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

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Harmony

11.26.14 – Dallas Morning News

 

http://educationblog.dallasnews.com/2014/11/federal-report-special-needs-students-english-learners-significantly-underrepresented-at-harmony-charter-schools.html/

 

“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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TEXAS EDUCATION SCHEDULES STUDENTS TO FAIL

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failing

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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TEXAS TAXPAYER

 

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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BRIGHT

 

 

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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GRAND PRAIRIE ISD IMPLEMENTING COMMON CORE

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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.

 

THINK THROUGH MATH

 

 

 

 

COMMON CORE MATH GRANDPRAIRE

 

PBL COMPARISON

 

 

 

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Bonds for Crony Contractors, Not Kids

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VLK

 

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. https://www.ced.org/pdf/Digital_Learning_Issue_Brief_Final.pdf 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.

fortworth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

gestapo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

NOTES

 

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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STAAR TEST
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.
PARENTS MUST GET INVOLVED. DON’T LET THE EDUCATION ESTABLISHMENT INTIMIDATE YOU. THAT IS THEIR MODE OF OPERATION.
*5th grade new math teks are exactly aligned with Common Core.
OUR TEXAS SCHOOLS ARE FAILING OUR CHILDREN. I HAVE HAD REQUEST AS TO WHAT TO SUPPLEMENT FOR A MATH PROGRAM. THE BEST PRODUCT OUT THERE IS SAXON MATH UP THROUGH THE 3ED EDITION.
* after the 3rd edition a different company purchased Saxon and they have now aligned it with Common Core.
SAXON
 

 

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Texas Teachers Cloned

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cloning
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

www.txcscopereview.com

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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.

ANNISE PARKER

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.

 

 

ACTION PLAN.

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.

 

ADDITIONAL INFO

 

 

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TEXAS PASTOR JAILED BUY WHY? NO ONE KNOWS

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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.

PLEASE REPORT JUDGE FAULKNER HERE

PLEASE CALL THE JAIL AND DEMAND PASTOR HOLCOMB’S RELEASE

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.

picture7
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.”

picture9
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

  contract.”

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

 ESC 10 – DID NOT ATTEND
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.)

 

 

picture11

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

picture11

 

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:

accounting
architecture
landscape architecture
land surveying
medicine
optometry
professional engineering
real estate appraising
professional nursing

Technology is not listed.

Appendix 1 of the TEA contract reads:

picture25

“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 “txvsn.org.”

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

picture30

If you call the TxVSN Central Operations Help Desk…

Where is the phone answered?

HCDE

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.

TEA / ESC -10 HCDE
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.”

picture40
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.

 

 

WILLIAM

 

WHAT EVERY AMERICAN NEEDS TO KNOW

ABOUT THE QURAN

THAT YOU WANT LEARN IN YOUR PUBLIC SCHOOL

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TEXAS STUDENTS MATH SCORES at 22 YEAR LOW

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failing

[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

 

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/local-news/20141007-texas-sat-math-scores-hit-a-22-year-low.ece

 

Texas’ SAT math scores hit a 22-year low

 

Excerpts from this article:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By TERRENCE STUTZ

Austin Bureau

tstutz@dallasnews.com

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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TEXAS STUDENT LEFT IN HIS URINE

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alpine pictureVery few things are as repulsive to me than a superintendent to accuse parents of lying when it comes to bringing to light districts mistreatment of their children. Many things have taken place within the Alpine ISD school district. One parent stated to me personally “There is a huge list of parents who have much much much more serious problems with the school. Such as children left on the side of the highway alone. Four year old and an eight year old!!!“.

This past week a PreK down syndrome child was left in his urine until his socks were socked. The child wears pullups and is not able to speak yet. Superintendent Steve White says the school district is falsely accused. In other words he is stating the parent  is LYING. Seriously? How unprofessional.

 

Steve white 1

alpine 4EMAIL

Link to Steve Whites press release

Steve White

KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

 

 

********************Alpine ISD still rents and utilizes the CSCOPE curriculum.********************


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FREE, FREE, FREE….FOOD FOR ALL!!!

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FREE FOOD

 SOCIALISM IN ACTION!!

 

NORTHSIDE ISD sent out the following flyer to parents of 51 schools informing them of the GREAT NEWS of being able to receive FREE BRECKFAST & LUNCHES for their children. FREE? Is the food being donated? NO!! The taxpayers are funding this project. The form states that there is no application to fill out in order to receive the free food though parents did receive another flyer asking parents their income and if they qualify for the program.

I response to this questionnaire is “IT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS HOW MUCH MONEY WE MAKE”.

 

NISD CEP letter Aug 2014-1.bmp  2Northside

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TEXAS ISD’s Implement MARXIST IDEOLOGY

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marxism

Texas Associati0n of School Administrators (TASA) along with Texas School Districts and Texas Education Service Centers (ESC’s) are implementing what they would call a “Necessary Revolution” a plan to Transform Texas Education. TASA’s “Creating a New Vision” for public education has been working within Texas School districts by implementing a “Marxist” constructivist philosophy of teaching called “Student Centered Learning” or “Project Based Learning”.  Teachers and Students hate it. Unfortunately, teachers are silenced out of fear of losing their jobs.

District Superintendents that have signed onto this TRANSFORMATION are called Future Ready Superintendents. Has your district signed on.. check HERE. This transformation is not only hurtful to students and teacher morale but it cost taxpayers thousands of dollars.

a revolution

 

TASA has sought the help of  Shannon Buerk and her company “Engage2Learn” to help implement this “new revolution”. School districts will contract with Engage2Learn and have them hold a community “consensus” meetings.  They already have their agenda and plan in place and want the community to have the impression that their input is needed. With the use of the DELPHI TECHNIQUE public input is controlled. These meeting are a waste of time and taxpayers money.  Learn how to diffuse the Delphi Technique here. 

 

Now who runs Engage2Learn. Husband and wife team Shannon & Clark Buerk. Shannon worked for Coppell ISD and worked with Keith Sockwell @ Cambridge Strategic Services. More on Mr. Sockwell HERE.

Shannon’s goal is to transform Texas Education to a progressive/liberal one with Project Based Learning (PBL). PBL implement a collaborative learning style where absolute truth and American Exceptionalism isn’t taught. Students work on computer and in collective groups.

 

Be on the look out for Engage2Learn community meetings in your local school district

 

More on Engage2Learn

 

                            Please print out copies of the diagram below and pass out to friends and family.

http://www.redhotconservative.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/PBL-RHC.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Harris County Department of Education Helping Turn Texas Blue??

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HCDE

On May 19, 2014 I filed a simple request for public information –

to view the emails (from a 6 week period) of John Sawyer, the now former Superintendent ofthe Harris County Schools (aka-HCDE.)

All I really wanted was an outline of the day to day activities of HCDE. Instead, I got an outline of how HCDE is using our tax dollars to influence elections.

The first email attachment to raise my concern was sent on 2/26/14 from the HCDE Board President, Angie Chesnut, to George H Scott.  Scott is a media/public policy consultant who writes a blog entitled “George Scott Reports.”

George Scott’s emails to Sawyer give you a glimpse of his work history. One reads:

“…In the meantime,

I just helped Alton’s school board candidates tea party email

win a clean sweep by dumping on the idiots

from the TEA Party… “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 President Chesnut’s email to Scott concerning the HCDE Republican primary  is below:

tea party email 2

Chesnut ends her email with:

 “George, my request is that you help get the word out to your readers to vote for Dianne Williams and RW Bray for the HCDE Board of Trustees.   Please let me know if I can help in any way.   Thank you for all you have already done.” 

(Note: Chesnut ran for office as a Republican; yet she supports expanding government spending, government programs such as Head Start, government pre-k, government after school care, etc;  Wolfe and Summers positions were actually the more conservative in the race. They both questioned how HCDE uses tax dollars. They both won their primaries.)

Records show Scott has received funds numerous times from HCDE.

tea party 3

As a matter of fact, HCDE’s response to an open records request to view publications paid for by HCDE in 2013, included blog posts written by George H Scott. Some were posts critical of the Harris County Appraisal District and the rest were stories flattering to HCDE.

It does appear, however, that Scott did not have a contract tea party 4

with HCDE at the time of Chesnut’s request.

Emails show Scott did submit a new proposal to HCDE for more consulting work by May.

If Chesnut had asked a blogger who did not contract with HCDE, there would not be an issue.

But, for an elected official, who casts votes on government contacts, to ask an off-on-again contractor to “help” her influence the outcome of the Republican primary election of her own board is, to say the least, inappropriate.

Lack of ethics to influence elections is one thing. Use of public employees and public funds is a whole different ballgame.

The following email shows:

HCDE Board’s Executive Assistant setting up a conference call

for 9:00am on 5/12/14 between the HCDE Superintendent, two

HCDE paid consultants, an addressee redacted by HCDE, and

two paid staffers for the Wendy Davis for Governor Campaign.

Angie Chesnut (R), the HCDE Board President, is listed as  “optional.”

 

number 5

It appears the call took place on schedule because an email was sent3 hours later from HCDE Board member Diane Trautman (D) to Wendy Davis Campaign staffer, RoyceBrooks, stating,

“I enjoyed meeting you this morning on our conference call.” image 6

She also adds,

Please let me know if there is anything else I can help you with…”

She attached her own quarterly newsletter which ended with:

Pd. Pol. Adv. By the Diane Trautman Campaign…”

 

image 7

If the call had been to Sen. Wendy Davis in her capacity as a State Senator, there would not be an issue.

If the call had been on their personal time using their personal phone systems,  there would not be an issue.

But, the taxpayers paying for the facilities, the phone and emails systems, the salary to set up the call, as well as the salaries and consulting fees for HCDE to participate in a call with the campaign of the Democrat candidate for governor is, to say the least, HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE.

Texas Statute does not allow the use of school district facilities and/or personnel to support candidates or parties.

(Note: When the Legislature  repealed the laws governing county schools, it allowed Harris County to remain open under the old laws plus any current laws governing ISDs. TEC 11.301)

On 3/27/14 HCDE’s  Education Foundation Board of Directors held their meeting at the HCDE Administration Building, a building supported completely with public funds.

HCDE’s Education Foundation is registered with the

IRS as a 501(c)(3).

In their Articles of Incorporation filed with the Texas Secretary of State the Foundation claims:

The corporation is organized exclusively for educational

purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3)

of the Internal revenue Code

 

 

 

…the corporation shall not participate in or intervene in

(including the publishing or distribution of statements)

any political campaign of any candidate for public office

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yet, the review of emails shows that meeting minutes were distributed using HCDE’s email system which included the following statement on page #3:

“4. The primary elections are over and the two candidates for HCDE Trustee positions I would ask you to endorse and vote for in the upcoming November election are Debra Kerner, current HCDE board vice president and Melissa Noriega, former Houston city councilwomen and administrator at HISD. The opponents for both of these women support the abolishment of HCDE, Michael Wolfe and Don Sumners.”

(Note: the candidates the foundation asked members to endorse and vote for are both Democrats. Both opponents are Republicans.)

   

 

In this case, not only did taxpayers pay for the facilities to hold the meeting and the email system to distribute the Democrat candidate endorsements, this year HCDE Board of Trustees donated $202,107 of our tax dollars to the Foundation just to fund the position of Director as well as to provide his office facilities in the HCDE Administration Building.

 

Texas Statute also does not allow school district email systems or other public funds to be used for political advertising.

IRS rules do not allow a 501(c)(3) to endorse candidates.

HCDE’s Foundation’s charter does not allow them to participate in publishing or distributing statements relating to campaigns.



In a quick look at the alphabetical list of Directors/Members of the Board on the Foundation website, the first name you see is Judge Eric Andell, Senior Justice, First Court of Appeals. This makes one question why a Senior Justice didn’t stop the Foundation from breaking the rules.

But a google search might explain it. In 2005. The Houston Chronicle reported the following:

“Former judge Eric Andell of Houston was sentenced to one year of probation and fined $5,000 Friday after pleading guilty to charges that related to cheating taxpayers out of thousands of dollars in bogus expenses charged to the federal government while he served as a top official in the U.S. Department of Education.”

A check of current judges serving the Texas Appellate Courts does not list Eric Andell.

Makes me wonder what else on the Foundation website might be questionable, or at least, slightly inaccurate.

Note: The Foundation just changed its website removing Judge Andell from their Director’s list. That was fast! On the left you will see the screen shot I took on 9/13/14. On the right you will see the page today.

               On 9/13/14           On 9/20/14

 

Pat Strong, who participated in the conference call with the Wendy Davis Campaign, is owner of Strong Strategies. HCDE pays her $82,000 per year (plus expenses) to serve as one of their many political consultants. She oversees the HCDE Board’s “government relations” committee. Her website lists some of the politicians she has worked for:

  • Congressman Ken Bentsen (D)
  • Governor Ann Richards (D)
  • Clinton/Gore (D)
  • Democratic National Committee
  • Vince Ryan (D)
  • Congressman Al Green (D)
  • Senator Rodney Ellis (D)
  • Melissa Noriega (D)  – current candidate for HCDE Board

Her HCDE duties also include keeping the board “informed” on pressing  issues. The email review shows the type of “information” she sends to the HCDE Board in their weekly packet as well as the personal comments she writes in the upper right hand corners. Two examples are below.

Article from: The Texas Observer Article from: The Texas Observer

Should taxpayers really be paying for a political consultant to forward a story to a school board that reads…..?

“…We love Wendy Davis. You love Wendy Davis. We and you want to do very sexy things to Wendy Davis, even the straight chicks…”

Reviewing all these emails made me very curious as to what

Pat Strong reports to the HCDE Board Government Relations

Committee. So when HCDE posted a public meeting of the committee

on their website for 11:00 am on 9/16/14, I attended.

I arrived a few minutes early with my cell phone camera fully charged. Pat Strong (lady on the left with the white hair) was already seated with her report ready to present. At 11:00,  President Angie Chesnut opened the meeting.
(Note: The following is an approximate transcription. Some was difficult to understand.)

Chesnut: Good morning everyone. Well, I guess the meeting is now in order. What…It is not a meeting. (difficult to understand) That’s right. It is a committee meeting.

Board Attorney: (something I can’t make out about not having a quorum.)

Chesnut:  Oh true. So, with no further ado, let’s get started with Pat giving us an update on different things that have happened.

Board Attorney: (something I can’t make out)

Chesnut: Oh, since this is not an open meeting, I am going to have to ask you to leave Ms Vera, if you don’t mind. It is a closed committee meeting.

Board Attorney: It is not a meeting under the Open Meetings Act since there is no quorum.

Chesnut:  It is not a posted meeting.

I complied.

Watch the short video.

AFTER Pat Strong completed her report, President Chesnut changed her mind and decided the public could view the rest of the committee meeting, even though they still did not have a quorum. By the end of the committee meeting, a board quorum was present.

You may watch the video of the meeting after Pat Strong was finished with her report and I was allowed to re-enter the room: here

Was Chesnut accurate when she stated, “This is not a posted meeting?”

In a quick check of the HCDE website, under Board Agendas, you will find the official posting of the meeting with Angie Chesnut’s signature.

Link 1 Link 2 Link 3

What was in Pat Strong’s report to the committee that President Chesnut felt the need to hide from the public? I may never know.

But I do know that if this was a government entity using government funds and a 501(c)(3) to promote conservative Republican candidates and issues, the IRS would remove their tax exemption immediately and I’d bet our County Attorney would order an investigation.

But these government funds and the 501(c)(3) are being used to support liberal Democrat candidates and issues, so I won’t hold my breath waiting for any investigation.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee’s daughter, Erica Lee Carter, is a current HCDE Board Trustee so I don’t expect to see any action from the IRS.
In his most recent campaign financial report, our County Attorney, Vince Ryan (D) lists payments to Pat Strong for “fundraising and compliance services” so I don’t foresee any action coming from that office either.

 

It’s stunning to me that a cursory review of emails turned up so many examples of apparent violations of state and federal statutes. I will certainly dig deeper before drawing any final conclusions.
But the fact that all this goes on right
under the nose of a Board President
who is a self-proclaimed

“conservative Republican”

in my opinion, is nothing short of shameful.

Absolutely shameful.

Arne Duncan and Angie Chesnut

If you agree, you may contact HCDE Board President Angie Chesnut at:  achesnut@hcde-texas.org

Colleen Vera

www.texastrashtalk.com

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Math TEKS: More Data Mining

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pandora's box

Has Texas Opened Pandora’s Box?

 

By Janice VanCleave

www.txcscopereview.com

Kinder Financial LiteracyThe Texas Commissioner of Educator and the Texas State Board of Education are responsible for all the state content standards.

Having “Personal” in the title of the newly added math TEKS about finances is a clue that parents need to be more involved in the content of the instructions in Texas public schools.

While identified as math standards, the list for the Personal Financial Literacy for Kindergarten students is more like an upper level study for economics.

What does a list of skills required for jobs have to do with math for kindergarten children?

What does income mean to a kindergarten child?

Children in K-8 are only familiar with their own family income.

Its no secret that the government welfare system has gotten out of control. It is no secret that many people receiving welfare payments could and should be working to earn their income. It is no secret that welfare payments for some is higher than income from an entry job. Yes, politicians buy votes by promising higher welfare payments.

Is the intent of the Personal Financial Literacy TEKS suppose to fix the Welfare System?

Yes, there are families that need help, and the welfare system was set up for this purpose. Like anything that is “not earned” the welfare program is being abused. The financial literacy standards added to the Texas math TEKS is not going to solve this problem. If anything, it will make it worse.

Sadly if teachers have students to  make a list comparing all the wonderful things about working and earning money vs. receiving welfare, which path do you think young children will think the best choice? Work or not work and receive equal or more money? UMMMM!

Mining CartTexas has opened Pandora’s Box with the Personal Financial Literacy TEKS. Instead of including these TEKS as part of school standards they need to be posted on the office walls of every politician in Austin as well as in Washington DC. Our students need to know the fundamentals of math.

Are the new Financial Literacy Standards another way to add data to the state DATA Mining CART?

Most of the Texas Public School Districts are using school taxes to pay the personal membership fees of Administrators and school board members into private organizations. The State Board of Education has a lobbyists as its vice-chairman, which is illegal. The Texas education system as a whole needs to teach students by example about financial responsibility.

By definition, unearned income is considered to be that income which is not from wages, salaries, tips, or self-employment business income. Thus welfare is unearned income. Since a large percent of Texans receive welfare, how do teachers instruct 5 year old children about jobs and earning an income when the family income is by definition unearned?

Elementary children should not be stressed over getting jobs, going to college, earning income.

What is the real reason that the Commissioner of Education and the State Board of Education have come up with standards about personal income? Why have they dumped the TEKS and STAAR/EOC tests that cost so many millions of dollars to develop and suddenly introduce the most bizzare set of Math standards ever?

The Timeline for 5th grade math TEKs shows what the Texas Commissioner of Education and the State Board of Education members are not revealing to the public. On top of the line is the progression of what were called the transition TEKs for STAAR. Millions and millions of dollars were spent developing these math standards. The Control for scoring the math TEKS was set in 2012. Thus, the STAAR  tests  aligned with these TEKS have only been given for two years 2013 and 2014.

Now the Commissioner of Education announces that this transition from TAKS testing to STAAR testing was a minor change. REALLY? If so, why was $200 million dollars given by the Rider 42 grant just to prepare training materials for teachers to make this transition.

The Texas Commissioner of Education and the SBOE are not providing Texans with the real truth.

Why was the Texas Commissioner of Education and the SBOE secretly developing a second set of math TEKS at the same time the transition set of math TEKS were being developed? WHY develop two sets of TEKS during the same time period?

Please ask your state representatives to find out why two sets of math standards were developed.

Timeline for 5th Grade TEKS

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