I posted an article yesterday revealing a situation I perceive to be a “Conflict of Interest” taking place in the Huntsville Independent School District. Read it HERE.
Shortly after posting the article I received the following comments from Huntsville ISD school
board member,Sam Moak.
I am Sam Moak. I am a Christian, a husband, a father and a son. Yes my wife works at Education Service Center Region VI. So did my mother, for 37 years. I do not follow anyone and I think for myself. Am I perfect, no, but I am honest and have done nothing wrong. Yes, our children did attend Alpha Omega Academy, a wonderful Christian school. It was a choice as Christians we made and I am not afraid of. However, due to situations related to my wife’s illness, we choose to move to HISD. I am a graduate of HISD and proud of both AOA and HISD. CSCOPE is a political issue. Unfortunately, all the children of Texas are victims of this political battle. I only want what is the best for all the children of Huntsville. HISD cannot afford, nor can the vast majority of school districts in Texas, to hire a curriculum writer. Therefore, long before I was on the HISD School Board, the decision was made to use CSCOPE as a resource. It’s use was and never has been mandated at HISD. I am tired of hearing Mrs. Russell and her mother, Janice Van Cleave, repeat over and over the problems with CSCOPE. They point to 3 or 4 lessons in the social studies segment and brand the entire 1600 lessons as bad. Mrs. Russell you choose to homeschool your child(ren) and your mother, Janice Van Cleave, has made quite a nice living selling over 89 education products to homeschoolers, some of which is written (oh Horror), in other languages. I find nothing wrong with families that choose to homeschool, however, I suspect your motives are not true. You use the Tea Party and Senator Dan Patrick and any means you can to attack public school districts and the wonderful money saving Education Service Centers throughout our state. It would cost our school districts, and thus the taxpayers, millions of dollars to replace the Education Service Centers. But is your real purpose to support a voucher system in Texas? A system that allows folks who can afford to segregate their children from other children? Or is it to help promote your choice of homeschooling and to sell education material written by your mother? Or do you Mrs. Russell support purchasing our children’s curriculum from a foreign based entity (Pearson) that sells curriculum to 70 other countries including Islamic ones? What is your educational background? Training? What makes you such a self proclaimed expert on education?
I did not wake up one day and decide to fight the public school system in Texas. Not by a long shot. I have always been politically active and my mother has not. Unfortunately the cause fell in my lap when mom asked me to look into a situation she found her self in.
My mother is in her 70’s and retired. She spends time serving her community by visiting widows in nursing homes and tutoring. This all started over a year ago when she tried to tutor some children in her local school district. When she asked them where their textbooks were they said they had none. (RED FLAG) The teacher knew mom’s reputation and gave her a copy of a CSCOPE science lesson. Finding it riddled with errors she asked for additional lessons and was refused. (RED FLAG) She had even taught in this particular school district years earlier prior to her writing. Needless to say she ended up in her local ESC in Waco where they refused to let her see the CSCOPE lessons as well. The actions and behavior by all involved raised some serious (RED FLAGS). I put mom in contact with SBOE chairman Barbara Cargill who had not heard of CSCOPE either and she also requested the ESC to give her a password and they refused (RED FLAG). Barbara was not able to get a password to CSCOPE for six months until Gov Perry got involved (RED FLAG).
When the CSCOPE reps in Austin found out who mom was they drove to her local town of Marlin to meet with her. SERIOUSLY! I along with another gentlemen attended the meeting to their surprise. They had hoped they could team up on her 5 to 1 and were not happy with our presence. I have the whole meeting recorded HERE. It is long and boring. But at one point in the conversation I handed the CSCOPE State Coordinator, the Islamic Powerpoint and he tries to deny it (RED FLAG).
I then filed a Public Information Request and TESCCC asked the attorney General to deem them a “non governmental entity” which he denied. They also stated that mom was a CSCOPE competitor in hopes he would rule on their behalf. The lie has made it’s round through the education system.
We then started going public and teachers would contact us anonymously asking for help. They informed us that their administrators were having them to sign non disclosure statements that they would not release the contents or say anything negative about it. (RED FLAG).
I spoke at the Willis ISD Board meeting in October in regard to CSCOPE. I had no idea at the time who Lindy McCullogh (ESC CSCOPE COORDINATOR) was or that she was there. She spoke after me and was obviously outraged that I had spoke out against CSCOPE. (RED FLAG)
I later called ESC director Brent Hawkins and in our conversation he said “you will not tear apart something we implemented”. (RED FLAG)
Now, with all the flags and strange behavior by some many educators in regard to CSCOPE we knew something had to be done. By this time a couple of veteran educators had contacted us and started talking.
Needless to say when you have an educational program that is riddled with the controversial material, parents can’t see it, teachers silenced and threatened with prosecution for releasing content, etc, that was enough RED FLAGS for us.
Being politically active I had a personal meeting with the LT Governor in January. Dewhurst said he would have the chairman of the Senate Education Committee which was Dan Patrick hold an education hearing on it. And he did. The rest is history.
I have not even got into the financials in regard to CSCOPE or their lack of transparency.
It has taken me over a year to finally find out what CSCOPE is all about and it was to implement “project based learning”(PBL) in the schools. PBL is based on the collective not individual achievement. PBL is quite the opposite of a Classical Education that your children received at Alpha Omega.
Huntsville ISD has spent thousands attended TASA’s Transformation Academies which is all about PBL. Why? Why do you support this radical change?
Now this week I get an article about Huntsville ISD’s waiver request. I saw your last name and it rang a bell with due to the fact that your wife had sent me twitter feeds months back and I put the pieces together. The more I research the more of this I find. It is one big spider web and the tax payers are paying out the butt for it.
How christian conservatives can set back and ignore what is going on is beyond me, I can’t do it. My children and grandchildren deserve better.
As for as mom and her books she has been accused of doing this for money. We got where we just laugh. If anything this has cost us both.
I am by no way a self proclaimed expert on education. Yes, I did home school both of my children who are now college graduates and married. But I do know it is wrong to pass out verses of the Quran to students, I know it is wrong to have students draw new Communist Flags,I know it is wrong to have students learn about the sex life of Islamic Women, etc, etc.. enough on the lessons. I know it was unacceptable and wrong to not allow parents to view what their children were taught. I know it is wrong to have teachers threatened with a lawsuit for disclosing content or speaking negatively about a curriculum. How you can ignore this? How can you vote to purchase this crap again and petition the state for a waiver is beyond me.
I want you to know yes mom and I have a following of conservative christian activist… but there are 100’s across the state that supply us information as to what is going on in their local area. We are not in this alone, not by a long shot. The days of our local school districts hiding and spending money with no oversight is over.
I am sure your and your wife are wonderful loving christian parents.
But I do wonder why and how you and other proclaimed christian people can set back and ignore this progressive ideology that is taking over our school system.
If you have any further questions I will be happy to answer them.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD”
This email is being sent to Sam Moak, a Huntsville ISD School Board Member, whose wife works at Region 6 and sells CSCOPE to the Huntsville ISD. Mr.Moak left a comment on www.redhotconservative.com stating that he is tired of me and my daughter, Ginger Russell, attacking CSCOPE. I don’t want to misquote Mr. Moak, so I’ll paste his comments here:” I am tired of hearing Mrs. Russell and her mother, Janice Van Cleave, repeat over and over the problems with CSCOPE. They point to 3 or 4 lessons in the social studies segment and brand the entire 1600 lessons as bad. Mrs. Russell you choose to homeschool your child(ren) and your mother, Janice Van Cleave, has made quite a nice living selling over 89 education products to homeschoolers, some of which is written (oh Horror), in other languages. I find nothing wrong with families that choose to homeschool, however, I suspect your motives are not true. You use the Tea Party and Senator Dan Patrick and any means you can to attack public school districts and the wonderful money saving Education Service Centers throughout our state. It would cost our school districts, and thus the taxpayers, millions of dollars to replace the Education Service Centers. But is your real purpose to support a voucher system in Texas? A system that allows folks who can afford to segregate their children from other children? Or is it to help promote your choice of homeschooling and to sell education material written by your mother? Or do you Mrs. Russell support purchasing our children’s curriculum from a foreign based entity (Pearson) that sells curriculum to 70 other countries including Islamic ones? What is your educational background? Training? What makes you such a self proclaimed expert on education?”
Hi Sam,I am Ginger Russell’s mother, Janice VanCleave and want to address some of the points you have made.First, concerned citizens do not have to have an education background to question what is being taught in the public school. But, I do have an education background and continue to study up todate educational teaching method that are applicable for classroom as well as home study. My background includes 27 years in public schools, mostly in Texas. My second career was writing science experiment books for kids and educators. My third career or I might say project is creating a science website with the primary focus on science fair projects, thus I feel very qualified to evaluate the CSCOPE Performance Indicators as well as other progressive Project Based Learning lessons (PBL). Those creating PBL lessons do not truly understand how to prepare students to use critical thinking to solve problems. They fail to provide kids with the tools for critical thinking.this is because they are using the constructivist/progressive teaching method, which assumes students come to class with the foundation knowledge and using this can discover for themselves. Parents can best understand this method by remember their child’s first science fair project or maybe every science fair project. The teacher announces that everyone is to do a science fair project–gives a list of all the necessary parts and sends them off. This is when I receive panic emails from kids and parents –How does one do a science fair project? Same method is being used with all PBL. No critical thinking–just anxiety and frustration. Now that the CSCOPE lessons are public domain, I can provide you with more information.About using 2 to 3 social studies lessons to condemn an entire curriculum. If you had listened to the Senate Education Committee hearing on CSCOPE, you would have heard evidence of many lessons. Barbara Cargill, chair of the state board of education had in her hands a folder full of examples that were pointed out to the committee. These were CSCOPE science, math, ELAR and social studies lessons all with errors and/or biases. How many of the CSCOPE lessons have you personally evaluated? Do the school board members at Huntsville ISD have passwords to the CSCOPE website?FYI: After being refused a password to CSCOPE for six months, Governor Perry had to request that Barbara Cargill, the chair of the State Board of Education, be given a password to the CSCOPE website. This tells you how secretive the content of the CSCOPE lessons were prior to the Senate Education Committee hearing on CSCOPE. Again, how many CSCOPE lessons have you evaluated?I have asked and received all science lessons K-8 from teachers who must remain anonymous. This is a sad statement. The CSCOPE lessons should have been public domain from the start. The ESCs are not suppose to support any one vendor and they become a vendor themselves. The ESCs are suppose to provide service to a specific region and they grouped together creating a one-size-fits-all curriculum with the goal of educating students across Texas EQUALLY. This can only be done by scripting lessons and school administrators monitor educators to force them to follow the script. Some give teachers more flexibility but still provide them with CSCOPE lessons that have never been evaluated for correctness. You sir, refuse to believe me when I tell you that all the the science lessons incorrectly present the scientific method which is 40% of the Science STAAR Tests. Not one CSCOPE administrator or School Board Member wants proof. I’ll start posting examples onWWW.TXCSCOPEREVIEW.comAs to Pearson Publishing, this company basically controls Texas Education now. Pearson helps write the STAAR/EOCs. Pearson publishes and grades the STAAR/EOCs. Pearson decides the evaluation of STAAR/EOC grades, thus this foreign based company controls what students are taught and whether they have mastered the concepts. Pearson also publishes study books for the STAAR/EOC tests. If schools purchased any materials it should be these study guides. Who knows more about the STAAR/EOCs than the company that writes and prints these tests? Does Pearson Publishing have an unfair advantage in the education market in Texas, you bet! Do the ESCs have an unfair market advantage over education materials sold in Texas? No doubt about it. Of course the ESCs have better prices for their vendor products, the state of Texas pays their employess, pays for offices, in fact pays all overhead. What the ESCs sell is pure non-taxed profit. Do the ESCs fairly compete with other vendors–No. I think you call this a monopoly. Now the CSCOPE money trail would be interesting. Where is all this money? I would like the ESCs to stop being vendors and start being independent service centers again. There is nothing fun and personnal about the ESCs now. It was fun to have the teacher workroom where educators and even parents could go to make cutouts for their class. This is gone and it was important. Some ESCs loaned out science critters. This should be part of every ESC. The ESCs could be providing wonderful services to schools in their district, instead the atmosphere at the ESCs is cloaked in secrecy. You have the STAFFERs who are kept in the dark and the CSCOPE group whispering and making new plans (documented statement from an observer).Pearson Publishing also sponsors TASA/TASB the private organization that school board members and superintendents pay membership and conference fees using the school taxes. This is no small amount— $100 Million has been estimated from the information collected from school districts. Yes, some of this money is for things like school insurance. But, why not buy from some local group? Citizens pay school taxes, superintendents and school board members give some of it to a private organization that is sabatoging STATE Education with their Vision Learning program to transform Texas Education. Were school taxes used to pay for the anyone from your school district to attend the TASA transition training?Sam, I am not sure I understand this statement you made:Janice Van Cleave, has made quite a nice living selling over 89 education products to homeschoolers, some of which is written (oh Horror), in other languages.
How I make my living has nothing to do with my questions of what is being taught in the Texas public schools. I do not write textbooks, nor do I write K-12 curriculum for every subject. I write science experiment books for kids and resource science/math books for educators. In no way is my work competitive with CSCOPE. In fact, prior to the development of CSCOPE in 2006, I was hired by many of the Texas Education Service Centers to present science workshops for Texas Educators. Region 12 is near my home and I have been involved with this group since 1975 as a teacher in the region as well as an author. As a science author, I was an honorary member of the Region 12 Science Consortium. I payed my own way to event and provided supplies and science books to the teachers in this group. Becca Bell, the CSCOPE director at Region 12 recently informed me that she never heard of an honorary member. I was welcomed at Region 12 prior to my asking to view the CSCOPE lessons. I dropped in with supplies and was welcomed. CSCOPE has taken the fun out everything it touches.As to your comment “OH Horror” in reference to the foreign translations. It is strange that school board members and superintendents responsible for purchasing CSCOPE for their schools feel the need to attack me and my work. I have met with Wade Labay, STATE CSCOPE director, and we have respect for each other though we disagree about CSCOPE. Mr. Lebay doesn’t share your view of me or my work. During a meeting with Mr. Lebay and Ed Vega, supervisor of CSCOPE curriculum, Ed brought a copy of one of my books and asked me to authograph it. I will contact these men today and ask them to give me a reference to post.As to only 2 to 3 social studies lessons being incorrect. These lessons caught the eye of the news media and continued to be discussed. But it was the lack of transparency that first alarmed me and got the news media interested. It was hard to get people to believe that in Texas Public Schools lessons were being taught that parents were not allowed to view. It was hard to get people to believe that teachers were being so micromanaged. Parents are aware of the truth now and it will be difficult for superintendents and school boards to continue purchasing unapproved education materials. Parents and concerned citizens will start demanding to be part of the decision making of the school. School board members are suppose to represent the community, but education materials have become a very profitable business for the 20 ESCs.Is there any conflict of interest in you being on a region 6 school board where you approve the CSCOPE product that your wife who works at Region 6 sells? Of course there is.
As to my supporting the voucher system. I know very little about this. As to people that can afford to use voucher so they can segregate their children from public schools. What’s the difference in putting children in private schools instead of sending them to public schools? I cannot say that I support the voucher system, but do support parents that choose the best education for their children and if they think the public schools are not providing this, then they should have some way to do so without having to move. I live near Marlin Texas. The Marlin ISD schools have failed the state tests for so many years that it is not even news worthy. Seven consecutive years of failure makes it difficult for families that have no choice but care about their children’s education. Families have taken new jobs so that they can move out of Marlin.Yes, Marlin ISD uses CSCOPE and that is where I was first introduced to this curriculum. A friend with an afterschool program asked me to tutor elementary children in science and math. The children in Marlin ISD are not issued text books. Does Huntsville ISD provide textbooks to students? I hope so because without textbooks parents have no clue what is being taught to their children. Without textbooks, kids have no resources to do any homestudy. Without textbooks, the education of our kids is limited to what teachers present in class and how much students remember. Yes, class notebooks are required in every class at all grade levels. Thus, the class notebook and what students write in it is all students have to review at home for class tests as well as the STAAR Test.One elementary teacher that taught in a CSCOPE school last year was forced to follow the CSCOPE lessons. She insisted on providing science books to her students. The administration did not want teachers using books because as promoted by the CSCOPE vendor (including region 6), even books aligned with the revised TEKS cannot update changes in the TEKs as often as the CSCOPE online curriculum can. This is a false statement in that the TEKS for a subject are not changed often. The science TEKS were introduced in the fall of 2010 and the next science TEKS revision will be introduced in 2016. The same is true for TEKS in other subjects. Another false statement promoted by Region 6 and the other 19 ESCs (the CSCOPE Vendor) is that books that are not aligned with the revised TEKS do not have information needed to teach these new TEKS. Not True.Science books with the TEKS for TAKS Tests have the same information with very few changes as the revised science books aligned with the new TEKS for STAAR Tests.Did you know that the 20 ESCs were paid $100 million dollars to prepare transition materials for Texas Eductors. YES I said $100 Million. Did they do it? Ask your local Region 6 for copies of this material. It was the transition material teachers needed. But 800 school districts were sold CSCOPE. Why? The ESCs had FREE material for the Texas Teachers. I have copies of this material. Do your teachers?Did you know that Region 6 received $1,041,156, just to present workshops for teachers in Region 6 during the summer of 2010 through the spring of 2011. Did your teachers attend? Were they invited?In 2011 Region 6 received $2,914,384 Million, yes almost $3 MILLION dollars just to present workshops to Texas Teachers so that they would be prepared to present the new social studies and math TEKs.There was never a reason for CSCOPE—the 20 ESCs received a total of another $100 Million dollars to prepare Texas Educators to adapt their teaching materials to the new TEKS. Were the Huntsville teachers at these workshops or did Region 6 sell Huntsville CSCOPE materials instead of providing the FREE materials they were paid millions of dollars to prepare, present and post on the Project Share?Are these the same ESCs that you have such concern about?At the bottom of this note I have a copy of the millions paid to Region 6. I will send this letter to region 6 and request an account of what they did with more than $4 million dollars. They didn’t give $4 million dollars of service to the educators in region 6. Instead they sold CSCOPE to school districts and some such as Huntsville are still standing behind the CSCOPE product. Maybe you should be asking Region 6 why they sold CSCOPE instead of giving it to your free– $4 million dollars is a lot of money and it should have provided your school with something free.Note: The attached files show how much each of the 20 ESCs received in two years to provide materials that Texas teachers still don’t know anything about. Let me suggest that you ask Region 6 to pull out that Rider 42 TEKS materials they were paid millions to present and start giving those workshops now. This solves the problem of not having the CSCOPE lessons.About these Free Rider 42 TEKS Workshops.The 81 Texas Legislature gave TEA via Rider 42 grant over $150 MILLION— I emphasize that this is MILLIONS of dollars. The objective being for the 20 ESCs to prepare materials so that teachers could easily transition from the TEKS for TAKS tests to the revised TEKS for STAAR TESTs. Science and ELAR Rider 42 academies were to be presented during the summer of 2010. All the 20 ESCs were given $50 MILLION dollars to create science and ELAR Rider 42 PD materials, post it on the Project Share website and give face-to-face hands-on Science and ELAR workshops.Did all the teachers from Huntsville ISD attend these special multi-million dollar workshops that were FREE. These workshops were to provide information so that teachers could easily transition from the Science and ELAR TEKS/TAKS to the TEKS/STAAR. Again, the 20 ESCs were paid $50 MILLION dollars to write materials so that all Texas teachers would start the 2010-2011 school year prepared.The Rider 42 materials were to show a side-by-side comparison of the two sets of TEKS, old with the new. Teachers were to be shown any old TEKS that included in the new TEKS. Teachers were to be shown new TEKS not used the previous year. In other words, the two sets of TEKS were to be totally compared. This was to be done so that teachers could modify their TEKS/TAKS scope and sequence. To modify their curriculum. To modify the lessons used with the TEKS/TAKS so that the new TEKS/STAAR would be emphasized.The main differences between the two sets of TEKS for a specific subject mainly referenced an increase in content. It is not that the revised TEKS were so much more rigorous, it is the STAAR tests that are more rigorous. This means that the TEKS need to be considered the minimum framework and lessons need to do much more than be aligned with the TEKS. This is one reason CSCOPE does not properly prepare students for the state tests Another reason is that the CSCOPE lessons have so many factual errors.Administrators and school board members who have purchased CSCOPE seem not to be aware that this free material was prepared and that the 20 ESCs admited that they did nothing special to notify Texas Schools about it. Yes a few teachers saw the workshops listed in the catalog of each ESC, but it should have been the most attended workshops ever given. This was the transition material that allowed teachers to revise their lessons so that new curriculum and lessons were not needed. Veteran teachers didn’t have to attend workshops to know this, but they were vilified any time they tried to provide information. The 20 ESCs had a product(CSCOPE) they wanted to sell. The big selling point for CSCOPE was that it provided all the materials teachers needed for the new TEKS. The ESCs instructed administrators that lessons for TEKS/TAKS could not be used for the new TEKS/STAAR–this was a lie.Veteran teachers knew this but were said to be lazy and only wanted to use their old lessons because they were used to them. Veteran teachers were said to be out of date and didn’t want to spend the time learning the new modern 21st Century Education Technology that the online CSCOPE curriculum could provide. The ESCs went so far as to train administrators that Veteran teachers were trouble makers. The slide shown is from an ESC training power point for Administrators.One administrator said that CSCOPE fills the gap between the textbooks aligned with TEKS/TAKS until textbooks for TEKS/STAAR are published. This identifies this administrators lack of knowledge of the content of textbooks. Other than add the new TEKS with comments, the science content of the old and revised textbook changes so very little. New pictures and graphs, a face lift so to speak. So for the ESCs to claim textbooks are not useful for our modern technology world are in it for the money because they are only trying to sell their online CSCOPE product.Parents need to demand that the school provide as well as use textbooks in every class. Yes, there are things in textbooks that parents are not going to approve of, but at least they are aware of this. Unlike the CSCOPE lessons that remained hidden from parents for six years. Parents are now aware and will be more questioning of what is being taught in 2012-2013. The terms used to confuse parents in the past won’t work because they now know what all the education double talk given by CSCOPE schools mean.Janice VanCleave