who put in 12-hour days during three separate meetings over four months. We were charged with developing quality standards that would benefit our children and Texas citizens. We built our TEKS starting with a draft first created by a panel of mathematics experts that was commissioned by the Texas Education Agency (TEA); then we researched specific states with outstanding math standards at the time (such as Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Indiana). Most importantly, we brought to the table professional knowledge and experiences as educators in Texas classrooms. We knew our state’s children and their needs. The TEKS were personal to us.


In contrast, Common Core is a generic brand created largely by unknown individuals outside of Texas. Some of the main writers, whose names were finally released publicly, had never even been classroom teachers.  For many reasons, not the least of which is cost, numerous states are now struggling to back out of their federal Common Core contracts.


Even though Texas was one of the few states that said “NO” to the Common Core, one of the Texas Education Agency staffers tried to urge our Math TEKS writing team to use the Common Core Math Standards to craft our Math TEKS.  As a member of the Grade 3 – 5 team, I made it clear that we should not be looking at the Common Core Standards for guidance since Texas had refused to adopt Common Core Standards from their inception.


The same TEA staff member resisted efforts to have the required use of the “standard algorithms” specified in the TEKS. (This is the procedure used in multiplication and division that our parents and grandparents learned and which is used internationally.)  The staffer said standard algorithms are considered a “traditional math” approach and were thus considered inferior by many math reformers. 


I also wanted a restriction against the use of calculators for daily problem solving in elementary grades. Reformers on the writing team supported the push for technology in K-12 rather than the traditional methods (paper and pencil) of student learning.


Even though I vociferously advocated for standard algorithms and the restriction against calculator use among elementary students in Grades K-5, I was losing the debate. Therefore, I contacted Dr. James Milgram, one of the panel experts hired by TEA, and asked for his help.  He stepped forward, and a higher-up official at the TEA also got involved.  References to the Common Core by the TEA staff ceased.  The required teaching of standard algorithms and the restricted use of calculators in Grades K-5 were adopted in the final Math TEKS document.   


Despite some philosophical differences on what we should include in the Math TEKS, our group did agree that the standards had to be explicit, direct, and clear. They had to be understandable not only for elementary teachers (many of whom fear mathematics and need clarity and brevity in instructions) but also for parents as well.


Our TEKS writing team agreed that the new TEKS standards had to be measurable with objective criteria and that each element had to be testable through objective measurements.  Our team knew that the new TEKS would not be perfect but that they needed to be traditionally oriented standards (a.k.a., Type #1) as compared with the 1997 TEKS which were “fuzzy” standards (a.k.a., Type #2).


The chart that ESC 11 has created attempts to show that Common Core’s “process standards” match our new TEKS “process standards” and that makes Common Core and TEKS similar in scope. That is ridiculous!  The new Math TEKS standards that our writing team finally produced in 2012 has strong and specific expectations listed in the “Introduction” before each grade level.  No such clear, explicit, competency-based language is found in the Common Core.


Next, the public needs to look at our final TEKS Math Standards and compare those definitive and clear statements with Common Core’s wordy, complex explanations, many of which are not understandable because of the confusing and complicated wording. (Federal or state curriculum standards are also not supposed to mandate pedagogy [how to teach]; that is to be left up to the local educators.)  


Below is a comparison example from the Math TEKS and from the Common Core:


TEKS, Grade 5, Number and Operations 3.H:


“Represent and solve addition and subtraction of fractions with unequal denominators, referring to the same whole using objects and pictorial models and properties of operation.”


Common Core, (same standard but labeled NF1 and NF2):


“Add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators (including mixed numbers) by replacing given fractions with equivalent fractions in such a way as to produce an equivalent sum or difference of fractions with like denominators. For example, 2/3 + 5/4 = 8/12 + 15/12 = 23/12. (In general, a/b + c/d = (ad + bc/bd). Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions referring to the same whole including cases of unlike denominators, e.g., by using visual fraction models or equations to represent the problem. Use benchmark fractions and number sense of fractions to estimate mentally and assess the reasonableness of answers. For example, recognize an incorrect result 2/5 + 1/2 = 3/7 by observing that 3/7 < 1/2.”


In numerous cases, there are additional Common Core standards that, if utilized, would add to the already packed TEKS.  This would not help educators prepare their students for the STAAR-End-of-Course tests. Why risk wasting time, energy, and money on unproven and generic materials (Common Core) when the traditional approach to math has been proven successful for generations, in spite of those educators who say it hasn’t?


Speaking of time, it is time for many of these education “leaders” to have to teach for one year in a classroom and use the directives and requirements they have put on classroom teachers. These leaders should also be required to receive the credit or the blame for any poor student achievement.


More to the point, why are Texas education service centers, administrators, and political leaders allowing ESC 11’s false narrative and chart to be presented to teachers and parents as truth, especially when it is against state law to use Common Core materials and standards in Texas as stated by the Texas Attorney General (TAG). (Re: Use of the Common Core Standards Initiative by Texas school districts to teach state standards. RQ-1175-GA —


Why are Texas leaders ignoring the TAG’s ruling and flaunting the law by using public tax dollars for illegal purchases by school districts and ESC’s?


I believe if Texas leaders had led their classroom teachers to teach the new Math TEKS when adopted in 2012, rather than waiting until they were required to do so in 2014, students’ scores on this year’s STAAR and End-of-Course math tests would have shown considerable improvement.


School leaders should make sure all students in Texas public schools have instructional materials that teach the fact-based, clearly stated, explicit, grade-level specific, measurable requirements as outlined in our state’s Math TEKS.


Texas children, teachers, and parents deserve clarity, not confusion, from their leaders on education issues. That includes their not being victimized by curriculum materials such as Common Core that use “tortured language” and make material unnecessarily difficult to understand. 



CORRECTION TO PODCAST: In 2012 the Math TEKS (Texas’ curriculum standards) were adopted in K-12 by the elected members of the Texas State Board of Education; however, the K-8 Math TEKS were not required to be implemented fully into the schools until 2014 when the textbooks (e.g., instructional materials – IM’s) were available for purchase. The high-school Math TEKS are not required to be implemented fully until 2015-16 when the new Math IM’s will be available for districts to purchase.


12.3.14 — PODCAST – Alice Linahan of Women on the Wall — conference call with Nakonia (Niki) Hayes, the author of The Story of John Saxon




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Texas Education Commissioner Williams, Validates Texas on Common Core Path

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TAWA Texas Icon Red


In 2011 Education Week reported that Texas was pulling out of the Council of Chief State School Officers, a influential Washington Organization due to philosophical differences.  Robert Scott the Texas Education Commissioner at the time felt the values of Texas and CCSSO did not line up not to mention the CCSSO was behind creating national standards aka Common Core. The  organization Achieve is another Washington group (surprised?) behind creating the Common Core standards and the philosophy behind it. Achieve Texas is a subsidiary of the Washington group.

Unfortunately this week the current Texas Education Commissioner, Michael Williams appears to be proud that Texas is now becoming a national leader with meeting some of the goals of CCSSO. You can read his comments below.


ccsso photo


Informed activist across the state knew that HB 5 was just another step to be completed for those behind the national education reform. Setting students up on Career Pathways before they are old enough to have any true life experiences in making an educated decision as to a career path is a shame. Students today have become to the state cogs in a wheel for the powers at be. Along with the education reform comes data collection from the time a child enters the public school system through out their career. Texas has implemented the Longitudinal Data System. All data is open to 3rd parties and the data collected ranges from test scores, disciplinary actions, medi,cation religion, political affiliation, etc.


After finding a social studies assignment within the controversial curriculum Cscope, sold by the Texas Education Service Centers calling for students to draw a new Communist Flag  I am greatly concerned where we in Texas are heading.


Parents need to wake up!!



College and Career Ready

Teaching to the Core

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Common Core scares Chinese immigrant who grew up under Chairman Mao

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Bob Kellogg is a freelance journalist. His work regularly appears on

PARKER, Colo. – Having grown up in communist China during Chairman Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, Lily Tang Williams of Parker, Colorado, says the Common Core national standards being imposed on America’s public education system scare her.

Lily Tang WilliamsShe came to the United States from China to further her law degree. But after a time, she decided she loved the freedoms and opportunities that America provided and decided not to go back. She now has three children. One of her two sons was just graduated from the Air Force Academy and the other is working full time and going to school part time. Her 15-year-old daughter is a sophomore in high school. In the midterms, she ran for a seat the Colorado Legislature as a Libertarian.

Recently, she decided to educate herself about Common Core. She says there are things about it that remind her of her education growing up in China. She tells EAGnews that her number one concern is the data collection, the data mining, of children and their parents.

“That’s what we had in China…every child will have a file, actually every citizen in China has a so-called ‘personnel file.’ And this ‘personnel file’ will document everything. When you are in school, they document your family political class, your gender, your age, your home address, your grades, you behaviors, political correctness. So everything is in that file.”

Common Core encourages such data collection. Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project says schools implementing the Core are increasingly conducting surveys to acquire very personal information about students. It’s a means of getting state and federal funding. She says the surveys are not directly related to Common Core.

But she says, “It’s all part of an educational progressive mindset. [Educational progressives] have got to have every school doing the same standards and ultimately with the same curriculum. And [they’ve] got to collect data on anything and everything because otherwise how can they know what’s effective and what’s not effective.”

Robbins says they’ve got to know everything in order to control everything.

Williams says the personnel files in China follow a person throughout his or her life and exerts a lot of control over individuals, where they can live and where they can work. She says she doesn’t want to see the same thing happen in this country.

Williams is also very concerned about the Common Core curriculum and standardized testing. She says the ‘Advance Placement U.S. History’ course, for one thing, is worrisome because they’ve taken out a lot of the American exceptionalism, information about the Founding Fathers and capitalism is only mentioned three times. Entrepreneurship is gone.

“So basically what they teach our kids is basically the leftist agenda and focus on what they want your kids to learn,” she says. “And that really worries me because I came to this country because of the Constitution, the rights, the values, individual liberties….that sounds like music to me because I never had those in China.

“But now they’re going to teach our kids not to focus on those individual liberties and American exceptionalism, and capitalism and free market…and they’re going to teach another kind, leftist agenda that is like a garbage agenda.

“Haven’t we learned from the past that communism and socialism don’t work? We’re in trouble because children are our future. If they control our education of our children, they will control this country’s future.”

Another concern is the standardized tests that go along with Common Core. In China the National College Entrance Exam is very competitive. It lasts for three days and all kids have to take it. And if they don’t pass, they don’t make it into college and it is considered a great humiliation.

“Some kids even commit suicide either before the test or after the test because the pressure is so big,” Williams says. “So why do we want to become like China? Those kids have a low life. Those kids are miserable. It’s all about training them to be test-takers, test machines, not critical thinkers.”

She says she has become very passionate about speaking out against Common Core. She says she feels morally obligated to tell her story so she can wake up Americans. Recently, she testified before the Colorado Board of Education and told them: Common core, in my eyes, is the same as the communist core I once saw in China…. Nationalized testing nationalized curriculum and nationalized indoctrination…. I cannot believe this is happening in this country. I don’t know what happened to America, the shining city on the hill. Chinese children are not trained to be independent thinkers….They are trained to be massive skilled workers for corporations.”

Williams has written an open letter she is releasing titled, “A Chinese Immigrant Mother Against Common Core.” She tells EAGnews she is sending the letter to the president, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Department of Education, her representatives in Congress and the school board members in her daughter’s district.

A video of her testimony before the Colorado Board of Education has gone viral and she says she’s been getting requests for radio and print publication interviews. She also has been invited to speak to New Yorkers United for Kids.




By virtue of her passion about the issue, she has become an activist who’s is trying to get others involved in opposing Common Core. Her website is and she encourages people to log in and download her letter so they can take it to their districts’ school board meetings and present it to their board members.








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“Federal Report: Special-Needs students, English learners ‘significantly underrepresented’ at Harmony Schools”

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11.26.14 – Dallas Morning News


“Federal report: Special-needs students, English learners ‘significantly underrepresented’ at Harmony charter schools”


By Holly K. Hacker 

Updated at 3:19 p.m.: I just spoke with Robert Schulman, a lawyer who represents Harmony. He called the agreement “a very positive thing.” Harmony does not discriminate against students, he stressed. “They had to make the appropriate policy and process changes that were necessary for full compliance, and they did.”

Original post: Harmony Public Schools, one of Texas’ biggest charter school networks, reached an agreement today with the U.S. Department of Education over how it enrolls and teaches children who have disabilities or are learning English.

The department’s Office for Civil Rights investigated the Harmony network and found that English-language learners (ELL) and students with disabilities “are significantly underrepresented in their enrollment in (Harmony) charter schools . . . compared to the enrollment of ELL students and students with disabilities in the public school districts in the same geographic area.”

In the Harmony schools examined, 11.5% of students were learning English, compared to 22.5% of students in the neighboring traditional school districts. Students with disabilities comprised 2.7% of Harmony’s enrollment, compared to 7.3% of students in neighboring districts. Of the four Harmony school districts studied, three are in the Houston area. The fourth has campuses in Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, Euless and Duncanville.

Charter schools, which are public schools run by private non-profit groups, cannot exclude or discriminate against students based on their race, disability or language. They’re supposed to educate the same kinds of kids as traditional public schools — including students who may be more difficult or costly to educate.

The Department of Education did not find that Harmony blatantly tried to exclude certain students. But it did find practices and policies at Harmony that could have that effect. From the department’s letter to Harmony:

OCR (Office for Civil Rights) is concerned, however, that the exclusion from admission and enrollment in HPS (Harmony Public Schools) charter schools of students with a documented history of a criminal offense, juvenile court adjudication or discipline problems may improperly contribute to the lower enrollment of students with disabilities or ELL students in the HPS charter schools. Statistics show that students with disabilities and ELL students tend to be overrepresented among students subject to school discipline in Texas.

In addition, the published enrollment procedures (which require students to provide their birth certificates and social security numbers, among other documents) may chill or lead to the exclusion of students based on their or their parents’ citizenship or immigration status. OCR is also concerned that the publication of these procedures alone may dissuade some parents of ELL students from applying to HPS charter schools.

I called Harmony’s main office in Houston for comment. The voice mailbox is full. I’ve emailed the school system for comment, too. As soon as I hear something from them, I’ll post an update.

The Department of Education’s letter notes that before the investigation was complete, Harmony Public Schools “expressed an interest in voluntarily resolving the review” and proposed an agreement to resolve compliance problems.

You can read Harmony’s agreement with the Department of Education below. It spells out the steps that Harmony will take. Below that, I’ve posted the letter.

Harmony Agreement 11.26.14

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TEA Schedules Students to Fail

                 by Janice VanCleave

The revised elementary math TEKS are above grade level.

The math TEKS are designed for a 36 week school year. Since the STAAR tests are given in April, teachers have about 24 weeks instead of 36 weeks to teach all of the math TEKS.

The STAAR tests are given in April to provide time during the school year for retesting.

TEA sets the testing date early knowing that students do not have enough time to learn all the TEKS. Thus TEA is responsible for the low performance on the STAAR tests. Retesting is very expensive. Who benefits from the retesting? Not our children.

Once the STAAR tests are taken, students who pass are given busy work for about 6 weeks while students who fail are retested.

Not only are the TEKS increasing in difficulty, teachers are not given ample number of instructional days to prepare students.

The same is true for every course being tested.

What is the purpose of giving STAAR tests? It has nothing to do with education.


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School Superintendent Secures Job with School Contacts with Tax Dollars

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Reported is,  former Huntsville ISD superintendent Steve Johnson   had retired leaving the school district looking for a new superintendent. If the truth be known, Mr. Johnson has secured a position at Education Service Center VI but not without first finalizing and approving thousands of dollars worth of contracts between Huntville ISD and ESC VI.  Seriously? Is there not something wrong with this picture.


huntsville contracts

Mr. Johnson began his new “retirement” on 9/1/14 with a salary of $76, 814. If only all those who retired could be so lucky. The scratch my back and I will scratch yours is rampant throughout the Texas Education system. Huntsville ISD also has a school board member Sam Moak whose wife Kathy Moak  works for  ESC VI on the services provided to Huntsville ISD. I have yet to find where Mr. Moak has recused himself from voting on the contracts.


steve johnson


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Progressive Bias Rampant In Texas Textbooks

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by Merrill Hope

DALLAS, Texas — On the week of November 17-21, the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) will reconvene for a final week of meetings in the ongoing Social Studies textbook adoption process. Called Proclamation 2015 to reflect the 2015-16 school year that these instructional materials will be implemented. The Social Studies textbooks were last updated last in 2002.

A new 469-page Social Studies Textbook Review compiled by Truth in Texas Textbooks (TTT) was presented to the SBOE and the publishers. It is now online. It covers subjects of World History, U.S. History, World Geography & Culture, Texas History, US Government and Economics that were presented to the SBOE for adoption consideration. There is also a Summary of Findings of Factual Errors, Omission of Facts, Half-Truths and Agenda Bias.

Breitbart Texas has reported on the Social Studies adoption process, noting Texas Freedom Network’s (TFN) beef with the open and transparent process that requires public participation. Breitbart Texas also reported on the troubling textbook findings that emerged — blaring historical omissions, factual errors and leftwing bias.

TFN education establishment progressives have painstakingly tried to convince Americans that the Texas public K-12 Social Studies department has been taken hostage by the Tea Party and Christian evangelicals.

Through TFN’s Education Fund (TFNEF), they “contracted” professors at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, the University of Mary Washington in Virginia and the University of Texas at Austin for a review independent of the one conducted by the SBOE, according to TFN.

In the ideological war for the classroom, TFN president Kathy Miller was a CSCOPE proponent. TFN is sympathetic to Common Core, which was not adopted in Texas. The non-profit claims to be non-partisan. In 2014, they contributed to the Texas Democratic Party.

Breitbart Texas looked at TFNEF’s Texas Rising, which seeks out “young leaders” on Texas college campuses for the group’s stated mission — to develop a “social justice-minded” generation to push “progressive public policy in Texas.”

On the other hand, TTT, also conducted an independent review. Coalition founder Ret. Lt. Col. Roy White told Breitbart Texas they formed for the “single purpose of improving the factual accuracy of social studies textbooks for the five million children of Texas who will use these textbooks beginning in the 2015-16 school year.”

These unpaid reviewers included scholars, curriculum accuracy experts and 100-plus volunteers who donated thousands of hours to reviewing the Social Studies textbook. Among them were Dr. Andrew Bostom, Associate Professor of Medicine at Brown University Medical School also known for his recognized analyses on Islam, Jihad and Muslim anti-Semitism; and Dr. Amy Jo Baker, the retired director of Social Studies for the San Antonio Independent School District and president of the Texas Council for History Education. She is affiliated with the National Council for History Education.

Dr. Sandra Alfonsi, who oversees textbook review programs for ACT! for America and Textbook Alert, also participated. Previously, she told Breitbart Texas that the textbooks were loaded up with bias — progressive bias.

TTT reviewed the same textbooks as TFN — from publishing giants Pearson, McGraw Hill, Discovery Education, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Worldview, Perfection, and Cengage.

TFN’s review netted hysterical headlines about Moses as the father of our country. A former SMU educrat trembled to the Texas Tribune that students would believe that the Hebrew lawgiver “was the first American.”

Barring leftwing hyperbole, someone thought he played some role. The perceived likeness of Moses adorns the US Supreme Court with the 10 Commandments. He is also the central of 23 historical figures hanging overhead in the House Chamber of the United States Capitol.

The Washington Post, the Associated Press (AP) and the Huffington Post all chimed in on TFN’s false narrative, alleging a fantastical rightwing grip on Texas public education, attacking the textbook adoption process itself for allowing Joe Public to participate, and slamming the Texas education state standards, which TFN opposes.

In their review, TFN bashed government and U.S. history textbooks that “suffer from an uncritical celebration of the free enterprise system.” They lamented that the “legitimate problems of capitalism” and “the government’s role in the U.S. economic system” were omitted. They targeted the Tea Party repeatedly. In one instance, they blamed constitutional conservatives for one government book espousing “anti-taxation and anti-regulation arguments.”

TFN’s never-ending left-of-left politically motivated agenda included the usual suspects — climate change science and social justice-based math, but what about the facts?

Ironically, TFN’s meme of textbook honesty has been “Those who don’t know history are destined to delete it.”

TTT’s review was equally revealing, addressing factual flaws that TFN academic sleuths overlooked or missed.

For example, in Pearson Magruder’s American Government, the pivotal role that the 40th U.S. President Ronald Reagan played in the Berlin Wall being torn down was omitted. In fact, the factually documented work of Reagan, Britain’s then Prime Minister, the late Margaret Thatcher, and the Pope in the fall of the Soviet Union was non-existent.

“The Soviet Union did not have the resources to implement a ‘Star Wars’ system that Reagan supported. Others have already chronicled the role Reagan, Thatcher, and John Paul II played in the last great revolution of the 20th century. That it was largely a peaceful revolution in the context of decades of nuclear menace makes it all the more breathtaking,” the TTT review stated.

Sometimes facts are just facts and they have no political agenda. Case in point: In Pearson’s United States History 1877 to Present students are given an exercise to analyze a map. They are asked what can they predict about where the major battles of World War I would be fought.

Problem was “they have not yet been given any of the facts concerning any of the reasons for WWI or the countries involved,” stated Alfonsi.

Before predicting events, she said students “need to be given the facts upon which they are to base their analysis.”

In another example, Pearson presented a misleading statistic as fact, accounting for “more than 120 million who did not vote in the last presidential election.” The correct figure is 102 million. The TTT review explained that textbook writers erroneously folded into their calculation, 20 million resident aliens.

“Resident aliens are not allowed to vote in federal elections. Their voting in federal elections is a criminal offense that can result in one year in prison and deportation,” the TTT review noted.

This flub came up in McGraw Hill’s U.S. History to 1877 — three lessons on Islam were inserted into a chapter on North American development and history. TTT tagged it “irrelevant to the topic.”

Houghton Mifflin’s United States History: Early Colonial Period through Reconstruction also plunked irrelevant Islamic history into a Teacher’s Edition class exercise “designed to focus student attention on Islam,” wrote Baker and Alfonsi.

Discovery Education felt the same urge to plop the Arab world into 19th Century American history. In U.S. History: Civil War to Present, a drawing of the Arabian Coast in 1859 accompanies a drawing that describes how, with the advent of the telegraph in America, “companies rushed to put up telegraph lines all across the country and the seas.”

The American West’s cowboy was historically attributed to 8th Century North African Moors by Discovery Education. The role of the horse was credited incorrectly to the Spaniards first learning to handle horses and use them effectively as wartime tools because of the Moors. TTT noted that the Spain’s history with the horse pre-dated the Moors’ invasion.

Islamic historical intrusions appeared in other American history books. In a section about annexing the Philippines was instead a “story from the Byzantine Empire.” A Women of the West chapter linked to 10 videos on the women of Afghanistan in the “more to explore” section. Immigrant Women contained videos on Israel and the Middle East.

TTT scholars agreed that these videos were more appropriate in a World History and not US History textbook. Conversely, TFN lamented negative stereotypes of Islam in their report.

In a Houghton-Mifflin US History book, the importance of the Bill of Rights was omitted “even though events that are counter to those rights are addressed,” the review emphasized.

McGraw Hill’s American Revolution chapter in U.S. History to 1877 deleted the battles of Lexington and Concord. There was no mention of Paul Revere other than in a side reference to him as a former slave’s ride. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were the only Southern Generals acknowledged historically. Not even Braxton Bragg, namesake of Fort Bragg, was mentioned.

TTT reviewers found that McGraw Hill’s U.S. History to 1877 largely ignored the checks and balance system of American government and left out that members of the courts (judiciary) have to be nominated by the President and approved by the Senate.

Examples of PC cherry-picked information in McGraw Hill’s American Government included “executive privilege” It was presented with former president Bush invoking six privileges, “including to avoid giving Congress information on the use of FBI mob informants” while President Obama was said to have invoked the privilege by executive order only one time for “Fast and Furious.” Reviewers noted biased diction that made Bush’s actions appear nefarious while Obama’s noble. President Clinton’s 14 executive privileges were not mentioned.

Partial truths ran rampant, according to the TTT review. Houghton Mifflin told half of the story of DDT, the insecticide, exposing the negative effects but none of the positive, primarily in curtailing malaria outbreaks in Africa.

TTT noted that Hispanic-rights groups La Unida Raza (La Raza) and MEChA were depicted only in a positive light, omitting Reconquista calls to overthrow the U.S. government. This radical ideology was the reason Tucson Unified School District shut down and banned its Mexican-American Studies program in Arizona.

In other textbooks, pro-lifers were depicted as aggressive “abortion foes” while pro-abortion demonstrators were portrayed as peaceful. Hezbollah was never mentioned as an Islamic terrorist organizations but again, the Tea Party was called out as “militant, radical and fascist.”

Another textbook stated that the U.S. has a “national government,” which TTT reviewers cited as factually incorrect. “The U.S. Constitution created a ‘federal’ government of nation-states that grant a federal system limited powers,” they stated. “Limited powers” of the federal government was omitted. Worldview’s American History left out America’s founding fathers.

Right now, publishers are responding to these textbook reviews and SBOE recommendations. White hopes that after reading TTT’s findings, concerned Texans will attend the final textbook adoption meetings. Public comments are encouraged at the meeting on Tuesday, November 18, at 1 PM in Austin. The SBOE votes on the Social Studies books on Friday, November 21.

Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.

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I am receiving complaints from parents across the state of Texas including the Grand Prairie ISD School District in regard to the math that is implemented. Students are struggling and are frustrated and are crying to be home schooled. These radical changes are planned and are not implemented with the children’s best interest at heart. The Common Core standards are being implemented across the State of Texas. The math 5th grade TEKS align side by side with the 5th grade common core standards. Common Core is about collecting data on students and level the playing field for all students. The philosophy behind this transformation is a Marxist one based on the collective, school districts across the state are implementing it. They refer to it by a host of different terms, Project Based Learning, Outcome based Education , Student Centered Learning and 21st Century Learning.

Below you will see that Grand Prairie’s  Fannin Middle School Math Department have linked to an online program called Think Through Math which aligns with the common core standards.













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Bonds for Crony Contractors, Not Kids

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Bonds for Crony Contractors, Not Kids

Not only did Keller ISD conduct a pre-bond campaign research poll specifically designed to manipulate November’s voters in potential conflict with state law, but the crony contractors they will hire if the proposition passes are also funding the pro-bond PAC operating the “Vote YES” campaign.

According to campaign finance reports, over 96% of the $25,890 in contributions to “Vote Yes for Keller Schools” came from either employees of contractors who will be hired by KISD, or directly from the companies themselves.

VLK Architects, Pogue Construction, TNP, Corgan Associates, Northstar Builders Group and Eric Hanfield were the largest contributors, with each contributing $1000 to $5000. The United Education Association, Inc. also gave $500 to the cause.

We’ve previously reported on the collusive relationship between the Fast Growth School Coalition (FGSC), school board trustees, the “educrat” establishment, and the construction industry who all profit off bonds filled with over-priced projects.

In fact, Keller ISD Superintendent Dr. Reid, is Vice President of the FGSC, a voluntary association of ISDs who’ve organized for the explicit purpose of lobbying legislators to raise your property taxes and eliminate existing borrowing limits. And yes, the lending, investing, design and construction firms like Pogue who stand to profit are also FGSC’s “Corporate Partners”, according to their own website.

Due to excessive debt, districts like KISD are near the current $0.50 property tax limit, with a total taxpayer liability of over $1.4 billion (including principal & interest), or over $42,000 per student. That’s nearly three times the state average in a state with the second highest, per capita local debt.

Without property tax limits, districts like KISD will be able to continue their endless borrowing binge, providing plenty of capital to contractors who then turn around and finance future “Vote YES” PACs to pressure voters into approving even more.

It’s a vicious cycle…but the corruption has much deeper roots.

At this year’s Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) Convention, companies like VLK Architects schmoozed school board trustees at Pappas Brothers’ Steakhouse with wildly expensive steak dinners…and unlimited bar tabs.

Even worse, since each district pays for their own officials and bureaucrats to attend the convention, hard-working taxpayers are on the hook for both event admission and a four-night stay at luxurious hotels, which can total over $1400 per attendee.

Not only do voters need to see the total cost of bond propositions on the actual ballot (which Keller ISD refused to do), they should understand that ominous bond projects largely benefit crony contractors, not kids.

Next time you see a “Vote YES” sign, remember, an architectural firm likely paid for it.

On November 4th, help kids and their tax-paying parents, not contractors.

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Texas Education has been Destroyed

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education destroyed


Texas education is for from being autonomous. Federal agencies have their hand in every aspect of the Texas education system and parents and teachers are really starting to realize the reform taking place. I don’t see a need for the Texas Education Agency any longer.

Education is the biggest expenditure in the state and they keep screaming for more money but we all know it is not for the classroom. The corruption taking place is astronomical and the students are the ones that suffer.

The Committee of Economic Development partnered with the Texas Association of School Administrators and wrote the following policy brief. which outlines the radical reforms taking place across the country with the implementation of common core even in Texas (though they don’t call it that here).  It is not surprising that the research brief is funded by no other than the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


An assembly line approach to education is being implemented and equality, social emotional learning and the building of a global society is what our education system is becoming about. The destruction of America and it’s values will be the unfortunate result.

























Texas Education Service Center 13 in Austin presently is looking for someone to fill their Gestapo position. It has to be a certified teacher of at least 5 years teaching experience and you can go fill this postition at a minimum salary of approximatley $50, 000. This individual also would benefit by having some knowledge of the Cscope system. Why? Cscope is about a Marxist philosophy of teaching based on the collective.

content specialist


Below are Notes from the document above making reference to info and individuals involved in this process.

Karla Burkholder, Ed.D.

Karla Burkholder



Here is another document put out by Texas Association of School Administrators.


Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) is funded with our tax dollars through our local school districts millions yearly. Their office is 2 blocks away from the state capitol and when the legislative session opens they spend their time lobbying our legislators for bills that will profit their agenda.

TASA has created a transformation program called Creating a New Vision, a plan to transform and reform our Texas School districts.




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Has Your Child Failed the TX Math STAAR TEST?

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Many students across the State of Texas failed by record numbers the State STAAR test during the following 2 school years  2012/2013 & 2013/2014. Since passing scores for the STAAR test are not decided until after all the STAAR test have been completed, in response to the failing scores the passing grade was then lowered.
Who is actually in charge over what is going on in Education has yet to be determined. Why are students failing is outlined below. It would appear to me that a child that was held back due to their failing math scores have grounds for a lawsuit.
In 2006 Math TEKs K-12 were written. They were written for the current state TAKS test.
Problem: These same TEKS were used for the STAAR Tests given in April 2012, April 2013, and April 2014.
Changing from the TAKS to the STAAR was done so that a more rigorous math test would be given. The problem is that the TEKS were not revised to prepare students for the more rigorous STAAR math tests.
2012 Revised Math TEKS K-12 were Approved by the SBOE and shelved so that textbook companies had time to prepare their products so they aligned with the new revised math TEKS.
Problem: The SBOE knew the math TEKS used for the TAKS tests were being used for the math STAAR tests, which was given for the first time in April 2012.
TEA and the SBOE as well as the Commissioner of Education knew that students were taking more rigorous math STAAR tests and teachers were given the same math TEKS used for the less rigorous TAKS tests.
The ESCs also knew this and yet sold new CSCOPE math lessons that were to be used to prepare kids for the more rigorous STAAR tests.
The Math TEKS approved in 2006 are Word for Word the same as the TEKS used last year to prepare kids for the STAAR 2014 math TESTs.
Commissioner Williams had the guts to say that Texas students are not receiving rigorous class instructions thus are not prepared for the more rigorous STAAR tests. He did not point out that the Math TEKS for the TAKS tests were used for the STAAR math tests in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

2014 Revised math TEKS K-8 implemented. These are the math TEKS that were approved in April 2012 and shelved by the SBOE until the 2014-2015. While waiting for the book publishers, TEA use the old 2006 math TEKS to prepare kids for the more rigorous STAAR math tests. Thus, TEA was assured that more kids would fail the math STAAR tests and more kids would have to be retested.  Who benefited financially by this? 
2015 Revised math Teks 9-12 will be implemented.
This means that students in 9-12 will again be taking math STAAR tests using the old math TEKS.
*5th grade new math teks are exactly aligned with Common Core.
* after the 3rd edition a different company purchased Saxon and they have now aligned it with Common Core.


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Texas Teachers Cloned

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Texas is Cloning Teachers
The Texas’ education system is made up of different groups that are supposed to work together. If they actually did work together, Texas would be providing the the best education in the world.

The Texas Education Service Centers are Cloning Teachers

Texas ESCs Are
Cloning Teachers

One reason the different parts of the Texas Education System do not work together is that the Commissioner of Education has allowed the different agencies to basically do their own thing.

1. The State Board of Education (SBOE) is in charge of the TEKs-state standards. There is no verification that these standards are correct. No verification that the groups writing the TEKS are qualified.
2. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is in charge of STAAR/EOC tests that are suppose to be aligned to the TEKS. TEA test writers make their own interpretation of the TEKS but do not share this with Texas educators. There is no verification that these TESTs are valid to assess students.
3. The ESCs –Education Service Centers have taken control of interpreting the TEKS and school superintendents are responsible for purchasing the ESCs TEKS interpretations. The Commissioner of Education, Michael Williams allows the 20 ESCs to govern themselves. Governor Perry chose the Railroad Commissioner, Michael Williams to be the Commissioner of Education.
The ESCs now train teachers with a minimum of five years of teaching experience to be Instruction Coaches. These Coaches are given authority to govern what teachers teach. These coaches mandate that the ESC interpretation of the TEKS, AKA Unpackaged TEKS, are used with fidelity. Meaning that not one word that is not in the TEKS may be included in lessons. These Instruction Coaches are part of the PLC program.
The diagram of people with no facial features is a good representation of the cloned teachers that the Texas Education Centers are now creating with their new PLC program.
The PLC program is not restricted to Texas. In fact it is more of a common core program that the ESCs are implementing.
Following is a teacher’s comment about working in a school with a PLC Instruction Coach.
AnonymousSeptember 28, 2014 at 2:29 PM

I transferred to a campus with the “PLC” mentality after eight reasonably successful years of teaching. I had been used to a system where we’d share ideas once a week, we’d be teaching the same SE, some of the materials we used were the same because they worked well for all of us. However, we were always free to review or extend as needed, and to use alternate texts if we felt they would work better with our particular students – as long as we were teaching the skill and could show results.

On this new campus, I was immediately thrown into a world in which I not only no longer had an opinion, but was essentially prohibited from adding any personal touches to the lessons that were given to us by the department heads under the guise of “collaboration”. It was same day, same story, same “foldable”, same power-point for everyone in the department – and none of it was near the standard of quality that I had previously implemented in my classroom. A lot of it was disjointed, or shallow, or only loosely connected to the SE… but saying as much made me a huge target.

On the first common assessment, I was “caught”, as my students scored significantly higher in some areas than my colleagues – and instead of being questioned about my methods in some positive way, I was reprimanded, because they knew I was tweaking what they had been giving me. The team leader began a vicious campaign against me, interrogating me during meetings, accusing me of doing a poor job, etc. – and the administrators were right with her. They began visiting my classroom several times a week, e-mailing me about the words or bits of assignments that didn’t seem to be consistent with my colleagues…

Additionally, we were required to use 4 out of 5 of our weekly planning periods (which are legally protected in my state from organized activities by the administration) to attend these “planning meetings” in which we were told what to do, how to do it, and interrogated as to whether we were in lock step.

To make a long story short, I lasted 3 months, began having panic attacks, and was reprimanded for it. This worsened the anxiety, and despite being under medical care, they panic attacks increased in frequency… The constant threat of visits, the interrogation, being told I was not doing well after years of being respected by former colleagues… it was all too much. I resigned for medical reasons, and I’m unsure if I’ll ever teach again.


by Janice VanCleave

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Don’t Mess With Texas Preachers

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Houston Mayor Annise Parker is an unrepentant lesbian.   She married her “significant other” Kathy Hubbard in Palm Springs California last January in Palm Springs, California. Parker is a bully and has subpoenaed 5 Houston Pastors for their sermons/speeches, text messages, any and all communication in relation to homosexuality or opposition to the mayors  “Bathroom Bill” aka Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (H.E.R.O.). The law which is not in effect would allow men to who may identify as a women use restrooms of their choice. The bill was met with opposition from voters who ran a petition drive to have the law put on the ballot.


Surprisingly the city threw out the petitions claiming there were not enough signatures; though there were 50K signatures taken and only 17K needed.  Opponents have now filed a lawsuit which led the mayor and City Attorney, David Feldman to proceed with their bullying tactics of infringing on 5 Houston Pastor’s Constitutional 1st Amendment Right.



lesbian mayor


I know that many pastors have taken to the pulpit to denounce the Mayors actions. Pastor Gary Ladd of Grace Point Fellowship took to the pulpit explaining to his congregation the actions of the Black Robe Regiment, pastor who led their congregations into the battle for freedom during the Revolutionary War.




Historian David Barton explains the Black Robe Regiment on the below video.




Join Christians across America for I Stand Sunday on November 2, 2014. Hosted by Family Research Council and other partners, speakers from across the nation will gather at Grace Church in Houston, Texas to focus on the freedom to live out our faith free of government intrusion or monitoring. We will stand with pastors and churches in Houston, Texas who have been unduly intimidated by the city’s Mayor in demanding they hand over private church communication.





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save pastor holcomb


San Jacinto Judge Fritz Faulkner  for no apparent   reason removed “public comments” off the city council agenda for their Oct. 14, 2014 meeting. Pastor Terry Holbomb challenged the judge after the meeting adjorned for executive session as to why the public comments were not being allowed. Judge Faulkner obviously doesn’t like being challenged and had Pastor Holcomb arrested for some “unknown charge”. As of this morning the Pastor has not been formally charged and those at the jail have been instructed to not inform callers why he is being held.  I personally have made two calls to the jail and they were not able to inform me why Pastor Holbomb was being held.


You can read more about the situation and watch the videos below.



SHERIFF David Clark
75 W. Cedar Avenue
Coldspring, TX 77331
Phone: 936-653-4367 #2 to reach jail.
Fax: 936-653-5058
Terry Holcomb Sr:
“Fixing to challenge the county judge on his unconstitutional silencing of the people’s first amendment right to petition the government for redress of grievances.
Tyranny at its finest. It is time to stand up!
Terry Holcomb is accused of disrupting the meeting because he was not allowed to make public comments as the regular portion of the meeting was adjourned for an executive session.
“We’re not gonna allow public comments today?” Holcomb said to the four county commissioners and County Judge Fritz Faulkner.
“It’s not on the agenda,” Faulkner replied.
“That’s unacceptable,” Holcomb said.
Faulkner then told Holcomb he could “go outside and discuss it,” but the meeting was moving forward with an executive session.
Saying again that the situation was “unacceptable,” Holcomb accused the court of taking the rights of the people.
When Holcomb made no effort to leave the courtroom, Faulkner said to him, “You’re dangerously close to disrupting a public meeting.”
Holcomb told the judge that he was denying the people their right to have their voice heard.
Faulkner responded by saying, “You can go out there and talk to the people. We’re fixing to have executive session.”
Still seated in his chair, Holcomb said, “You didn’t want to hear from the citizens and you’re gonna hear from them. You are gonna hear from me. You are not going to silence us by your abuse.”
At that point, Faulkner called for Pct. 2 Constable Roy Pippin Jr. to remove Holcomb from the meeting chamber.
“You have been requested to remove from the court,” Pippin told Holcomb.
“I am not leaving. I am not leaving,” he replied.
Directing his comments to commissioners, Holcomb then said, “And y’all commissioners that are allowing this, you are all cowards. All of you.”
Pippin implored Holcomb to leave the room but Holcomb remained in his chair and demanded to know what law he had broken.
“No law is broken. You were given an order to remove from court,” said Pippin, adding moments later, “By not following my order, you are resisting arrest. Do you want to go to jail for resisting arrest?”
Faulkner told Holcomb that commissioners court meetings are not a political stomping ground.
“That’s all you want to do,” he said.
Outside of the courtroom, Holcomb was confronted by Sheriff’s Deputy Paul Sowell who asked to have a “private word” with him.
Holcomb asked if he was being detained and Sowell replied, “You’re about to be,” prompting Holcomb to ask if he had committed a crime.
“I didn’t say you committed a crime,” said Sowell.
Sowell placed Holcomb in handcuffs and escorted him away from the premises.
-Jacob McAdams
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Texas Virtual School……Another CSCOPE?

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When CSCOPE hit the news, most of the attention was focused on the lessons.

Much less attention was paid to the money side of CSCOPE.

picture 2  But there were so many questionable practices from contracting to accounting, that the Texas State Auditor was

asked to get involved.

The Auditor’s report stated that the ESCs had such poor accounting practices that:

“auditors were not able to fully answer the audit objective to determine the amount of revenue and expenditures

    related to the development, installation, distribution, and marketing of CSCOPE.”

The ESCs collected $73.9 million for CSCOPE, but they couldn’t account for over $6 million of public funds.

No one involved suffered any consequences. They are all still on the public payroll because, according to the Auditors report:

  • “the education service centers do not have specific contract laws that they must follow “
  • “there were no specific state funds appropriated for the development, implementation, and operation of CSCOPE.”
  • And even though the CSCOPE contracts “lacked fundamental provisions to help protect the State’s and taxpayers’ interests,” none of it was illegal because
  • “education service centers are not required to comply with the contracting processes in the State of Texas Contract Management Guide.”

picture 3

That was a surprise to many Texans, like myself, who assumed that our public education dollars were being protected by at

least the minimum in standard contracting and accounting procedures.

But we were wrong.

Were these practices unique to CSCOPE or was this the way ESCs operate in general?

To find the answer I decided to investigate an ESC program that:

  1. does have specific state funds allocated by the Legislature,
  2. is contracted through TEA (thus required to meet State of Texas contract standards) and
  3. does have legislation outlining specifications.

I chose the:

picture 5What I found, from the standpoint of financial accountability, is another “CSCOPE.”

But this time, instead of just having poor contracting and accounting procedures with public funds, I have a video of a government entity explaining how they defied the Legislature and by-passed Texas law in order to operate TxVSN, and their elected officials rationalizing their actions.

I don’t have enough room to print everything, so I have chosen a few highlights of my findings to share here.

The Texas Legislature passed SB 1788 in 2007 establishing the Texas Virtual School Network (TxVSN) and funding the

operations with state funds.

The Commissioner of Education was given authority over the network resources and instructed in statute to contract with an

ESC for  the ESC to operate the network.”

The Legislature chose ESCs to operate the network because one of their statutory purposes is to   “implement initiatives

  assigned by the legislature.” (8.220)

picture8Texas Education Agency (TEA) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) entitled “Central Operations for the Texas Virtual School Network” with the deadline for submission 3/5/08. Eligible proposers were limited to the 20 Texas ESCs.

The purpose was to “identify the regional service center to operate the network.” The RFP stated, “a collaborative of ESCs will also be considered.”

The RFP included other qualifications such as HUB percentages, an understanding of

TxVSN, etc. as well as a statement that the proposer had not
communicated directly or indirectly the proposal or bid made to any competitor or any 

   other person engaged in such line of business during the procurement process for this


According to discussions held in a public meeting on 2/26/13, The Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) wanted

to bid for Central Operations of TxVSN, but was excluded by the mandates of the legislation because they are not an ESC.

Excerpts from HCDE’s public discussion concerning TxVSN:
(Note: Translation is approximate because some is difficult to understand. Please watch video for exact wording.)

John Sawyer (HCDE Superintendent): “… we wanted to bid on the contract. So I negotiated with (ESC)Region 10 who said, “We don’t know how to do it.” And I said, “We do. But we can’t bid.” So they bid and we are doing about 70% of the infrastructure work. And they are the front of the Texas School. And they handle the money and the student registrations and all that. ..“

Angie Chesnut (HCDE Board President): “You might explain why we couldn’t bid directly.”

John Sawyer (HCDE Superintendent):“…When the law was passed the wording in the law said that the only people who could bid were Regional Service Centers…We don’t qualify as a Regional Service Center. I never could decide if that was purposeful or accidental, but it didn’t matter. We got our share of the business anyway…”

Kay Smith (HCDE Trustee): “I have a question just for clarification. We could not bid on this directly?”
Sawyer:That is correct”
Smith:So they bid on it and then they sub it out to us?”
Sawyer: “The director at Region 10 is a former school superintendent that I happen to know pretty well… When I realized that we were not going to be allowed to bid on the project, and the bid was due in Austin on Tuesday of (the) next week…I called Buddy and said, “OK. Here is the deal.” I told you that conversation. He said, “John, we don’t know how to do this.” I said, “We do. But we can’t bid.” So we sent a team to Dallas…And spent the weekend. Wrote the proposal. We delivered it to TEA on Tuesday. Jointly. I mean we helped them with the proposal. And they got awarded the contract and we get about 70% …”

View the full Board discussion video: here

(Note: After the discussion, only one Trustee, Kay Smith, voted not to approve the contract.)

Three weeks before the final proposal for Central Operations of TxVSN was due, TEA held a conference in Austin “to assist potential proposers in clarifying their understanding of the scope and nature of the work…” It was open to “all potential proposers.

Records show exactly who attended:
picture 10
ESC-11  sent 3 people
ESC- 4   sent 1 person
ESC-12  sent 1 person
HCDE – not qualified to bid – sent 6 people

Yet, TEA awarded the contract to operate the Texas statewide on-line school to ESC-10, an ESC that:
  • did not even attend TEA’s proposers conference, and
  • John Sawyer claims said, “We don’t know how to do it.”

(Note: I requested to view the winning bid from ESC-10, but TEA asked for a ruling from the Texas Attorney General Open Records Division – brings back more memories of CSCOPE.)




Esc-10’s first TxVSN contract period was 4/10/2008 through 8/31/2008 for $750,000.












ESC 10 immediately
  subcontracted with HCDE

 (NOT an ESC and NOT an HUB) to provide 74.5% of the work for $559,138.
picture 13
 The first sub-contract with HCDE covered the same dates, 4/10/2008 through 8/31/2008.But records show the work began months before the contract was formally signed.

  HCDE’s Board didn’t even vote to approve the contract until 2 WEEKS BEFORE IT ENDED.
  • 4/10/08 – Sub-contract began
  • 7/15/08 – HCDE’s expenditure sheet for $325,997.98
  • 7/24/08 – ESC-10 signed sub-contract
  • 7/28/08 – ESC-10 received $325,997.98 HCDE invoice
  • 8/19/08 – HCDE’s Board approved sub-contract
  • 8/31/08 – Sub-contract ended
picture20 picture15 picture21
(Note: I did not find records showing the date HCDE signed the contract.)This sub-contract has been renewed or extended every year with the same discrepancies repeating themselves.During HCDE’s February 2013 Board meeting, HCDE Trustee Erica Lee Carter asks this question about their 12/13 TxVSN contract:“Why are we voting on a contract that started last September?”

But dates and signatures are only part of the contracting concerns.

picture22  Documents show that ESC-10 did not request bids before it sub-contracted the development of TxVSN Central Operations

  to HCDE.
Instead, ESC-10 claimed, “No bid required since professional services.”

But this was a TEA contract which had to follow State of Texas contract guidelines. Texas Government Code 2254 defines “profession services” as services within the scope of the following professions:

landscape architecture
land surveying
professional engineering
real estate appraising
professional nursing

Technology is not listed.

Appendix 1 of the TEA contract reads:


“No funds shall be used to pay for food costs (ie refreshments, banquets, group meals, etc.) unless requested as a specific line item in the budget by the contractor and approved (prior to expenditures occurring) by TEA.

I did not find budget line items or TEA prior approval documentation, but I did find the following purchases in the HCDE check registry under TxVSN budget codes:

picture 4
(Note: HCDE has removed links to its check registries online so I was only able to collect data from a link I had saved.)

Statute dictates that an ESC will operate the network and TEA awarded ESC 10 the Central Operations contract.

But I found multiple contradictory statements as to who is actually “operating” the network:

  • The TEA website claims: “ESC Region 10 serves as central operations for the TXVSN” and “oversees the day to day operations of the network
  • The ESC 10 website claims:ESC Region 10, in collaboration with the Harris County Department of Education, has been awarded Central Operations of the TxVSN”
  • The TXVSN website claims:ESC Region 10, in collaboration with the Harris County Department of Education, is Central Operations.”
  • The HCDE website claims: “Harris County Department of Education, in collaboration with the Education Service Center (ESC) 10, has been awarded central operations of the TxVSN.”
Harris County Department of Education was awarded Central Operations of the TxVSN.”

Since TxVSN is online school for thousands of students across Texas, I decided to see who is really operating the network by checking who registered and owns “”

The result?   HCDE

picture31I checked the form participating school districts need to send to TxVSN Central Operations for the mailing address.

Whose address is it?     HCDE


If you call the TxVSN Central Operations Help Desk…

Where is the phone answered?


Then I looked at the original “Scope of Work” descriptions spelled out in ESC-10’s sub-contract with HCDE, it is obvious who is actually “operating” the TxVSN.

picture14 picture17

But there are two major issues with HCDE operating the TxVSN.

First – State statue dictates that an ESC will operate TxVSN. HCDE is NOT an ESC. (30A.052)

Second – Documents show the name “HCDE” is actually an “aka” of the “County School Trustees of Harris County.”

Why would a government entity go down to the county courthouse and file documents in order to conduct business under an assumed name?

Well, HCDE is actually an old county school board leftover from the days when counties still ran the public schools (1889 to mid-1900s) – before Texas instituted our current ISD system. They still exist in Harris County because of a loophole in the law which allows them to remain in operation under old, repealed county school statutes.(11.301)

One of those old laws, TEC 17.94 states:

“After December 31, 1978, no state funds shall be used to support … a board of county school trustees…”

TxVSN central operations is funded with state dollars. (30A.152)

Would someone question a contract using state funds being issued to “County School Trustees of Harris County?”

They might.

Would someone question a contract using state funds being issued to “HCDE?”

Much less likely.

Just as with CSCOPE, I end up asking a whole series of questions….

  • When it comes to Texas education dollars, who is watching the store?
  • Do the ESCs and other government business enterprises like HCDE really operate unchecked?
  • Do the Commissioner of Education, TEA and the Legislature really not know what is going on – or are they part of the problem?

Could the answers to all of these questions be something as simple as… … follow the money?

Is it just a coincidence that less than a year after leaving TEA, Robert Scott, the Commissioner of Education from 2007-2012, became a paid “consultant” for HCDE?

1st Payment to Scott in HCDE Check Registry

Is it just a coincidence that when leaving the Legislature Rob Eissler, Chairman of the House Public Education Committee from 2007-2012, also became a paid “consultant” for HCDE ?

1st Payment to Eissler in HCDE Check Registry

(Note: Notice this first payment from HCDE to Rob Eissler was 12/21/12  – while he was still officially the Chairman of the House Public Education Committee??? )

sawyer emails day 3 170
Is it also just a coincidence that emails show when HCDE’s Superintendent warned Rob Eissler this past May that his lobbying group’s $269,500 HCDE “consulting” contract may be in jeopardy, Eissler called a current member of the Texas House Public Education Committee, Rep. Dan Huberty, who then called HCDE Board President, Angie Chesnut, and the contract remained intact?

I am sure, just like the HCDE name change, they are all just remarkable coincidences.

With CSCOPE, the ESCs got off scott free because the Legislature left so many loopholes in the statute governing them.

But with TxVSN, the Legislature dictated the funding and the operations in statute so I have personally asked the State Auditor’s Office to investigate the contracting of the TxVSN.

If you agree, you may contact the State Auditor’s Office and urge them to investigate Texas Education Agency’s TxVSN contracting with ESC-10 and HCDE @ 512-936-9500 or email.

You may contact the Texas Senate Education Committee and urge them to request a state audit of TxVSN contracting @ 512-463-0355 or email

You may contact the Texas House Public Education Committee and urge them to request a state audit of TxVSN contracting @ 512-463-0804 or email

Colleen Vera


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‘Beheading’ threat made against Rhode Island school children

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EAG NEWSkyle olson





Kyle Olson
Kyle founded Education Action Group in 2007.

Find Kyle on Twitter.

WARWICK, R.I. – A specific – and graphic – threat was made against school children in three Rhode Island communities.

generic-cranston-policeJohnston, Cranston and Warwick are on alert after a threat was issued that involved “beheading.”

The threat, which was delivered by mail, said, “Beheading is planned.”

Warwick police Col. Steven McCartney called the message “chilling.”

Many parents are reportedly keeping their children at home.

“Some parents are keeping their kids at home. Right now we just ran our attendance data, we have about a third,” Cranston School Superintendent Judith Lundsten tells WPRO.

“I was at Gladstone this morning and in one of their rooms they almost had 100% attendance.”

According to the Providence Journal, Lundsten canceled recess and students will not wait outside but will enter immediately.

Cranston police chief Michael Winquist tells the radio station there will be an increased police presence around both public and private schools, but that there patrols will not disrupt the school day.

“When these threats come in we take them very serious, at the same time we don’t want these threats to disrupt our daily lives including the important work they do here educating students,” Winquist says.

“We’re in constant communication is absolutely critical from not only a law enforcement standpoint, but most importantly the schools and the administrations because we want to ensure there is a safe environment for our students as they are going to our schools,” Cranston Mayor Allan Fung tells WPRO.

The mailed threat reportedly said children would be targeted Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.




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Texas: 6th Graders taught about ISIS Beheading

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6th grade


There are boundaries in our public schools today as to what is age appropriate or inappropriate when it comes to teaching children.An Alvin ISD Junior High 6gh grade class was asked to read the following paper put out by MTV on ISIS and the beheading of the American Journalist and then ask to reflect on it and write a one page paper. I have taken the time to look over the TEK requirements and do not find any requirement to learn about Islam or Terrorism in 6th grade.


isis 1


isis 2


Alvin ISD released the following statement….”The sad reality is that Jr. High students are confronted with and are aware of the details related to ISIS, our intent is to provide students with a supportive learning environment where they are able to discuss factual events and gain better understanding of the world around them. Seriously? This world is a mess and there are factual events taken place on a daily basis that many parents do not want their children knowing. EX: homosexuals parading down the street in drag protesting for homosexual rights, women aborting their unborn children daily, etc, etc, etc…. School administrations have the expertise at scape-goating and not taking responsibility for what happens on campus on their clock.








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[10.7.14 -- I wonder when reporters such as Terrence Stutz are going to try to investigate exactly why Texas’ public school students have lost ground on the SAT.  Could it be (duh?)  that leading up to this last round of SAT testing, at least 893 ISD’s, charters, and private schools in Texas have been using the Texas version of Common Core called “CSCOPE”? 


CSCOPE was sold to Texas educators as being the answer to all problems!  It was started in 2006; and in 2013 alone, the Education Service Centers collected over $15,000,000 ANNUAL fees from taxpayers for CSCOPE license fees.  


With that huge amount of funding and the large numbers of schools using CSCOPE, Texas should have seen dramatic academic results on the SAT if CSCOPE (now referred to as the TEKS Resource System) were really working. 


Obviously, CSCOPE (a.k.a., Common Core Standards) is not raising students’ SAT scores but instead is causing them to drop.


Texas has good Type #1 curriculum standards (TEKS).  That is not the problem. The problem is that CSCOPE and Common Core are Type #2; and the subjective, constructivist philosophy of education is causing chaos in our schools and decreasing students’ academic results.


Taxpayers and parents should demand that their tax dollars not go to pay for CSCOPE, TEKS Resource System, Common Core, or any other Type #2 curriculum (progressive).  Not only is that money down the drain, but students’ academic achievement is suffering because of the wrong-headed Type #2 philosophy advocated by those products.   – Donna Garner]



10.7.14 – Dallas Morning News


Texas’ SAT math scores hit a 22-year low


Excerpts from this article:











Austin Bureau

Published: 07 October 2014 05:37 AM

Updated: 07 October 2014 05:39 AM


AUSTIN — Texas high school students slipped to their lowest SAT math scores in more than two decades this year, while reading scores on the college entrance exam were the second lowest during that period.


Results being released Tuesday by the College Board, which administers the exam, showed that the average score on the math section of the SAT dropped four points from last year to 495. That was the lowest figure since 1992, when Texas students recorded an average score of 493. A perfect score is 800.


In reading, the Class of 2014 in Texas scored an average 476. That was down slightly from last year but still two points better than their worst showing in the past two decades. That occurred in 2012.


In writing, Texas students registered an average 461 for the third year in a row.


Students across the U.S. saw their scores in math drop slightly. But the long-standing achievement gap between Texas and the nation grew significantly this year. In reading, the average score nationwide increased slightly and remained well above the average in Texas.


State education officials have attributed the declining SAT scores in Texas to an increase in the number of minority students taking the exam. Minorities generally perform worse than white students on standardized achievement tests like the SAT and ACT, the nation’s two leading college entrance exams.


However, California students outperformed Texans by big margins this year — 15 points in math and 22 points in reading. Demographics of the student populations in the two states are similar: California is 52.7 percent Hispanic and 25.5 percent white, while Texas is 51.3 percent Hispanic and 30 percent white.


In addition, more than 60 percent of seniors in both states took the SAT. School districts have in recent years encouraged students to take either the SAT or ACT to get them thinking about what to do after high school.


The drop in SAT math scores is likely to rekindle debate over the state’s recent decision to no longer require that all high school students take Algebra II. Over the objections of business and minority-rights groups, the Legislature and State Board of Education dropped Algebra II as a requirement except for students in advanced graduation plans.


Among those groups were the Texas Association of Business and Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.


Bill Hammond, a former Texas House member who leads the influential business group, said at the time that the state’s retreat on Algebra II and other more challenging courses “dooms generations of students to a mediocre education and low-wage jobs.” Hammond also pointed out that research shows students who skip the course get lower scores in math on the SAT and ACT and are less prepared for college.


Officials for the College Board said an analysis of this year’s results shows that too many students missed opportunities that would have helped them do better on the exam and be better prepared for college-level classes.


Foremost is a more challenging lineup of courses that includes four or more years of English, and three or more years of math, science and social studies.


“The latest SAT results reaffirm that we must address the issue of preparedness much earlier and in a more focused way,” said Cyndie Schmeiser, chief of assessment for the College Board. “Students in the Class of 2014 missed opportunities that could have helped more of them make successful transitions to college and career.”


The College Board reported that just over a third of the 179,036 Texas students who took the SAT met its college and career readiness benchmark, which requires a score of 1,550 out of a possible total of 2,400. That was well under the national average of 42.6 percent who hit the benchmark.


Most minority students, as in the past, fell far short of the benchmark. Only 19 percent of Hispanic and 14 percent of black students in Texas met the college readiness standard. Both percentages trailed the national averages for those groups.


…In Texas, about 61 percent of high school seniors who took the SAT were minorities, compared with a national average of 47.5 percent.


Follow Terrence Stutz on Twitter at @tstutz.


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