“Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age”
By PERRI KLASS, M.D.
eXCERPTS FROM THIS ARTICLE:
Do children in a keyboard world need to learn old-fashioned handwriting?
There is a tendency to dismiss handwriting as a nonessential skill, even though researchers have warned that learning to write may be the key to, well, learning to write.
And beyond the emotional connection adults may feel to the way we learned to write, there is a growing body of research on what the normally developing brain learns by forming letters on the page, in printed or manuscript format as well as in cursive.
In anarticlethis year in The Journal of Learning Disabilities, researchers looked at how oral and written language related to attention and what are called “executive function” skills (like planning) in children in grades four through nine, both with and without learning disabilities.
Virginia Berninger, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington and the lead author on the study, told me that evidence from this and other studies suggests that “handwriting — forming letters — engages the mind, and that can help children pay attention to written language.”
Last year in anarticlein The Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, Laura Dinehart, an associate professor of early childhood education at Florida International University, discussed several possible associations between good handwriting and academic achievement: Children with good handwriting may get better grades because their work is more pleasant for teachers to read; children who struggle with writing may find that too much of their attention is consumed by producing the letters, and the content suffers.
But can we actually stimulate children’s brains by helping them form letters with their hands? In a population of low-income children, Dr. Dinehart said, the ones who had good early fine-motor writing skills in prekindergarten did better later on in school. She called for more research on handwriting in the preschool years, and on ways to help young children develop the skills they need for “a complex task” that requires the coordination of cognitive, motor and neuromuscular processes.
“This myth that handwriting is just a motor skill is just plain wrong,” Dr. Berninger said. “We use motor parts of our brain, motor planning, motor control, but what’s very critical is a region of our brain where the visual and language come together, thefusiform gyrus, where visual stimuli actually become letters and written words.” You have to see letters in “the mind’s eye” in order to produce them on the page, she said. Brain imaging shows that the activation of this region is different in children who are having trouble with handwriting.
Functional brain scans of adults show a characteristic brain network that is activated when they read, and it includes areas that relate to motor processes. This suggested to scientists that the cognitive process of reading may be connected to the motor process of forming letters.
Karin James, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University, did brain scans on children who did not yet know how to print. “Their brains don’t distinguish letters; they respond to letters the same as to a triangle,” she said.
After the children were taught to print,patterns of brain activationin response to letters showed increased activation of that reading network, including the fusiform gyrus, along with the inferior frontal gyrus and posterior parietal regions of the brain, which adults use for processing written language — even though the children were still at a very early level as writers.
“The letters they produce themselves are very messy and variable, and that’s actually good for how children learn things,” Dr. James said. “That seems to be one big benefit of handwriting.”
Handwriting experts have struggled with the question of whether cursive writing confers special skills and benefits, beyond the benefits that print writing might provide. Dr. Berninger cited a 2015studythat suggested that starting around fourth grade, cursive skills conferred advantages in both spelling and composing, perhaps because the connecting strokes helped children connect letters into words.
For typically developing young children, typing the letters doesn’t seem to generate the same brain activation. As we grow up, of course, most of us transition to keyboard writing, though like many who teach college students, I have struggled with the question of laptops in class, more because I worry about students’ attention wandering than to promote handwriting. Still, studies on note taking have suggested that “college students who are writing on a keyboard are less likely to remember and do well on the content than if writing it by hand,” Dr. Dinehart said.
Dr. Berninger said the research suggests that children need introductory training in printing, then two years of learning and practicing cursive, starting in grade three, and then some systematic attention to touch-typing.
Using a keyboard, and especially learning the positions of the letters without looking at the keys, she said, might well take advantage of the fibers that cross-communicate in the brain, since unlike with handwriting, children will use both hands to type.
“What we’re advocating is teaching children to be hybrid writers,” said Dr. Berninger, “manuscript first for reading — it transfers to better word recognition — then cursive for spelling and for composing. Then, starting in late elementary school, touch-typing.”
As a pediatrician, I think this may be another case where we should be careful that the lure of the digital world doesn’t take away significant experiences that can have real impacts on children’s rapidly developing brains. Mastering handwriting, messy letters and all, is a way of making written language your own, in some profound ways…
OPEN LETTER RE: KAUFMAN ISD SUPERINTENDENT BLAYLOCK BROKE THE TEC LAW
From Donna Garner
On 5.17.16, the following e-mail was sent to Mary Lou Bruner, Primary Run-Off Candidate, Dist. 9, Texas State Board of Education by an unnamed employee of Kaufman ISD. The employee included an e-mail that was sent to all Kaufman ISD faculty members from Kaufman ISD Superintendent Loraine Blaylock.
By reading Blaylock’s e-mail and going through the links she chose to enclose, it is obvious that she has sent out a partisan electronic communication using school district equipment. This is against the Texas Ethics Commission code (TEC links posted at the bottom of this e-mail).
Ms. Blaylock deliberately chose to include a negative link to an article (KTRE) about Mary Lou Bruner and a positive link to an article (Dallas Morning News) about Keven Ellis. By her choice of links, Ms. Blaylock is deliberately trying to prejudice all Kaufman ISD personnel to vote for Keven Ellis and to vote against Mary Lou Bruner.
Kaufman ISD Superintendent Blaylock is in full violation of the Texas Ethics Commission and is subject to a Class C misdemeanor. I am sharing this information with people in her own school district and with the general public.
If Mary Lou Bruner should decide to file an ethics complaint against Ms. Blaylock, Mary Lou is sure to win because of the partisan, prejudicial, and illegal e-mail that the superintendent sent using school resources.
The appropriate thing for Ms. Blaylock to do immediately is to send an e-mail of apology to Mary Lou Bruner and to all Kaufman ISD personnel for her lack of judgment in breaking the TEC code.
E-MAIL SENT FROM KAUFMAN ISD EMPLOYEE TO MARY LOU BRUNER:
Posted below is a copy of an Email I received along with my fellow faculty members at Kaufman I.S.D. from our superintendent today.
Not sure if other school districts are involved in this type of political information , however I believe you should be aware of what may be going on.
Contact our schools administration if you wish as this is a clear violation of the Texas Election Code, Section 255.003 , prohibiting the use of school district resources for political advertising or to influence a voter to vote a certain way.
E-MAIL SENT BY KAUFMAN ISD SUPERINTENDENT BLAYLOCK TO ALL KAUFMAN ISD PERSONNEL:
Two individuals are in a run-off election for the open State Board of Education position that represents our district. The candidates are Keven Ellis and Mary Bruner. Remember – the State Board of Education determines what textbooks/curriculum are available to schools and how it is tested. So, this election is very important to the future of our district!
Please follow this link to view a meeting between East Texas superintendents and Mrs. Bruner. It is frightening!
Finally, VOTE!!!! Early voting for this run-off election is going on right now!
Loraine Blaylock, Ed. D.
FROM TEXAS ETHICS COMMISSION
According to the Texas Ethics Commission, these links indicate that Kaufman ISD Superintendent Blaylock is committing a Class A misdemeanor by having used school district resources of any kind (including electronic transmissions) to take a partisan stand for political candidate, Keven Ellis:
EXCLUSIVE: Student no-billed on threat after months in jail
MONTGOMERY COUNTY (KTRK) —
A former Magnolia West High senior student said he never planned to hurt anyone at his school.
Thomas Cade Martin spoke exclusively to abc13 after a grand jury no-billed him on a terroristic threat charge.
In February, cell phone video surfaced on social media that led to Martin’s expulsion and arrest. In it, Martin can be heard talking about planting bombs and shooting students.
“It was a big, huge misunderstanding. The video that was originally displayed was taken way out of context,” said Martin. “It all started when I was just trying to explain myself and give a scenario to the students to just show that it is possible that something like that could happen in the small town of Magnolia.”
“It was never a threat?” abc13’s Steve Campion asked.
“No sir. It was never a threat. Not at all,” Martin responded.
He explained the footage only shows part of a broader conversation about potential school violence. He said he only offered up a scenario.
You can hear students laughing during parts of the video.
Martin spent more than two months in the Montgomery County jail. His family couldn’t afford his bail.
“My reaction was honestly, my heart fell through the floor because everything about that goes against what I believe in,” said Martin. “I believe in protecting American interests and the American way of life. I believe in prosperity. I’m a huge patriotic.”
The 19-year-old said he wishes the Magnolia Independent School District would have handled the situation differently. Martin wants to be an NAVY Seal. He said he plans to move to Wisconsin and finish high school.
“They should have most certainly looked in it more thoroughly before they just decided to up and expel me and change my life,” said Martin. “I would love to have an apology. I feel like I deserve an apology. It’s not because it is a pride thing. It’s because it would be the right thing to do.”
Magnolia ISD released the following statement to abc13.
“Magnolia ISD is prohibited by federal law to discuss student discipline. The action taken by the District was consistent and fair with Magnolia ISD’s board policy, student code of conduct and the Texas Education Code.”
Texas school district, Magnolia ISD, has made national news within the last couple of weeks due to the violation of “parental rights“. Their “NEW” policy prohibited parents from walking their children home from school in the name of “safety'” (I assume they did not think parents would be concerned with their own child’s safety and needed help from the “STATE”).
Magnolia’s new Bear Branch Elementary Principal, Holly Ray, informed parents that there would be no walkers at the beginning of this school year. Since making the news after parents had been issued “trespass warnings” and threatened with arrest the Magnolia ISD administration is now denying there was ever a “no walker policy”. The district claims parents have always been free to walk their children home although we have found no notice stating this fact up until the district released this statement on April 6th. As expected, the district diverts blame for their actions onto the parents. Labeling them as being “verbally and physically” abusive and disrupting school procedures. This diversion technique is a common tactic utilized among Texas School Districts when portrayed in a negative light in the news.
The new walker policy was pulled out of thin air once this news story broke. Parents may now walk their children home twenty five minutes after school dismisses if the car rider line has made its way through the parking lot and possibly a longer if not. (More of “I” am in control). So where does the TRUTH lie?
Principal, Holly Ray
Parent, Robert Zeck provided this statement and a copy of the schools “CAR RIDER RULES” that specifically states “Students will NOT be dismissed to people on foot”. Notice the bold word “NOT” in this one rule. Seems Ms. Ray wanted to make her point quite clear there would not be walkers. So why all the confusion?
MISD released the following comment to Fox 26 April, 15th stating “We are happy for parents to walk their children home”. I would say we have some major contradictions here. Where in the world are the board members in all of this?
Holly Ray became the new principal of Bear Branch Elementary this year. Parents upset with the new policy have followed the district’s administrative channels in hopes of reaching an amicable agreement. Unfortunately, Ray and MISD Superintendent, Todd Stephens dug their administrative heels in and would not budge. One father met with Ray during the fall to discuss revising the new policy. With no agreeable consensus he left Ray’s office voicing his opposition to the “no walker policy” and said he would be at the next school board meeting. The meeting with Ray was held at 9:00 am on Sept 4th. At 4:00 pm the same day a Constable placed a “TRESPASS WARNING” in the father’s mailbox with no explanation as to why it was issued. Upon visiting the constable’s office asking for any and all documents pertaining to the warning, he was told there was nothing. Yes, that is right NO POLICE REPORT.
I would have to surmise that Ms. Ray, as Bear Branch’s new principal, did not want the father to address the first school board meeting of the year voicing complaints directed at her school policies.
Magnolia ISD has since come out claiming the warrant that was issued in the fall was due to the father attempting to be “verbally and physically” abusive to a staff member at Bear Branch Elementary though there is no police report backing up such claims. Fox 26 asked the district the following regarding the superintendents statement.
It is their understanding? WHAT? Do they not have any facts? Now not only has this father, a school volunteer, been portrayed as possibly “verbally and physically abusive”, the district is now claiming his behavior has been an on going problem although there is no report of it. Hmmm, interesting?
The district also claimed there was no police report. Well after filing a Public Information Request the Montgomery County Attorney’s office released the police report that doesn’t exist. See below. I would like to mention that the superintendent, Todd Stephens claims in his press releases that a father has continually been a “verbal and physical” danger. Though the police report has zilch information pertaining to this or why a trespass warning was issued. Interesting. Again Magnolia ISD where is the truth?
Superintendent, Todd Stephens was emailed by the parents asking once again to be allowed to walk their children home as well as having the “Trespass Warning” removed. His response below specifically states there will be no “bike rider or walkers” at Bear Branch. In regards to removing the “Criminal Trespass Warning”, the superintendent left that up to the Ms. Ray, the principal. WHAT? Let’s look at this objectively. We have a man that the district claims is, and has been, a “physical threat” to staff at Bear Branch Elementary prompting them to call Constable, David Hill’s office to invoke a criminal trespass warning. Now the school principal, Holly Ray is qualified to determine when this father is no longer a threat in order to remove the warning? You can’t make this stuff up.
We also have two moms that walked to the school and picked up their children at the close of the school day in March and returned home. Within the hour Ms. Ray calls for a constable from Constable David Hill’s office to serve them papers at their home, in front of their neighbors and children. The constable informs the moms that if they walk their children home again they could either be charged with a class B misdemeanor or arrested. SERIOUSLY?
Asked by Fox News Reporter, Andrea Watkins if the district will apologize for the excessive force and intimidation tactics. The district now claims these moms have been a continued disruption to the dismissal procedures. More blame shifting and intimidation on behalf of Magnolia ISD district.
The following paper was distributed to parents at the beginning of the year. The policy states “If you need to come inside the building after school, please remain in the car rider line until you have picked up your child and then park in a designated spot and check in at the front office.” I can see no other reason for that policy except to show the parents of Bear Branch Elementary that she is the boss and will control the parents and children and how they behave at “her” campus. Why else would you want someone to wait in the rider line, pick up their child, park, and then enter the building rather than park and enter the building where their child already was, do your business and return to you car and leave?
Texas State Rep Cecil Bell is now caught in the fray after posting Magnolia ISD’s response to Fox News on his Facebook Page. From all appearances it appears that Rep. Bell supports the Magnolia ISD School District over the parents in this situation and has yet to speak to them (his constitutents) regarding the matter.
I will end by asking Magnolia ISD where is the truth?
The days of having a school board that represents voters is OVER. Believe me when I tell you that behind the scenes the powers at be work in recruiting and maintaining board members that will not rock the status quo. School Boards do not want to be transparent. They are “NOT” forthcoming with parents, taxpayers or the community of their agenda’s or the progressive curriculum they are implementing. School Districts on a whole at the top are just another corrupt government bureaucracy run amok , sadly.
Magnolia’s ISD’s 2016 School Board election is this May and it appears they have roped another establishment candidate to replace Steve Crews for Place #1, local realtor, Kelly McDonald.Kelly will be the 3rd realtor to sit on the board which I find interesting. Have school boards now become a smaller version of the liberal “chamber of commerce”? Is serving on the school board truly about education any longer or business?
Unfortunately, across the United States we are witnessing the overreach of governmental authorities at various unconstitutional levels. One that hits a little closer to home is the utilization of government power to violate and intimidate parents and their “parental rights” when raising their own children as they see fit. This violation is happening by a greater scale on a daily basis with parents seeking legal council to fight this infringement.
Presently in the Texas school district of Magnolia ISD we are witnessing this government encroachment and intimidation with moms being threatened with arrest and class B misdemeanors. Their crime you may ask? Walking their children home from school. One would think this is a fabricated story but unfortunately it is not. Magnolia’s Bear Branch Elementary new principal, Holly Ray implemented this new walker policy this school year prohibiting parents to walk their children home even if they live within walking distance.
Mom’s Heather Burke and Lindsey Simmons live within .2 miles of the school and after numerous attempts to work with the school and their administration on their absurd “no walker” policy brought their complaints to the Magnolia ISD April school board meeting.
You can view the video of their complaints below.
ParentalRights.org has released the following video, OVERRULED highlighting the government invasion of parental rights
Magnolia ISD has been working quietly the last few years to implement the United Nations, International Baccalaureate Program (IB), paid for with our tax dollars. The IB program is promoted as a “prestigious & valued” program taken by students seeking college admittance and scholarships. Hidden is the history of it’s creation and mission of changing American Society. IB is no friend to the Christian faith or America’s western values.
Magnolia ISD is no longer an American School teaching American Exceptionalism, but a Global School with a Global Mission. You can read more about the history and mission of the IB program at the following post, Magnolia ISD Implementing “Marxist” Curriculum.
IB has a World Magazine which is published twice a year. The current issue promotes the practice of Buddhist Meditation called “mindfulness” by students and teachers. You can view this article in full on pages 11-19 of the March issue.
I have pasted a few excerpts from the article below. Please take the time to read the above mentioned blog post and the IB article.
If you are a Christian and value America and it’s freedom please make your voice heard and call the
Magnolia ISD Administration office and tell then we do not want this in our schools. Phone: (281) 356-3571.
Magnolia ISD has hit the news media by storm this week over a new policy restricting parents from deciding on how best to pick up their children from school. Parents who have walked to the school to pick up their kids have been served papers by the Montgomery County Precinct 5 , David Hill’s Constable’s office for doing so and informed if they did it again they would be arrested. Yes, I would say this was by far an overreach of governmental power and intimidation.
Parents have set up meetings and personally met with Magnolia ISD’s Superintendent, Todd Stephens, Bear Branch Elementary Principal, Holly Ray and spoke at a school board meeting regarding the new restrictive policy with no satisfactory resolution.
The Education Gestapo is at it again. The days of walking to the school or riding your bike are now over at least in Magnolia ISD. Principal, Holly Ray of Bear Branch Elementary had the bike rack removed prior to the beginning of the school year to stop children from riding their bike to and from school. Parents are not allowed to walk from their homes to pick up their children either. I find this ridiculous and hypocritical to the core. Our education system is busy brainwashing our children with the Global Warming agenda in limiting carbon emissions but then they turn around and demand you drive your car and sit in a long car line and emit carbon into the atmosphere (Disclaimer: I think Global Warming/Climate Change is a HOAX).
Parents in the Lake Windcrest subdivision which backs up to the school property have been issued warnings and restraining orders for walking and retrieving their children at the end of a school day. I would like to note these parents volunteer at the school on a regular basis. What are their options? They have to get in their gas guzzling cars and sit in the long car line or their children have to ride the bus even if their home backs right up to the school. As you can see in the diagram below the houses in Lake Windcrest are in great walking distance which I am sure was a positive when purchasing their home.
I am not an attorney but this law might need to be looked at by the Magnolia ISD administration.
Parent, Frank Young was issued a Trespass Warning to not step foot on any MISD campus in the Fall of 2015 without prior warning when he disagreed with Principal, Holly’s Ray’s policy. Frank later confronted the school board and has since removed his children from the district.
I would like to mention that the 3 following Magnolia ISD Board Members live in the Lake Windcrest Subdivision. Do you think they have stood up and helped the parents (the voters who put them in office)? Not in the least. Like I have always said school board members do not represent those that elect them. They become rubber stampers for the ISD administration.
Dr. Muhammad is on friendly terms with Nation of Islam Leader, Louis Farrakhan as you will see from their business affiliations and social media behavior.
The photo below is from the Nation of Islam’s online newspaper, Final Call dated August 17, 2011 where Dr. Muhammad joined with Farrakhan for a speaking engagement at the Nation of Islam’s First Ministry of Education Conference.
In 2009, Dr. Muhammad joined with the Nation of Islam and the Muhammad Universities for speaking engagements in transforming education. You can read about it HERE.
Shahid Muhammad, often referred to as the Math Dr. joined Louis Farrahkan at the University of Islam (MUI) for speaking engagements as well. Shahid is quoted the following when asked what is Mathematics.
As Houston ISD officials scramble to close their Robin Hood-induced budget gap, trustees are pushing a costly backbench issue to the forefront – the renaming of a number of district campuses.
Despite vocal outrage, HISD trustees voted last month to rename seven district campuses currently named after confederate leaders.
In a district that isn’t burdened by corruption and debt this push should draw ire because it represents an attempt to sugarcoat history. But considering the dismal state of affairs HISD has imposed upon itself, it should be anything but a competing priority.
Attempting to determine the cost of the name changes was all the more maddening.
Both HISD’s Public Information Office and Press Office, when responding to an inquiry about the costs associated with the change, said it “wasn’t determined” yet. The notion that district trustees voted on such a massive undertaking before considering (or even investigating) such an expense is unfathomable.
Following that response, we reached out to Board President Manuel Rodriguez who was the only official who had an estimate. Rodriguez said that each name change was estimated to cost around $250,000 — or about $1.75 million for the whole project.
In addition to unnecessary spending, a general lack of oversight, cost overruns, and a history of hiring questionable vendors, a lack of inter-district communication can now be added to the growing list of concerns plaguing the credibility of HISD’s school board.
District officials are focusing more on being “social justice” warriors than fiscal stewards acting in the best interest of the taxpayers and the students they serve. Rushing through emotionally charged, feel-good measures while failing to address employee concerns — all while ignoring a $200 million bond shortfall and a $105 million deficit— is at best, grossly irresponsible.
The inefficiency of HISD would be laughable if it were anything but a public entity.
Sadly, HISD’s problems are largely self-inflicted, and while some board members were voted out during the last election cycle, it doesn’t appear the new ones are adequately refocusing the board on their fiduciary responsibility to represent taxpayers.
– See more at: http://www.empowertexans.com/around-texas/amid-deficit-hisd-continues-spending/#sthash.tCnK4Z76.dpuf
Open Letter to the Texas State Board of Education and Texas Legislature 02.24.16
It is with profound sadness, frustration and concern for what is next that I write to you, following the viewing of the hearing by the Commission on Next Generation Assessments and Accountability that was held in Austin yesterday.
I am appalled by Governor Greg Abbott’s choice of appointment of Texas Education Commissioner, Mike Morath. While we witnessed a despicable display of arrogance by the Commissioner, I was grateful to finally hear him take ownership of the Common Core and national alignment in our state standards. Not only did he grace us with his humor and his wit as it pertains to being dismissive of our State laws, but he took a gleeful sort of pride in his ownership of this behemoth.
We learned from the Governor’s Commissioner and some of his supporters that our children are a profit and loss tick for the end game of Education Reform. We learned that he fully intends to comply with Federal mandates and “what the Federal government expects.” We now understand that he fully intends to monitor our children from cradle to grave for the purposes of “workforce development.” These measures are not just of academic performance, but actual physical responses to circumstances in the classroom. I was taken aback by the number of times “real time” was referred to and the number of metrics that will be supplied by this real time data initiative.
This Commission and any of our elected bodies that do not stand against are working toward pitting the people of this State against the government.
This is a pivotal point for education in our State because the powers that be are no longer hiding their intentions. Monitoring of our children at a Federal level, while denigrating the quality of their education is reminiscent of Communist models that the world has experienced in the past.
Social engineering, diminishing reading, writing and arithmetic in exchange for teaching values, attitudes and beliefs, tracking the moment by moment performance and emotion of school children, dictating the outcomes of their adult lives through the use of data, nanny state government in education… these things are the antithesis of Liberty. Remember Liberty? Remember the Republic? Remember individual sovereignty? Remember the enumerated powers?
This is a historical movement that will have your names on it. Which side of the equation will you be on? We know what to expect of the Beltran’s in this shift, but several of you identify yourselves to your constituents as Conservatives. Conservatives are liberty minded and understand the rights of the individual. Are you going to sign off on this knowing that it violates every premise that this country was founded upon? Will you let that rest on your shoulders? Will you be able to sleep at night knowing that you didn’t at least attempt to stand up for our kids, our state and our nation?
We will soon see because the time to stop it is now, before it fully makes its way into the classroom. You are either with the children or you are not. Make your position known today.
When in 1961 I arrived to the USA this was a Country where laws were respected, students went to school/universities to study and the people, in general, wanted to work.
Now, 55 years later, the fluoride in the water have already affected the brains of the population and the Republican Party apparently also succumbed to it.
I feel sorry not only for the Country where I was born but also for the Country that I adopted as my new Country. At the end of the 1960’s I helped the Republican Party to become a serious Party in Louisiana, and the Republican Party recognized my job with a beautiful diploma of recognition for my job.
The last debate of the Republican Party left me feeling in a very bad mood. Instead of showing what they were offering to save this Country they were fighting each other to the rejoice of the Communists that want to see Hillary Clinton or Barney Sanders as last President of the Republic.
If I would be running to obtain the candidacy of the Republican Party I will be using my time to expose the danger of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders directing us to the end of the USA as a free Country. If the moderators of the debate try to have me attacking some of the others running from my Party, I would ignore the question and would try to alert the American People of the threat of Hillary or Bernie.
I believe that any candidate that continue to fuel the attacks among Republican candidates is working in consort with the enemies of this Country.
For our children, grand children and great grand children we have to do better and not to descend to such suicidal tactics.
God Bless America, the land of the Free and the Hope of the World.
Dr. Carlos J. Bringuier
February 16, 2016
Carlos Jose Bringuier is a Cuban exile in the United States of America who campaigned against Fidel Castro’s government. Bringuier is principally known for his brief connection with Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin of President John F. Kennedy.
While the powers at be have purged our American education system of prayer and biblical teaching there is movement to indoctrinate our children with a positive view of Islam. The following is an excerpt from a study guide given to students at Magnolia ISD from their History teacher.
Does this teacher not listen to the news and the thousands of Christians that are being slaughtered for their Christian faith?
I have been trying to alert parents and taxpayers of the progressive teaching philosophy that is sweeping our country even in Texas. You will often hear “educrats” use terminology such as “Critical Theory” “Critical Thinking”, etc. It all sounds great on the surface but there is an underlying agenda to this teaching philosophy and one that is not good. Want to know more about this movement please tune into the following webinar, January 26.
In the aftermath of World War II, America stood alone as the world’s premier military power. Yet our sense of cultural inferiority remained. Many of our elites embraced not only the war’s refugees, but many of their ideas as well. Some of them argued that truth was only a social construct and that meaning was based on what the individual wanted. As a result, although we had just won a war against the forces of nihilism and fascism, the New Nihilists set about dissolving the bedrock of the country, from patriotism to marriage to the family to military service; they have sown (as Cardinal Bergoglio – now Pope Francis – once wrote of the Devil) “destruction, division, hatred, and calumny” – and all disguised as the search for truth.
The Devil’s Pleasure Palace exposes the overlooked movement known as Critical Theory and explains how it took root in America and, once established and gestated, how it has affected nearly every aspect of American life and society.
Michael Walsh is a journalist, author, and screenwriter, whose work includes six novels, seven works of non-fiction, and a hit Disney movie. The former classical music critic of Time magazine, he co-founded Big Journalism with the late Andrew Breitbart and is now a regular contributor of political and cultural commentary to PJ Media and National Review, and an occasional op-ed columnist for the New York Post. Among his awards are the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for distinguished music criticism, in 1979, and the American Books Awards prize for fiction for his gangster novel, And All the Saints, in 2004.
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As a Mom with a student in Argyle ISD, I am very concerned about the direction our school district is heading. As our schools embrace 21st Century Learning and the College and Career ready standards, we must ask ourselves as parents and adults; are our children being harmed by this?
As Moms and Dads, we need to step back and start asking “ourselves”…….
1. If our children graduate from high school or college with the attitudes, values, beliefs, behaviors and a worldview that we oppose and we know it is because their teachers have been trained to believe it is their responsibility to be the devil’s advocate and teach our children ‘Critical Thinking’ and to question and even oppose the foundational beliefs of our family; is that really a solid academic education that will serve our children and their future well?
2. Is our child getting college credits in high school more important than protecting our child’s mind and their soul?
3. If your child graduates from college, gets a great high paying job but no longer respects, much less believes, they are worthy of a strong marriage, a free and prosperous country, and that by the grace of God anything is possible; have we done our best to give our child a strong foundation for a happy joy filled life?
Let me give you a personal story from right here in Argyle ISD. This is what “21st Century Learning” also known as getting students “College and Career Ready” looks like in the classroom.
For a little background, my daughter is the only student in her class whose parents have refused to allow her to use a district issued chrome book or google student account.
One day she texted me screen shots of a quiz her AP/Dual Credit English 3 teacher asked the class to take. Because my daughter did not have a chromebook her teacher told her to take the quiz from her cell phone. The lesson plan for the class shows that they were working on group presentations on philosophy (in an English Class) and these quizzes were a part of the research each group was to do. Each group was assigned a Philosophy and after their research, each group gave a presentation to the class. The Philosophy’s the groups were assigned were….
3. Civil Disobedience
5. Categorical Imperative
6. Hierarchy of Human Needs
7. Social Contract
Parents!! Would you want your child taking a quiz called ‘Philosophy Experiments,’ in high school, much less on their district issued Chromebook, that grades their answers, compatibility, and then gives the student a “tension score” on a bar graph. Whatever two answers contradict, it plays devils advocate and makes the student question their beliefs.
Here are just some of the questions asked:
* There are no objective moral standards; moral judgements are merely an expression of the values of particular cultures. Agree or Disagree
* So long as they do not harm others, individuals should be free to pursue their own ends. Agree or Disagree
* It is always wrong to take another persons life. Agree or Disagree
* The right to life is so fundamental that financial considerations are irrelevant in any effort to save lives. Agree or Disagree
* Homosexuality is wrong because it is unnatural. Agree or Disagree
* It is quite reasonable to believe in the existence of a thing without even the possibility of evidence for its existence. Agree or Disagree
* There exists an all-powerful, loving and good God. Agree or Disagree
* The second world war was a just war. Agree or Disagree
* There are no objective truths about matters of fact; “truth” is always relative to particular cultures and individuals. Agree or Disagree
* Atheism is a faith just like any other, because it is not possible to prove the non-existence of God. Agree or Disagree
* To allow an innocent child to suffer needlessly when one could easily prevent it is morally reprehensible. Agree or Disagree
* The holocaust is an historical reality, taking place more or less as the history books report. Agree or Disagree
As I said, where there is a conflict with two answers, it analyzes the two and scores the student.
Here is an example……
Statements 5 and 29: Can you put a price on a human life?
28% of the people who have completed this activity have this tension in their beliefs.
You agreed that:
The right to life is so fundamental that financial considerations are irrelevant in any effort to save lives
But disagreed that:
Governments should be allowed to increase taxes sharply to save lives in the developing world
If the right to life is so fundamental that financial considerations are irrelevant when it comes to making decisions about saving human lives, then that must mean that we should always spend as much money as possible to save lives. If it costs £4 million to save a cancer patient’s life, that money should be spent, period. But if this is true, then surely the West should spend as much money as possible saving lives in the developing world. You may already give $100 dollars a month to save lives in the developing world. But if financial considerations are irrelevant when it comes to saving lives, why not $200, or $1000, or just as much as you can afford? If you do not do so, you are implicitly endorsing the principle that individuals and governments are not obliged to save lives at all financial cost – that one can spend ‘enough’ on saving lives even though spending more, which one could afford to do, would save more lives. This suggests that financial considerations are relevant when it comes to making decisions about saving lives – there is a limit to how much one should spend to save a life.
28% of the people who have completed this activity have this tension in their beliefs.
You agreed that:
There exists an all-powerful, loving and good God
And also that: To allow an innocent child to suffer needlessly when one could easily prevent it is morally reprehensible
These two beliefs together generate what is known as ‘The Problem of Evil’. The problem is simple: if God is all-powerful, loving and good, that means he can do what he wants and will do what is morally right. But surely this means that he would not allow an innocent child to suffer needlessly, as he could easily prevent it. Yet he does. Much infant suffering is the result of human action, but much is also due to natural causes, such as disease, flood or famine. In both cases, God could stop it, yet he does not.
Attempts to explain this apparent contradiction are known as ‘theodicies’ and many have been produced. Most conclude that God allows suffering to help us grow spiritually and/or to allow the greater good of human freedom. Whether these theodicies are adequate is the subject of continuing debate.
Do you realize these responses and their data can legally be tracked for research purposes by 3rd party contractors? President Obama changed the regulation on the FERPA law? A student’s private data can be collected without parental consent in the name of “Education Research”. Here is a link you can take the quiz yourself. http://www.philosophyexperiments.com/health/Default.aspx
After taking this quiz herself, Clinical Mental Health Counselor Joan Landes stated….
“It’s a classic psychological deconstruction technique to put a person in a double bind and collapse his cognitive framework. Then the “leader” picks up the pieces and reassembles them to order. This is an inappropriate use of psychological force on impressionable minds and unformed identities.”-
Now, you might say, what public high school teacher would think this is a good quiz to give and blame it all on the teacher, but…..
That local superintendent is ultimately in charge of curriculum, and you the locally elected school board are ultimately in charge of approving funding for the professional development of both the teacher and the superintendent. In addition, you are in charge of funding technology used in the classroom that allows for our student’s data to be collected. It has been stated to me that this is an AP/Dual Credit class, therefore it is a college level course and okay. To that I have to ask. Why is this okay in college? It is certainly not appropriate for high school age students.
The challenge with 21st Century Learning/Common Core/College and Career Ready Standards transformation of education, is how teachers are being re- trained to teach. It is their professional development. In addition, administrators are being trained, through their professional development, how to deal with parents who complain. It is actually the teacher who is in danger, because they are many times used as the fall guy. Education is no longer about reading, and writing in a 21st Century English classroom. It is about the 4 C’s Creativity, Communication, Critical Thinking and Collaboration.
In Texas we said NO to the Common Core National Standards, but we’ve said yes to our teachers being re-trained for 21st Century Learning using the InTASC Model CoreTeaching Standards; Learning Progressions for Teachers. The Copyright for these standards is owned by the Council of Chief State School Officers, who as you will remember own the copyright to the Common Core National Standards. They are all aligned to a collectivist philosophy of education. Check out standard #5. When you begin to research what is happening, you will see, this is NOT 21st Century Learning it is simply another push for OBE (Outcome Based Education).
“The teacher understands how to connect concepts and use differing perspectives to engage learners in critical thinking, creativity, and collaborative problem solving related to authentic local and global issues.”
Clearly worded in the InTASC paper is states; “these standards differ from the original standards in one key respect: These standards are no longer intended only for “beginning” teachers but as professional practice standards.”
The College Board’s SAT and AP (Advanced Placement) assessments and conceptual frameworks can be described as “Transdisiplinary” in their purpose.
Transdisiplinary is when the function of the subject matter, concept themes in the syllabus, and course frameworks are all used to guide how a student views the world. The technical term most commonly used is lenses. Effectively these lenses become the values, attitudes, and beliefs the students are to be taking away from the curriculum.
Therefore my question is, are you okay with this? As parents are you okay with your child in Argyle ISD being taught using these learning theories and teaching strategies?
Argyle ISD is not an isolated incident. Nor is it isolated to AP/Dual Credit classes. This is happening in school districts across Texas. (RISD) Richardson ISD held a meeting for angry parents speaking out against (PBL) Project-based learning. In the audio clip below you will hear Tabitha Branum, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education (formerly Coppell ISD) describe how teachers are no longer teaching as they did in the past and are being re-trained. She goes on to explain that the STAAR exams no longer ask questions about facts, such as “can you identify this organ” and or “what is the function of this organ?” Then the biology lead teacher explains why they are shifting away from learning facts in exchange for building “social skills”.
I would also like to let you know that my children are NOT allowed to take any surveys online or for the school district, state or federal government. If their grades suffer because of this I would like to let you know about this federal law.
Limits on Survey, Analysis, Evaluations, or Data Collection (United States Code, Title 20 1232h)
(b) Limits on survey, analysis, or evaluations
No student shall be required, as part of any applicable program, to submit to a survey, analysis, or evaluation that reveals information concerning—
(1) political affiliations or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent;
(2) mental or psychological problems of the student or the student’s family;
(3) sex behavior or attitudes;
(4) illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;
(5) critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships;
(6) legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers;
(7) religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or student’s parent; or
(8) income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance under such program), without the prior consent of the student (if the student is an adult or emancipated minor), or in the case of an unemancipated minor, without the prior written consent of the parent.
In preparation for the Argyle ISD school board meeting on Tuesday Jan. 19th, 2016. Here is a link to my public testimony at the Jan. 19th meeting.
ACTION ALERT: Texas public school students to be unable to read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution – no cursive writing to be taught
To voice objections to no cursive writing — The public is encouraged to send their comments to the TEA at the following address:TEKS@tea.texas.govand/or to write to the Texas State Board of Education members:
The reason for this separate addendumis to explain thoroughly my concern that the leadership of the ELAR/TEKS Review Committee Members (RCM) chose to follow the Type #2 philosophy of education as exhibited in the Common Core Standards by taking away cursive handwriting from the Texas public schools.
Here is my Objection #5 which should be added to the Objections #1 – #4 in yesterday’s critique. I have also added Objection #6 at the end of this addendum:
The present ELAR/TEKS document (Beginning with School Year 2009 to the present) states:
(23) Oral and Written Conventions/Handwriting, Capitalization, and Punctuation. Students write legibly and use appropriate capitalization and punctuation conventions in their compositions. Students are expected to:
In the Nov. 2015 ELAR/TEKS Draft, no mention is made of cursive writing to be taught in Grade 3.
Texas is one of the few states that requires cursive writing to be taught, starting in Grade 3. However, for some time, this state mandate in the present ELAR/TEKS to teach cursive has been ignored; and many Texas teachers have quit teaching cursive or correct handwriting habits.
Because Grade 3 teachers have quit teaching cursive, then the students going forward from Grade 3 have no longer had the ability to write nor to read cursive. Because the skills learned in ELAR are competency-based (build upon one another) and because the ELAR/TEKS set explicit goals at each grade level/course level, once students are taught to master a certain skill, then they are to be held accountable in the future grade levels to demonstrate that mastery.
In other words, once students are taught cursive in Grade 3, teachers in the succeeding grade levels can expect students to write cursively and to read text written in cursive writing.
The Common Core Standards deliberately do not support the teaching of cursive writing for two reasons: (1) The agenda behind Obama’s Common Core Standards is to dumb down students to the same common level, and (2) Obama and his administration are indoctrinating students into the social justice agenda.
One of the best ways to indoctrinate this and future generations of students is to make sure they can no longer read the historical documents upon which our nation is founded.
Beyond the obvious (e.g., personal thank-you notes, friendly letters, etc.), if students can no longer read cursive writing, they will not be able to read the primary sources upon which our country is built — the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, journals, diaries, love letters, historical documents, ledgers, etc.
Students will also not be able to read historical and literary documents that come from Britain and other English-speaking nations. This means that large portions of resources in every museum and library in this country and throughout the world would be unintelligible to generations of non-cursive-reading students. They would be forced to have someone else interpret these documents for them which is a dangerous thing in today’s politically correct world.
The advantages of cursive are well documented. Cursive is a much faster form of handwriting than printing because each letter flows into the next letter. If people are without computers and need to be able to take or write notes, their handwriting speed would be severely impaired if they did not know how to write cursively.
Computers are not always accessible and do not always work. Schools are already finding that out as they put their students in digitized textbooks. When the network or the device goes down, all learning stops! As schools are forced to cut their technology budgets and the layers of tech support staffers are overcome with the deluge of techie devices in the schools, these “computer down” occurrences are occurring much more regularly.
Nothing forces students to pay attention to detail better than their having to write their compositions, test answers, open-response questions, timed writings in longhand; and cursive prioritizes classroom time.
When people go into an office to apply for a job, they generally have to fill out applications in longhand. Being able to write quickly, neatly, and clearly gives the prospective employer a favorable impression of the applicant.
How many of us who go to doctors’ offices, dentists’ offices, and hospital/clinic offices frequently are asked to fill out forms? Again, being able to write quickly, neatly, and clearly expedites those office visits and gives healthcare workers important information about our health.
We also have credible research done by qualified, peer-reviewed, published researchers that proves cursive is good for the brain.
…psychologists and neuroscientists say it is far too soon to declare handwriting a relic of the past. New evidence suggests that the links between handwriting and broader educational development run deep.
Children not only learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand, but they also remain better able to generate ideas and retain information. In other words, it’s not just what we write that matters — but how.
“When we write, a unique neural circuit is automatically activated,” said Stanislas Dehaene, a psychologist at the Collège de France in Paris. “There is a core recognition of the gesture in the written word, a sort of recognition by mental simulation in your brain.
“And it seems that this circuit is contributing in unique ways we didn’t realize,” he continued. “Learning is made easier.”
…When children had drawn a letter freehand, they exhibited increased activity in three areas of the brain that are activated in adults when they read and write: the left fusiform gyrus, the inferior frontal gyrus and the posterior parietal cortex.
By contrast, children who typed or traced the letter or shape showed no such effect. The activation was significantly weaker.
…In another study, Dr. James is comparing children who physically form letters with those who only watch others doing it. Her observations suggest that it is only the actual effort that engages the brain’s motor pathways and delivers the learning benefits of handwriting.
Virginia Berninger, a psychologist at the University of Washington, demonstrated that “When the children composed text by hand, they not only consistently produced more words more quickly than they did on a keyboard, but expressed more ideas…When these children were asked to come up with ideas for a composition, the ones with better handwriting exhibited greater neural activation in areas associated with working memory — and increased overall activation in the reading and writing networks.”
Dr. Berninger goes so far as to suggest that cursive writing may train self-control ability in a way that other modes of writing do not, and some researchers argue that it may even be a path to treating dyslexia.A 2012 review suggests that cursive may be particularly effective for individuals with developmental dysgraphia — motor-control difficulties in forming letters — and that it may aid in preventing the reversal and inversion of letters.
…the benefits of writing by hand extend beyond childhood. For adults, typing may be a fast and efficient alternative to longhand, but that very efficiency may diminish our ability to process new information. Not only do we learn letters better when we commit them to memory through writing, memory and learning ability in general may benefit.
Two psychologists, Pam A. Mueller of Princeton and Daniel M. Oppenheimer of the University of California, Los Angeles, have reported that in both laboratory settings and real-world classrooms, students learn better when they take notes by hand than when they type on a keyboard…the new research suggests that writing by hand allows the student to process a lecture’s contents and reframe it — a process of reflection and manipulation that can lead to better understanding and memory encoding.
MY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE ACTUAL HANDWRITING STANDARDS
Not only should cursive handwriting be restored to the Nov. 15 ELAR/TEKS Draft going forward, but the teaching of good handwriting habits should be taught systematically beginning in Kindergarten. As I stated in my comments from 1.4.16, the Oral and Written Conventions strand should be restored to the Nov. 2015 ELAR/TEKS Draft going forward, and the following elements should be added to that strand:
The student is expected to:
(A) Practice good posture when seated at a table/desk for writing purposes.
(B) Practice proper pencil gripping (using correct fingers to form vise to hold writing tool) while correctly positioning hand and arm in relationship to paper and desk.
(C) Produce correct formation of letters using starting point, directionality, and ending point for each letter.
(D) Identify the top/bottom, front/back, margins, lines on a sheet of paper.
The student is expected to:
(A) Practice good posture when seated at a table/desk for writing purposes.
(B) Practice proper pencil gripping (using correct fingers to form vise to hold writing tool) while correctly positioning hand and arm in relationship to paper and desk.
(C) Produce correct formation of letters using starting point, directionality, and ending point for each letter.
(D) Identify margins and margin forming lines.
(E) Identify appropriate times for writing outside the margin lines.
(F) Start writing close to left margin line.
(G) Form all letters so they rest on baseline.
(H) Demonstrate correct starting point and stroke sequence for each letter.
(I) Form both lower and upper case letters in correct manuscript style.
(J) Form all letters so they occupy proper space in relationship to other letters.
(K) Allow space between words.
(L) Start next line at the left margin when one line is complete.
(M) Form both lower and upper case letters in correct handwriting style.
The student is expected to:
(A) Distinguish cursive from printed writing.
(B) Explain the purpose of cursive writing.
(C) Identify appropriate times to use printed writing (e.g., maps, charts) or cursive.
(D) Demonstrate how to form the connecting line between any two given letters.
(E) Produce neat, legible cursive writing (e.g., consistent slant, correct letter formation, correct size).
GRADE 3 – ENG. IV
The student is expected to:
(A) Use neat, legible cursive writing on most school work.
(B) Produce neat, legible cursive writing (e.g., consistent slant, correct letter formation.
In the Nov. 2015 ELAR/TEKS Draft, the wording is as follows in the Introductions for K through Eng. IV:
(a)(6) Statements that contain the word “including” reference content that must be mastered, while those containing the phrase “such as” are intended as possible illustrative examples.
I would like to see this wording clarified by deleting the above explanation and inserting the following:
If the curriculum element says “such as” or “e.g.,” – (1) teachers may teach, (2) textbooks/instructional materials must include, (3) the element preceded by “such as” or “e.g.” may or may not be tested on STAAR/EOC’s
If the curriculum element says “including” – (1) teachers must teach, (2) textbooks/instructional materials must include, (3) element is permissible to be tested on STAAR/EOC’s
Charles Butt, the Texas billionaire magnate behind the H-E-B supermarket chain which forbid the open carry of firearms law that went into effect January 1, 2016, opposes school choice, funds anti-school choice lobbyists, and is even credited for his role in killing a 2011 state bill banning “sanctuary cities.”
Butt is the 2015 fourth richest Texan and Forbes’ 44th wealthiest person in America with a net worth of $10.7 billion known for funneling hard earned assets into educational lobby groups that fight school choice, although the 77-year-old grocer received a private Ivy League college education that included an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton School and a master’s in business administration from Harvard. Texas Watchdog stated Butt believes that private competition “undermines government schools.”
However, Raise Your Hand Texas is a corporate sponsor of the Texas Tribune and Butt contributed $500,000 to the Tribune in 2014, with his all-time contribution to them at $1,150,000. Last year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, primary funder of the Common Core State Standards, donated $249,763 to the Tribune.
Texas Watchdog charged Raise Your Hand Texas “pushes for increased public school funding while opposing every substantive education reform at the state legislature,” including supporting and funding candidates who oppose reform efforts to the state’s education system, and measures that expand parental rights.” The dubbed Butt a key player blocking school choice instead “propping up a faltering public monopoly.”
David Anthony, who heads up Raise Your Hand Texas, was one of 35 Texas public school superintendents instrumental in formulating a new vision for “future ready” classrooms under the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA), another powerful education lobby.
In 2015, Breitbart Texas reported on the jarring conflict-of-interest that arose at the onset of the state’s last legislative session because House Education Committee Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock’s daughter, Michelle Smith, works for Austin-based lobbyist powerhouse HillCo Partners, which Texas Monthlyplaced “at the top of the lobby pyramid” since 1998. Smith’s two key clients were Raise Your Hand Texas and Fast Growth School Coalition (FGSC), which promotes rapid growth and spending on building new public schools statewide. Public outcry over the father-daughter connection put Aycock’s chairmanship at risk. Breitbart Texas reported that Smith withdrew her lobbyist registration status at the onset of the 84th Legislature to thwart that outcome.
Butt also funds the Texas Parent PAC, the largest recipient of his 2014 contributions at $1,498,000 and recognized as a top “power PAC” in the state. Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio), who appoints the House Education Committee, received $168,000 from Butt that year. Butt contributed $161,458 directly to the committee members, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Texas Watchdog highlighted that the largest contribution chunk, $76,920 went to Straus’ committee chair pick Aycock (R-Killeen), also the lead author on the state’s 2013 college and career ready standards, House Bill 5.
Texas Parent PAC contributed another $81,931 to House Education Committee members, according to Texas Watchdog. The Parent PAC has proudly endorsed Aycock since his 2006 election, although he announced last summer he would not run again. In 2013, he voted against vouchers. Last year, Senate Bill 4, an education tax credit scholarship bill designed to help low-income and at risk K-12 students, was sidelined in the House Ways and Means Committee after passing in the Senate. The House never gave it a hearing.
Yet, in the 11th hour of the legislative session, the House flung House Bill 1891 out for a vote. This big government community schools initiative backed by the Texas American Federation of Teachers was the union’s solution to combat public charters, Breitbart Texasreported. Its inspiration was the American Federation of Teachers Promise Schools, a co-initiative with the Albert Shanker Institute, a proponent of Common Core state standards.
Like Raise Your Hand Texas, Texas Parent PAC opposes school choice, which means different things to different advocates on both sides of the debate. Breitbart Texas reported the premise behind “school choice” as educational options decided upon by families and not educrats whether that choice is public, charter, private, parochial, or home school. School choice opponents often depict advocates as trying to dismantle public education and privatize schooling, attack teachers, and drain taxpayer funds from public schools.
“Not so,” Americans for Prosperity State Director Michael Hasson told Breitbart Texas last year. He said the point of school choice was to “maximize” educational opportunities. “Education is the gateway to the American Dream. It’s ridiculous to assume we can eradicate the system. We want to strengthen it,” he said.
In 2013, Raise Your Hand Texas supported virtual (online) education and adding more charter schools, although they pushed for legislation that limited the reach of the proposals backed by pro-school choice advocates, the Texas Tribune reported, saying Butt created Raise Your Hand Texas to “combat private school vouchers.” Groups like Texas Freedom Network oppose school choice because they do not want taxpayer dollars to move out of the system with the child. Arizona, Florida, and Nevadaembraced education savings style “voucher” accounts (ESA) as a means to flee failing schools and empower parents in making educational decisions for their children.
In December, the Texas Education Agency released its Public Education Grant (PEG) list for its 5.2 million publicly educated K-12 students and it identified the degree to which the system failed — 1,532 campuses landed on the list for poor test scores or unacceptable ratings, an increase from the previous year’s 1,199 failing schools. Texas has approximately 8,600 campuses totalling 1,200 school districts and charters.
Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Kent Grusendorf described a core conundrum of the public education “monopoly.” He wrote: “Thousands of great people work in the field of public education. Unfortunately, union leaders, bureaucrats and politicians all think they can tell teachers what is best. We must set educators free. We must set our children free.” He underscored that historically “monopolies are inherently inefficient in the allocation of resources,” adding that Texans spend over a quarter of a million dollars per year for a classroom of 25 students where the average teacher earns $50,000. “In order to advance professionally, great teachers must leave the classroom, where they have great value to the institution, and move into administration, where in many cases, they add less value,” he noted.
In 2011, Butt, along with Houston homebuilder Bob Perry, no relation to former Gov. Rick Perry, worked to kill important legislation in the fight against illegal immigration. H-E-B operates 300-plus markets in Texas and also 52 in Mexico. Through HillCo Partners, they applied pressure to the state’s House panel to block Perry’s anti-sanctuary cities measure. The supermarket mogul gave nearly $2.2 million to squash the bill, the Dallas Morning Newsreported, footnoting that Texans for Public Justice ranked Butt third among givers to legislative candidates in 2008.
That blocked legislation would have allowed law enforcement officers to inquire about the immigration status of people they detained, the Houston Chroniclereported. Since the Texas legislature failed to pass any anti-sanctuary cities measures, Gov. Greg Abbott made this a 2015 priority, coming up with his own plan to deal with law enforcement officials who won’t enforce the law, Breitbart Texas’ Bob Price reported. In October, Abbott called to end sanctuary city policies in Texas, Price also reported. That came in response to a Dallas County Sheriff who intended to lighten up on immigration holds for jailed illegals and legal aliens, no longer detaining them for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Abbott said these types of sanctuary city policies will “no longer be tolerated in Texas.” A week later, he announced a new plan to strip state grant funding from county sheriffs with a Sanctuary City policy of not honoring ICE detainers, Breitbart Texas reported.
The Texas H-E-B stores will continue to abide by state CHL laws and allow concealed carry of handguns in stores..
“Gov. Abbott Makes Bad Choice for Texas Comm. of Education”
By Donna Garner
As a conservative, I appreciate Gov. Greg Abbott for the many courageous positions he has taken for Texas; but he really missed it on this one!
I cannot think of very many people whom Gov. Greg Abbott could have appointed who would have been a worse choice than Mike Morath as Texas Commissioner of Education. (12.14.15 — Press release- “Gov. Abbott Appoints Mike Morath As Texas Education Commissioner — http://gov.texas.gov/news/appointment/21773 )
Mike Morath is supporting almost everything bad in education – the same Type #2 philosophy of education that opens the door to subjective, digitized curriculum and assessments found in Common Core/CSCOPE; the same “innovative” school model pushed by TASB and TASA with their 21st century transformational “visioning” approach to education; and the greedy consultants, lobbyists, and vendors who make a fortune off education’s “Golden Goose” of public dollars.
Gov. Abbott had previously appointed Mike Morath as the chairman of the Texas Commission on Next Generation Assessments and Accountability (NGAA). It seems clear to me that the purpose of this commission is to recommend to the Texas Legislature that they replace the traditional public school classroom (where teachers teach fact-based curriculum directly and systematically while face-to-face with their students) WITH the 21st century transformational model where students receive all their instruction through digitized curriculum. Grading is done through subjective assessments (e.g., portfolios, projects, group work); and curriculum focuses on students’ feelings, emotions, and opinions – not on hard facts with right-or-wrong answers. Students graduate through online and dual credit courses with wishy-washy accountability standards and unsecure testing procedures.
Obviously if Mike Morath was chosen as the chair of this NGAA commission, he intends to implement this same Type #2 philosophy across Texas as the newly appointed Commissioner of Education.
America has hundreds of years of historical data to prove that the traditional Type #1 philosophy of education produces success. Americans became the leader of the world because of the many scientists, inventors, technicians, entrepreneurs, engineers, writers, historians, and businessmen who used their Type #1 education to elevate themselves to great heights. They were educated on a Big Chief Tablet.
Where is the proof that the Type #2 digitized “global citizen of the world” approach will make America great? In fact, there is no long-term, independent, peer-reviewed research to prove that that method of education works.
To be very honest, we see just the opposite when we look around our society and see the ever-growing numbers of people educated through the Type #2 philosophy of education who are sorely lacking in the most basic knowledge and skills.
THE LAUGHABLE PRESS RELEASE
I do not mean to be unfairly critical, but it is almost laughable for the Governor’s office to try to boost the confidence of the public in Mike Morath by mentioning his less than one year of teaching experience (computer science) after a teacher had unexpectedly resigned.
My hint to Governor’s office: “One year or even less of teaching experience doth not a teacher make.”
Another laughable part of the Governor’s press release is the emphasis on Mike Morath’s years on the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees. Anyone who has been following education in Texas very long knows that DISD is one of the worst functioning public school districts in Texas as shown by mountains of hard, verifiable data, including numerous articles published by the Dallas Morning News. Here are but a few of them:
“Results from the latest STAAR exams show that most of the initial 21 schools in the Imagine 2020 program are worse off than before it started…Among the 14 elementary schools, a majority of them have lower passing rates on the five STAAR exams since Imagine 2020 began.”
“Evaluation:The claim that minority students in Dallas are twice as likely to pass Advanced Placement exams than anywhere else in the nation is not supported by evidence. The data used did not include many urban districts, and at least one urban district beat Dallas.”
“STAAR test results released Friday by Dallas ISD offer little evidence of systemic progress…Compared with last year, the passing rate dropped for eight of 11 exams in grades three through eight…Similarly, compared with results from 2012 — a higher percentage of students failed this year in eight of 11 exams.”
MIKE MORATH’S FAILURE WITH HOME RULE
Even the home-rule initiative in Dallas ISD that Mike Morath championed ended up as a total failure. Morath helped start a group with the misnomer of a name — “Support Our Public Schools.” In reality this group wanted to turn Dallas ISD into a home-rule charter district that would have been run by a handful of high-level people with no real accountability and no elected school board members to whom the public could have turned with their concerns.
These two articles chronicle Morath’s failed attempt at home-rule:
“The effort to overhaul the way Dallas ISD operates began with a bang a year ago but ended with a whimper Tuesday…The home-rule initiative launched in March with a petition drive and support from influential politicians and wealthy backers. But the public’s enthusiasm never matched their fervor…a home-rule district could undermine people’s democratic rights.”
Mike Morath, who helped start Support Our Public Schools and is the only DISD trustee who backs the effort…Some opponents don’t trust the home-rule leaders, including its chief funder, Houston billionaire John Arnold…Support Our Public Schools spent 10 weeks collecting signatures and paid people to get them…Some fear the effort is about taking control of DISD’s $1.2 billion annual budget.”
WHY WAS MIKE MORATH CHOSEN?
In a nutshell, “It ain’t what you know but who you know.”
Mike Morath is cozy with Houston billionaire John Arnold (of former Enron fame). John Arnold established The Arnold Foundation that is pushing school choice. The Arnold Foundation works closely with Julie Linn of Texans for Education Reform. Linn, who used to work for an education company that designed online courses, became an education advisor to Gov. Perry and then to Gov. Abbott.
Both Mike Morath and Julie Linn seem to have had no real teaching experience, yet we are supposed to accept both as “experts” on how and what should be taught to help students become well-educated citizens. I find this extremely hard to believe after having taught for 33+ years myself.
As I and other people have said many times before, “We are not against school choice; but when every school in America is following the same Type #2 philosophy of education, then there really is no choice for anyone.”
Mike Morath is not the right person for the Texas Commissioner of Education. He will not support whole-heartedly the Type #1 curriculum standards that the elected members of the Texas State Board of Education have worked so hard to adopt. Morath’s philosophy of education is very closely attuned to that of the Obama administration’s Type #2 Common Core. I am terribly disappointed in Gov. Abbott’s choice of Mike Morath as the Texas Commissioner of Education.
The NCLB reauthorization bill is 1,059 pp. and is to be voted on by the House in two days (Dec. 2, 2015). Remember that the House has been on Thanksgiving recess and just returned to their offices.
Speaker Paul Ryan should be ashamed of himself for trying to push through a bill that neither the House members nor the public has had time to read. What happened to the 60-day rule and with his promises of transparency?
MESSAGE FOR ALL CONGRESSMEN:
We have gone this long without rewriting the NCLB bill, and we can wait until after the 2016 elections. We as the American people do not trust this President, and we certainly do not trust any NCLB reauthorization bill that he would sign.
We also do not want a repeat of ObamaCare in which a similar omnibus bill was passed unscrupulously, has caused mass chaos in our healthcare system, and has led to increased debt and suffering.
Congressmen, we expect you to vote “NO” on the reauthorization of NCLB and to wait until we get another President and possibly other Congressmen in place after the elections of 2016.