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PROPOSED A-F ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM

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An editorial opinion by A. Patrick Huff, Ph.D.:

This past week the Texas Education Agency took the school accountability system to a new low, releasing a “what if” letter grade tabulation for each school and school district in the state of Texas.  This report has sent shock waves across virtually every public school district in the state.  The report was a “what if” because the letter grades are not official.  It was only released to let all the public school officials, teachers, parents and students know what their school and school district would receive if the official results were released this year.  The letter grades are based on the 2015-2016 school report card and other factors.  I say other factors because to figure out all the other factors and understand them, you could be eligible to work at mission control in NASA.  Yes, it is that complicated.  I have looked at the formulas and, trust me, I feel pretty stupid right about now.  I’m not going to bore you with the details of how each grade was determined in this article, but I am going to try and make sense of it (or nonsense).

Here is a little background to bring everyone up to speed on what all of this means.  To begin with, Texas did not invent the A-F system.  The first state to use it was Florida, under Governor Jeb Bush.  It is now in at least 15 states.  In early 2016 the Texas Legislature under House Bill 2804, established guidelines for a new state education assessment and accountability system.  The purpose of the new program was to conform to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that had previously been passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Obama in December of 2015.  HB 2804 also established a commission to review the bill and make recommendations before anything became official.  This review board was called The Texas Commission on Next Generation Assessment and Accountability.  They met in Austin seven times with each meeting dedicated to hearing from “experts” in the field testifying about what the research and practices demonstrate about each phase of the bill’s mandates.  At some of these meetings the Commission allowed public testimony.  I went to Austin and testified in one of these meetings so I got a first hand look at how it operated.  Here is the TEA website where you can read about the Commission and pull up the Commission’s Final Report to the Governor:  http://tea.texas.gov/2804Commission.aspx

In the Commission report is the recommendation to approve what had already been written in HB 2804 regarding using an A-F grading format for schools and school districts.  Consider the language used in the Commission Draft Report under Long Term Vision, item 6, page 10.

6. Align the state accountability system with ESSA requirements.  Align the state    and federal accountability systems to ensure that the results are consistent and      share common goals. When the federal regulations regarding ESSA are released    in fall 2016, Texas will be able to use the guidance provided by the  specific federal regulations as it develops the A–F accountability system. An A–F accountability system to identify underperforming schools in Texas is scheduled to be implemented in the 2017–2018 school year  (Texas Education Agency, Next Generation Assessment Accountability, 2016, p. 10).

To note the importance of the first sentence is to state the obviously ridiculous.  The move to change the accountability system for schools and school districts to an A-F format is a federal requirement.  Once again, as I have stated time and time again, Texas is but a mini-federal U.S. Department of Education.  This is why we cannot seem to get away from doing what the federal government wants us to do when it comes to education policy.  The loss of all sovereignty occurred when each state came under the federal waiver to get out from under impossible mandates of No Child Left Behind.  Texas applied for and received their waiver in 2013.  Here is the link where you can read the entire waiver request if you so desire.  file://localhost/Users/huff_fitness/Downloads/TEA_Final_ESEA_Waiver_091613 (2).pdf

(You may get a warning on this website since it comes from my documents.  Don’t worry, it is safe to open).

If you are interested in how we moved from No Child Left Behind into ESSA and some how fell under Common Core, even though the Texas Legislature passed a law saying we would never come under Common Core, it’s all in this waiver application.  Please note, College and Career Ready Standards are the Common Core Standards.  Also in this application is where schools fell under Priority and Focus categories.  The federal Annual Measureable Objectives (updated Adequate Yearly Progress) is also in this waiver request.

Let me now turn your attention to the most important part of this article.  Superintendents across the state are decrying the issuance of the A-F ratings.  Rightfully so, I might add, they are putting out memorandums and videos that denounce these ratings and point to the unfairness of reducing a schools overall worth to a letter grade.  Yes, it’s true, a school cannot be judged based on the outcomes of a standardized test given once a year.  Here, though, is the issue. Where have the superintendents been on the outcry?  This has been going on since the early 90’s and with more high stakes involved since 2002 with the passage of No Child Left Behind.  Schools cannot be judged as Exemplary, Recognized, Acceptable, Met Standard, Unacceptable, or Needs Improvement based upon the yearly given standardized test.  It is a flawed policy and it increasingly affects schools negatively who have high percentages of low socio-economic students.  It discriminates with sanctions and endless shaming of the students, the teachers, the administration, the parents and the community where the school is located.  It is unacceptable that this horrid accountability system continues.  Now with the A-F system the lobbyist controlled congress (both state and federal) implements their latest in a long series of heavy handed tactics to demonstrate their disdain for the education system.  I mention lobbyist because education is an industry that makes billions of dollars every year off the backs of our children, and more specifically, by off the backs of our children in Title One schools.  Everyone knows this, everyone discusses this issue; but nothing gets done.  Our students are but guinea pigs forced to swallow the latest magic bullet curriculum program that the school district purchases for thousands of dollars.  I mention disdain by the legislators because I have been in the committee meetings, and I have testified before both the Texas House and the Texas Senate Education Committees only to be told my time is up and thank you very much.  Senator Larry Taylor did allow me more than the customary three minutes to speak, but my recommendations fell on deaf ears, just as every recommendation that came from a public speaker.  The only recommendations that were followed were those that came from the invited speakers, many of which came from the corporate sector.  The Education Committees in both houses of congress and the State Board of Education in Texas feel as though it is their duty to save public education.  The Lt. Governor and Governor feel the same.  To them, teachers can’t be trusted to teach the students.  Principals can’t be trusted to lead and manage.  Superintendents can’t be trusted to organize and implement the best, most trusted method of instruction.  No, it is the state and federal governments, the lobbyist, and the corporations that must be in charge of teaching our students.  After all, as Senator Taylor said to me when I testified to his committee, before the legislators took control students were graduating that could not read.  There was a crisis in the nation.  The government had to step in and take control.  I told him that students are still graduating that can’t read.  We don’t like it, every teacher is working to keep that from happening, but that is what happens in a free and democratic society.  A student can choose to fail if they so choose.  We don’t like it, but it is always going to be that way in a free and democratic society.  We have been under this system of accountability for going on three decades and what do we have?  We have a failed system where the controllers have their boot on the throat of every teacher, principal and superintendent and the pressure is increasing with each new phase of the accountability system.

So now we have the A-F system of school accountability.  Let me give you some examples of how some school districts did around the state.  The grading system of schools is broken down into four domains.  There will be a fifth added next year, but for now we will just discuss the four.  They are broken down as:

Domain I:    Student Achievement (how all the students performed on the STAAR test)

Domain II:   Student Progress (evaluating student progress in 10 student subgroup         categories, broken down into 7 ethnic groups, Special Education,  and English Language Learners, and their progress from the previous year’s results).

Domain III:  All tests from all grades results in the economically disadvantaged student       population only (These scores are compared with those from the previous  year and judged by improvement or regression).

Domain IV:  Post-Secondary Readiness (Elementary evaluated on absentee rate.

Middle Schools evaluated on absentee rate and dropout rate.

High Schools graded on a number of indicators, including absentee rate,       graduation rate, dropout rate, career and tech programs offered, AP and IB   courses offered, and a few other indicators).

Of course this is a simplified version and no mathematical statistical formulas are given to determine the outcome, so keep that in mind as I run down these results.  Keep in mind, also, that these results in no way indicate the worth or value of the education the students are receiving in these school districts.  Any comparison needs to be made with the understanding that the district with the most challenges have the most difficulty with this very flawed system that needs to be eliminated.

SCHOOL DISTRICT  DOMAIN I  DOMAIN II  DOMAIN III DOMAIN IV
ALDINE ISD D D B C
AMARILLO ISD C C B F
ARLINGTON C B B D
AUSTIN ISD B B C D
BEAUMONT ISD D C D D
BROWNSVILLE ISD C A A C
CONROE ISD B A B C
CY-FAIR B A B C
DALLAS ISD D B B B
EL PASO C B B D
FORT BEND B A C D
HIGHLAND PARK A A C
HOUSTON ISD C B B D
KLEIN ISD B B C C
LEWISVILLE ISD B B D C
MAGNOLIA ISD B C D D
PORT ARTHUR F C D D
ROUND ROCK A A C C
SAN ANTONIO F C D F
SPRING ISD D C D C
SPRING BRANCH B B D C
TOMBALL ISD A A B C

I hope that I have represented each district’s scores accurately.  My apologies if there are any errors.

Of course, this list is very brief and only represents a small portion of the school districts in the state.  They are, however, all large school districts with the exception of Highland Park.  Highland Park was included in this list simply to point out the disparity of the system.  This is not a slam against Highland Park.  They are a very good school district.  They do, however, have zero economically disadvantaged students.  At least none show up on the school report card.  This is why they did not receive a score in Domain III.  Highland Park received a “C” in Domain IV only because they went down in their Post Secondary Readiness Index from 96 in 2015 to 92 in 2016.  The score of 92 in Domain IV is an excellent score, but because Highland Park went down from a score of 96 in 2015 (the target score for Domain IV is 57 for high schools), they were shamed with a grade of “C”.  So, the public assumes Highland Park is just average in Domain IV, yet they had a very high score of 92.

Looking at the list provided in this article, I’m sure, makes you scratch your head and wonder how a district received the grade it did in each of the domains.  Some of the grades you can understand and others you can’t figure out how the grade could be what it is.  Due to the ramifications that go along with a letter grade, and the impressions it makes in the eyes of the public, you can see why the school officials are yelling from the rooftops that this is an unfair system and in no way reflects their districts quality and worth.  Yet it has been this way from the beginning of the Accountability System.  Those of you who have followed my articles and read my book, The Takeover of Public Education in America: The Agenda to Control Information and Knowledge Through the Accountability System, know that the central theme I keep repeating is the unjust nature and discriminatory practice the accountability system is for the entire nation, not just Texas.  But Texas is my state, so I concentrate on Texas, where I live and work.

Superintendents of the great State of Texas, I put this situation in your hands.  I think this is personal to you now.  Before, the old system of “met standards” or “needs improvement” didn’t quite have the sting of a letter grade.  Everyone identifies with a letter grade.  The Congress of Texas thinks this will motivate everyone directly involved with student testing outcomes to improve.  What Congress doesn’t realize is that school officials and teachers have been doing everything in their power to get the scores up, yet with little effect.  This is because no matter what program is brought in, or what guru is provided to help teachers teach better, the same demographic factors are almost impossible to overcome.  This, also, has nothing to do with ethnicity.  Nothing!  The schools success rises or falls with the percentages of students in Eco-Disadvantaged, English Language Learners, and the Mobility Rate for the school and school district.  The Mobility Rate indicates the number of students that arrive after school begins and/or leaves before the school year ends.

Superintendents, I call on you to organize.  Organize not around TASA.  In my opinion, The Texas Association of School Administrators has not served you well.  They have kept you in the status quo.  You must have an independent voice in order to get the attention of the state legislators.  Yes, the federal government wants this A-F system, but they have also said they want states to have more autonomy in determining their accountability systems.  Use this as your leverage point.  Apart from the parents of the state, whom the legislators have already demonstrated they do not listen to, the superintendents of the state are the only hope for reversing the A-F grading system, and the entire accountability system.  The whole system is flawed to its core and needs to be eliminated.  Let’s all come together and speak in one voice to eliminate the A-F grading system first, then the entire accountability system.

Dr. Patrick Huff is the author of “The Takeover of Public Education in America: The Agenda to Control Information and Knowledge Through the Accountability System”, 2015. The book can be found at http://www.aphuff.com.  Dr. Huff is a retired middle and high school principal with 34 years in the public education profession. He currently works as an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas in Houston.  He lives with his wife, Connie, of 35 years in Tomball, Texas and can be reached at aphuff51@gmail.com

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Texas School Board Member….Treats Constituent Like A Dog!

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dog

 

I have been saying for years that school board members do not represent their constituents, that they have morphed into being “rubber stampers” for ISD administrations. School Boards now are a “team of 8”, a superintendent and 7 elected board members (or in Magnolia’s case appointed) geared towards “Group Think”. You will rarely find a school board where there will be a dissenting vote on any matter. The Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) is to blame for brainwashing our school boards through their conference training. They frown upon a board member that actually can think for themselves and have labeled them as “trouble makers”. As matter of fact during the 2014 TASB/TASA conference there was a break-out session titled: “Dealing with Mavericks, Malcontents and Mutineers” led my TASB consultant, David Koempel. School board members are unapproachable, they will not return phone calls if they have knowledge you are not on board with the ISD’s agenda. This attitude is represented in Magnolia ISD school board member Ms. Kristi Baker’s retweet on twitter.

kristi tweet

On the heels of exposing Cscope (more on Cscope)  and the corruption within the Texas Education system in 2013, I then decided to run for school board in hopes of making a difference. I could see our country was at stake. So I applied to run for position 4 of the Magnolia ISD board, my opponent was incumbent Kristi Baker. Ms. Baker was appointed to the Magnolia ISD School Board, August 2013 a position vacated by member Brent O’Neil.

I did not know and never met Ms. Baker so I had no personal vendetta.  My running had to do with the education system as a whole “state wide” knowing how the federal and state mandates were changing our public schools and not for the better. I truly wanted to make a difference.  I even reached out to Ms. Baker after announcing my candidacy in hopes of telling her why I was running and my knowledge of the Texas Education system. She never responded and it became apparent Ms. Baker took it personally.

If there were to be an ugly, hateful, spiteful race this race could win hands down with the help of the Magnolia ISD administration. Magnolia ISD superintendent, Todd Stephens visited his campuses and told the administrations they needed to get their teachers out to vote. Substitutes and parent subs were sought so teachers could vote during the school day. Students and teachers were utilized and on behalf of the Magnolia ISD High School principal, Jeff Springer and a bullying campaign was raged against me also  during class time throughout the whole school day. I can only assume no school work needed to be done.

Over a year has passed since the election and I am regularly contacted by disgruntled parents and teaches around the state that are seeing the changes I have been alerting them to. Last spring a church member informed me that Magnolia ISD was working on implementing the International Baccalaureate Program (IB). For those that will do their research you will find that the IB program is affiliated with the United Nations Marxist ideology (collectivism) and the handing over the education of our students to a foreign entity, Switzerland. Magnolia ISD has already spent over 50K on implementing the program with plans of spending that or more this year though the program will not be in effect until the fall of 2016. I have been speaking out about this waste of taxpayers funds at school board meetings and alerting the uninformed public. As expected no school board member or the administration will have an intelligent conversation regarding the program, at least not with me. What would I know?

This leads me back to Ms. Baker who has not been active in politics until the school board race and is now knee deep in it. LOL  She recently joined the board of directors of the “NEW” Magnolia Area Republican Women’s Group and seems to regularly show up at meetings that I have regularly attended.  I am glad that our race prompted her to become more involved in the political process. As a matter of fact I saw Ms. Baker at a Rep. Kevin Brady town hall meeting last night. Since these board members are unapproachable I found an opportune time to approach her and asked, “Kristi, where are you on this UN International Baccalaureate Program?” She looked at me and said, “Run Along Ginger.” as if I were some dog. I was not phased I knew she would be rude so I asked her again. She fumbled around for the words to say and responded with, “Good Night Ginger.”  I gladly left. As expected Ms. Baker was dismissive of my question. Why? Isn’t she is a “conservative” republican? Now that Ms. Baker is on the board of the Magnolia Area Republican Women’s Group one could only assume she would not want the United Nations Program in our local  school district indoctrinating our children.  Or does she? As Kristi would parrot “Let’s do it for the babies.”

Why you should be concerned about International Baccalaureate

More on our school board race.

http://www.txcscopereview.com/2014/magnolia-isd-exploits-students/

http://www.ktrh.com/articles/houston-news-121300/local-school-board-race-turns-vicious-12321041/

https://staceintexas.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/magnolia-school-board-candidate-attacked-for-combating-common-core/

 

 

CGLAbOwUIAAgrEv

Kristi Baker

 

 

Kristi Baker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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School District Needs and Wants

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needs and wants

Later this year, the Texas Supreme Court will hear arguments from attorneys representing over 600 Texas school districts who claim they cannot properly educate Texas school children because the State does not provide enough money.

As a retired teacher who taught in 4 Texas public school districts over 30 years, I know first-hand that “money” does not equal “learning.”

Yet, Texas School Boards and Superintendents seem to always be screaming that the answer to low performing schools is more tax dollars.

Some offer complex explanations of how items from testing requirements to unfunded mandates drain the districts’ budgets – so much so – that hiring classroom teachers only occurs if funds are left over.

But could there be a much simpler explanation?

Something as basic as “needs vs wants”?

Did Lt Governor Patrick  hit the nail on the head when he was quoted as saying:

“I am proud of the Texas Senate for uniting to produce a conservative, responsible, state budget that will sufficiently fund our state’s needs over the next biennium, while providing $3.8 billion in necessary tax relief to the businesses and property owners of Texas.”  The Texas Senate figured a way to fund the “needs” of Texans and cut taxes. Why can’t 600+ Texas school districts figure it out?

Look closer at Patrick’s statement. Notice the two words: conservative and needs.

The Texas Senate budgeted for the “needs” of Texans, NOT for the “wants” of every Legislator or school superintendent.

That is the true fiscal difference between liberals and conservatives.

Conservatives believe taxpayer  money should only be collected for “needs” that only government can provide, (roads, schools, military, etc.) while liberals believe they are ENTITLED to taxpayers supplying their “wants” (day care, health care, cell phones, etc.)

But so many education leaders are “liberals” these days,  that often student “needs” and district “wants” are  purposely mingled.

To prove the point, I tried a little experiment: comparing the spending habits of two public officials – a conservative who believes taxpayers should only fund the “needs” of government vs a liberal who believes taxpayers should be paying more to provide for “wants.”

I selected two public officials from my area who were both new to their offices –

                    Dan Patrick     

      Texas Lt Governor

                         

Took office  1/13/2015 

and

James Colbert     

School Superintendent 

Harris County

                              

Took Office 12/1/14 

I filed public information requests to find out how each official had spent public funds on “wants” vs “needs” from 1/1/15 thru 6/1/15.

Was there a significant difference? I will let you decide.

First – Office Needs

Both men were provided the same fully furnished office space their predecessors had used.

Conservative (Patrick)The CapitalBuilding required the office be repainted between occupants. Furniture wasselected from current inventory. Nothing was purchased for redecorating his office.

Liberal (Colbert) – Hired a decorator and went shopping with the taxpayers’ money. Chose the new, modern style furnishings complete with a custom refrigerator. Gave the previous furnishingsto his newly hired assistant, Jimmy Wynn, for use in his new office.

 

Conservative Liberal

Lt Governor

School Superintendent
Desk                                        2,998.21

Serving Cart                           2,548.08

Custom Refrigerator             1,971.74

Conference Table                 4,267.82

End Tables(3)                       4,509.31

Executive Chair                       966.46

Conference Chairs (6)        3,002.16

Guest Chairs (2)                   1,837.29

Sofa                                         1,857.02

Board Room Seating(10)   3,823.50

Board Room Buffet             1,697.06

Board Room Cart                2,423.01

Shutters                                 6,375.00

Picture(1)/Plants(3)           1,500.00

Chrome Coat Rack                 315.00

Freight                                   1,175.95

Installation                          2,732.00

Design Fee                              850.00

New Wall Paper                  2,475.00

New Lighting                       3,193.00

 

Total   $   0.00

 

Total    $  50,517.61

 

 

Second – Salary

Conservative (Patrick) – 2nd most powerful person
in the State.

Liberal (Colbert) – Oversees approximately
1,000 employees

Conservative

Liberal

Lt Governor

School Superintendent

$ 600 per month

$ 16,250 per month

 

Fourth – Gov’t Issued Credit Card

Conservative (Patrick) – The Senate does not

issue credit cards.

Liberal (Colbert) – School district credit card.

Charged for travel; taking board members, district employees, consultants and vendors out for meals; technology supplies.

 

Conservative Liberal
Lt Governor School Superintendent
None

 

School District MasterCard

 

Chilosos’s Taco House                  20.75

Best Buy                                         324.95

Shady Grove                                   38.48

Schlotzsky’s                                     12.19

Reale’s Pizza                                   66.77

Courtyard by Marriott                769.88

Champions Restaurant                 24.65

Shade Houston                               56.25

Laurenzo’s Grille Dello                 44.62

Laurenzo’s Grille Dello                 53.19

Capital Visitor Parking                   8.00

Lola Houston                                 20.52

Maggiano’s Houston                    69.26

Chick-Fil-A Houston                    10.15

Rudy’s Country Store                     8.15

Reale’s Pizza                                   10.97

Green Mesquite BBQ                    16.33

Marriott Austin                             26.82

Marriott Austin                             25.82

Marriott Austin                           553.61

Babin’s Katy                                   42.68

Chick-Fil-A Houston                    13.85

Shady Grove                                   17.56

Schlotzsky’s                                    12.19

Capital Grill                                    11.14

Shade Houston                             44.97

Shade Houston                             37.48

Embassy Suites Austin               20.00

 

Total              0.00       Total                    2,361.23

Is there really a difference in the way liberals and conservatives spend public dollars?

This simple experiment seems to show there is.

Do taxpayers work hard to pay their school district taxes because the superintendent “wants”  a custom refrigerator for his office?

Do taxpayers work hard to pay their school district taxes because the superintendent “wants” to use his school district credit card to dine out with his assistants?

 

Is a school superintendent ENTITLED to plush office furnishings and a tax funded expense account?

That is for you to decide.

But the real  multi-billion dollar question is:

If the 600+ school districts which are suing the taxpayers for more money would budget as the Texas Senate did – fund “needs” and leave out the “wants” – would they have enough money to educate our kids?

They won’t know unless they try.

Note:

If you would like to let Lt Governor Patrick know how much you appreciate his respect for our hard earned tax dollars, you may contact his comment line at 512-463-5342 or  email:  LTGConstituent.Affairs@ltgov.state.tx.us

If you would like to let Superintendent Colbert know what you think of his spending habits with public funds, you may contact him at 713-696-0715 or email:  jcolbert@hcde-texas.org

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Texas ESCs Exposed-Part 1

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Unpacking-the-ESCs

 

 

Texas Education Service Centers (ESCs)

 

Some of the present and past employees of the Texas Education Service Centers (ESCs) want the public, the  Texas legislatures, the Lt. Governor, the Attorney General as well as the Governor to know the truth about the ineffective use of money poured into the ESCs each year.

The ESC employees providing answers include directors, specialists, consultants, and general staff representing many of the ESC regions. While remaining anonymous in this report, those providing answers assure me they will gladly speak directly to state legislatures, the Lt. Governor, the Attorney General as well as the Governor. The Commissioner of Education is not on this list because he as did his predecessor, Robert Scott, supports the actions of the 20 ESCs directly or indirectly by allowing these agencies to govern themselves.

Not everyone who works at the ESCs is involved in the misappropriation of funds or the creation and promotions of Anti-American instructional materials. Many ESC employees would like the Commissioner of Education and the state legislatures to cut off all funding to the ESCs. When the “chee$e” is removed, the rats will look for “chee$e elsewhere. The ESCs can then return to being Service Centers, instead of vendors with a monopoly over instructional materials.

When action is taken against the ESCs, school supervisors will no longer have any reason for not doing their jobs. They will no longer have the “common core” look-alike programs produced and sold by the ESCs promoted by TASA. WOW! I remember how wonderful Texas education was before TASA and long before TEKS and TAKS and STAAR. Texas education was modeled by other states. The textbooks that Texas selected were also selected by other states. Now few Texas schools have real textbooks and the education standards are at rock bottom. How can our Texas Commissioner of Education show his face when students can pass state math assessments by only answering less than 40% of the questions, yet many students fail?

Q1 & Q2 refer to CSCOPE, which the ESCs now refer to as TEKS Resource Service (TRS). The ESCs have been banned from selling CSCOPE lessons.

Q1

What was the objective of the CSCOPE conventions (now called the TRS conventions)?

A1

The ESC staffers who actually present CSCOPE workshops that have been describe them as cheer-leading sessions to build support for CSCOPE or provide general overviews that use ppts that are within the CSCOPE site.

The ESC staffers who present CSCOPE workshops generally are not invited to the CSCOPE conventions. Instead, mostly the ESCs send about a dozen ESC consultants who do no CSCOPE support work with schools using CSCOPE. These are Special Education and other specialists that never work with districts in regard to CSCOPE. We did ask why they were going and got no answer.

FYI: There is a lot of unnecessary money spent sending ESC specialists to conventions and workshops that have nothing to do with the area they work with. No one confirms that money spend on travel is necessary. No one confirms that training, even in other states, is ever used to train educators.

ESC staffers are basically kept in the dark, but are supposed to do CSCOPE workshops as well as our regular ESC workshops. No compensation is given for the extra work. As previously stated, many who attend the CSCOPE conferences do not present CSCOPE training to educators.

Q2

When the ESCs were banned from selling CSCOPE lessons, were the ESC staffers aware that the CSCOPE lessons were to be given to school districts? Also, were staffers aware that the gutted CSCOPE instruction material would continue to be sold to Texas schools?

Q2

We get few to no answers when we ask about CSCOPE. This program was brought in and we were told that it would be used. No questions asked. I can tell you that what we know about CSCOPE in-house is  different from the verbiage given to the public. We get little to no clarification about what is going on —basically we know to just keep our mouths shut and don’t ask questions.

Q3

Project Share– Is this something established by TEA?

FYI: Project Share is a website where Texas teachers should be able to find free instructional materials for all  grades and subjects. The first materials mandated by the 81st legislature in the Rider 42 grant to be posted on the Project Share website were TEKS transition materials. These were professional development materials that compared the old TEKS for TAKS with the new revised TEKS for STAAR. Academies or teacher professional TEKS training were to be given free and the training materials were to be posted in the Project Share website. $150 MILLION dollars was given to develop materials for the Rider 42 grant math, science, ELAR, and social studies academies as well as create the Project Share website. To this day, 2/18/2015, there are Texas teachers and Texas school superintendents who are not aware that Project Share exists. Few Texas teachers attended or even knew about the Rider 42 PD academies.

Ervin Knezek was an ESC employee when CSCOPE was developed as well as when the Rider 42 grant of  $150 MILLION dollars was being spent developing the Rider 42 academies and “Project Share.”  Knezek resigned from ESC 13 in June, 2010 and established the company Lead4Ward in Washington, State in June, 2010. What was suppose to be part of CSCOPE and wasn’t is on Knezek’s Lead4Ward website. What was suppose to posted on the Project Share website can be found on Knezek’s Lead4Ward website.

A3

Yes, TEA rolled Project Share out and every school district is supposed to have access.
But there are levels of access to the Project Share website. ESC staffers used Project Share  like a linked-in account to share ideas or materials. This was the original idea for Project Share. Not only were the Rider 42 academy PD materials to be available, but teachers were to be able to publish materials that they found successful. Also, teachers were suppose to be able to have accounts where they could share ideas with other educators.

Interestingly, some of the ESC staffers have now been blocked to our share boxes. We had access to these share boxes last year, but now there is a public outcry about the CSCOPE lessons, a lot of information is no longer available. We are not sure why except that there is such paranoia in all the ESCs. If what is being told to the public is true about the CSCOPE lessons, why has the ESC  leadership become so secretive about files that were freely accessible last year?  What was open is not very hush hush and private. The directors of the ESCs seem to be concerned about information shared on the Project Share website. They must be trying to keep up with the answers they are giving about CSCOPE  since they give different answers depending on who asks the question.

Overall, most consider Project Share, like the Rider 42 PD academies expensive projects that have been very ineffective. This is due to the ESCs not developing the website and TEA not following up to see that they do. Like all grant money, once the money is gone regardless if the project is not complete, the ESCs are on to doing what ever brings in more money.

The “jig” will be over if the ESCs are ever thoroughly investigated by someone who doesn’t  benefit in some way from the actions of the ESCs.

Q4

Did State Education Commissioner Robert Scott initiate the idea for Project Share?

A4

The plans for Project Share apparently have been bubbling for a while. Scott was so focused on internal issues that we are not sure he was very aware of Project Share, sad to say.

Q5

The Rider 42 grant provided the initial money for Project Share, thus the ESCs were to develop the content posted on this website. Project Share is affiliated with Epsilen, which is a Common Core company. Why is TEA and the ESCs using a Common Core Company when Texas is forbidden to implement Common Core? Has everyone just turned a blind eye to what grant money is used for?

A5

We totally agree with this– No one asks or even watches what the ESCs do. As to Common Core, TASA promotes Common Core and TASA and the ESCs work together. In fact, wha ever the ESCs sell, Texas school superintendents generally buy it because TASA promotes what the ESCs sell. TASA is after all the Texas Association of School Administrators.

Comment from Janice

Think About This!

1. The ESCs provide superintendent certification training as well as training required for School Board Members. Thus, school superintendents and school board members are indoctrinated with constructists (common core progressive) education philosophy used in creating the CSCOPE instructional materials as well as the “Vision Learning” materials sold by TASA. Of course Common Core education philosophy is used in Texas Schools, but it has different titles, such as CSCOPE a.k.a. TRS Instructional Material, and Vision Learning.

2. Texas School Superintendents and School Board Members use district school taxes to pay for their personal membership fees  into private organizations (TASA/TASB) who lobby for different education bills that benefit the primary objective of TASA/TASB, which is to TRANSFORM TEXAS EDUCATION.

Yes, our Texas legislatures are swayed by TASA lobbyists as well as the Microsoft lobbyist Thomas Ratliff (illegal member of the State Board of Education) to pass bills that promote Transforming Texas Education so that it is comparable to common core.

 

This is part I of a series of Questions  from me and Answers from ESC # 1-20 staff past and present. The following will be addressed in following parts of this series on the “Unpacking of the ESCs.”

 

1. In Nov. 2011, Marlin school superintendent Marsha Riddlehuber and the district instructional director, Jamie Johnson would not allow me to view the content of the CSCOPE lessons used in Marlin ISD. Becca Bell the CSCOPE director also refused me access to the content of the CSCOPE lessons. Why? What were they hiding?

2. During the time that CSCOPE lessons were being sold to Texas public schools, the state comptroller,      , allowed the ESCs to write their own evaluation. This is obvious since the wording of the comptrollers evaluations were word-for-word the same as publicity written by the ESCs to promote the CSCOPE materials. Did the comptroller ever ask anyone about the CSCOPE product that was not benefiting in some way?

These questions and many more will be coming soon.

 

ESC’S EXPOSED PART 2

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Texas Virtual School……Another CSCOPE?

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

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

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

asked to get involved.

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

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

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

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

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

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

picture 3

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

least the minimum in standard contracting and accounting procedures.

But we were wrong.

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

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

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

I chose the:

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

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

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

picture7
The Texas Legislature passed SB 1788 in 2007 establishing the Texas Virtual School Network (TxVSN) and funding the

operations with state funds.

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

ESC for  the ESC to operate the network.”

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

  assigned by the legislature.” (8.220)

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

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

picture9
The RFP included other qualifications such as HUB percentages, an understanding of

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

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

  contract.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

View the full Board discussion video: here

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


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

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

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

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

 

 

picture11

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

picture11

 

ESC 10 immediately
  subcontracted with HCDE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Technology is not listed.

Appendix 1 of the TEA contract reads:

picture25

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

The result?   HCDE

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

Whose address is it?     HCDE

picture30

If you call the TxVSN Central Operations Help Desk…

Where is the phone answered?

HCDE

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

TEA / ESC -10 HCDE
picture14 picture17

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

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

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

picture40
Why would a government entity go down to the county courthouse and file documents in order to conduct business under an assumed name?

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

One of those old laws, TEC 17.94 states:

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


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

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

They might.

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

Much less likely.

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

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

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

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

1st Payment to Scott in HCDE Check Registry

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

1st Payment to Eissler in HCDE Check Registry

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Colleen Vera

 

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Senator Dan Patrick and AG Greg Abbott What Now?

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John Keel

 

Senator Dan Patrick called for a Cscope Audit in 2013. The audit was released in June/2014. The results are telling in relation to the mishandling of taxpayers money by the Texas Education Service Centers. Below is a list highlighting some of the auditors findings.

Despite the audit report the same individuals within the Texas Education Service Centers changed the name of Cscope to the Teks Resource System and they are still leasing this mess to the school districts. Seriously?

Will n0one be held accountable? Will anything be done to stop this?

 

 

  • Education Service Centers reported they collected 73.9 million from School districts, private schools, charter schools from Sept 2005 through August 2013.
  • Education Service Centers reported a expenditures to be 67.8 million.
  • Auditors were not able to verify the total amount that education service centers reported they paid for the development, installation, distribution, and marketing of CSCOPE because some of the education service centers did not separately track CSCOPE-related expenditure transactions
  • Some of the Texas Education Service Centers did not separately track their Cscope revenue transactions.
  • As a result, auditors were not able to fully answer the audit objective to determine the amount of revenue and expenditures related to the development, installation, distribution, and marketing of CSCOPE.
  • Auditors identified deficiencies in the processes used to procure and monitor the CSCOPE contracts.
  • The contracts between Region 8-Mount Pleasant and National Education Resources, Inc. from 2006 through 2011 lacked significant elements. (Ratliff District)
  • Region 8-Mount Pleasant was unable to provide its 2005 contract for the development and implementation of the curriculum management system because it destroyed all supporting documentation from the 2005-2006 school year based on its records retention schedule. (shocking?)
  • Auditors identified deficiencies in Region 8-Mount Pleasant’s procurement of the CSCOPE contracts in effect from 2006 through 2011.
  • Auditors were not able to determine the total amount of rebates paid to Region 8-Mount Pleasant or the other education service centers.

 

 

 

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TEXAS Secretary of State, Greg Abbott says NO to Common Core in TEXAS!

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greg abbott

 

Senator Dan Patrick asked the Texas Secretary of State, Greg Abbott for an additional ruling on HB 462 that passed the 83rd legislation banning Common Core in Texas. The secretary of state issued an additional ruling today, June 17, 2014 reinstating that common core is illegal in TEXAS!

I so appreciate all that Sen.Dan Patrick and Greg Abbott are doing by informing the education we are not going to  allow the common core standards to be adopted by the state of Texas. I just wished they would go further in pointing out what the repercussion will be when districts refuse to obey the law and believe me they will. The Texas Association of School Boards is not happy with the ruling. Wow, what a shocker!

Those that are familiar with Common Core and it’s agenda know that its agenda has more to do with CONTROL and DATA COLLECTION of students than it has to do with the faulty standards. The federal government has funneled more than 18 Million to set up a Texas Longitudinal Data System in all school districts, and the Education Service Centers.  They are collecting data on your children, their academics, disciplines, medications, psychiatric reports, etc…WAKE UP PARENTS. I am completely in shock that there is not an uprising from parents across the state in regard to the data collection taking place. Have we as a people really become that complacent?

HB 5 is another link to the common core agenda in creating “career clusters” or pathways for students at early ages in order to create a workforce (worker bees). I know of many college students that change career choices after going to college a couple of years. Why is the state mandating students decide after middle school their career path?

 

Abbott 2

 

 

 

 

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Dan Patrick Cscope is Still in Texas Schools!!

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cscope is still here

Early in my fight to expose Cscope I met with Lt. Governor David Dewhurst who said he would get with Dan Patrick and have a Senate hearing. Senator Dan Patrick stated in the following press release that Cscope was gone. That could not be further from the truth. Cscope is still being leased by school districts under the new name TEKS Resource System from the Texas Educators Service Centers (ESC). The lessons were downloaded by the school disticts and some ESC’s are selling the Cscope lessons on USB flash drives. I got an email from a parent this week asking why schools are still using the lessons? The lessons were not outlawed contrary to public opinion.

dan patrick Cscope is Gone!

 

Senate bill #1406 that put the Cscope lessons under SBOE re

 

 

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Statewide Republican Primary Debate in Montgomery County

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The Montgomery County Republican Party and the Montgomery County Tea Party will be hosting a Republican Primarycandidate debate Oct. 23 & 24. Wall Builders Rick Green will be moderating the debate.  Details below…

.

Rick Green

final flyer

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How TX CSCOPE Controversy Began

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light

by Ginger Russell

 

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, Janice VanCleave, not so much. Unfortunately the cause fell in our lap when mom asked me to look into a situation she found herself in.

My mother is science author, Janice VanCleave who also runs www.txcscopereview.com.  She 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, of Marlin ISD.  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 the CSCOPE lesson riddled with errors she asked for additional lessons and was refused. (RED FLAG). Prior to writing, mom taught years earlier in Marlin ISD among other TX districts. 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 (RED FLAG)  and she 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 and her credentials 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 below.  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 (CSCOPE owners) asked the attorney General to deem them a “non governmental entity”)RED FLAG) 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 a non disclosure statement, stating 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) VIDEO BELOW


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 red 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  exposing CSCOPE lesson content (which CSCOPE reps began editing and removingd after we exposed it).

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. About the same time I had tweeted about the CSCOPE lesson that portrayed the Boston Tea Party as being a Terrorist Act, and Glenn Beck picked it up. Thank you Glenn! Fortunately parents started realizing what was going on at their  school and became involved as well. The rest is history.

I have not even expounded the financials in regard to CSCOPE or their lack of transparency, which is presently under the review of the Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott.

It has taken me over a year to finally find out what CSCOPE iand it is about implementing a radical change in the way students are taught called “project based learning”(PBL). PBL is based on the collective not individual achievement. There is a chart below outlining the differences in a traditional education and PBL. Project Based Learning and Common Core Standards are based on the same progressive philosophy.

As for a my mother, the Texas education establishment have come out attacking and FALSELY accusing her as being a competitor with CSCOPE and out it to make a profit on CSCOPE’s exposure.Nothing could be farther from the truth. If anything, out of  concern for children and our country’s future it has cost us both money and time away from family working on this debacle.  We have got where we just laugh at the accusations because we know the education establishment is jumping through hoops to divert the exposure off of them. Thankfully the truth always wins in the end.

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 school districts. 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 want to personally thank Alice Linahan, Donna Garner, Peggy Venable, Ms. Mac, Ms. Bowen, Stan Hartzler, Dr. David Stovall, Laurie Bartlett, and hundreds more that have joined in this battle of protecting our children.

 PBL RHC

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TEXAS PUBLIC SERVANT CALLS GRASSROOTS EXTREMIST!!

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rat
Texas State Board of Education member Thomas Ratliff  does a great job in supplying blog material for those wanting to expose his liberal agenda. Ratliff sent the following email to Senator Dan Patrick and refers to the grassroot conservatives as “EXTREMIST”. If being a taxpayer/parent that loves Jesus and wants American Exceptionalism taught to Texas Students warrants the title of EXTREMIST, I will wear the title proudly.
 Thomas Ratliff is from the Ratliff clan that has and is still working to tear apart Texas Education. Daddy Ratliff, former Lt. Gov Bill Ratliff, has spent his career working to destroy education for all Texas students and Thomas fits his shoes well. His brother,Bennett Ratliff serves in the Texas House and guess what committee Bennett sits on? Yes the  “EDUCATION” committee. Who would have thunk it!
After I met with the Lt. Governor in January in regard to CSCOPE he promised me he would get with Senator Dan Patrick and have a hearing on CSCOPE. Since the hearing and all the negative publicity CSCOPE has received, Thomas Ratliff has gone off his rocker. Why? Does he profit from this?
Thomas is not a conservative nor is he a republican. He does not care about students in Texas. Thomas Ratliff cares about Thomas. Sad!
From: Thomas Ratliff <thomas@thomasratliff.com>
Date: August 7, 2013, 7:32:43 AM CDT
To: Thomas Ratliff <thomas@thomasratliff.com>
Cc: “dan.patrick@senate.state.tx.us” <dan.patrick@senate.state.tx.us>, Logan Spence
Subject: True Colors

Cyndi Lauper wrote a song called “True Colors” and it comes to mind when I watch Senator Patrick’s activities regarding CSCOPE.
First he films his “fireside chat” video talking about all of the right-wing issues he wants the Governor to add to the special session call.  It seemed like he spent a disproportionate amount of time on CSCOPE.
Now, according to the post below, he’s having a telephone call with a group of extremists to update them on CSCOPE.  It’s clear that Senator Patrick’s motives are political, not policy.  It’s hard to imagine how he has time to be a state senator and chair the Education Committee when he’s so busy campaigning.
I’m still waiting for you to keep your word Senator.  It’s time to have a POLICY debate on CSCOPE so everyone can see your true colors on this issue.  If you don’t want to have a “mano y mano” debate, simply have an interim hearing of your committee, that way you can sit at the big desk and I’ll sit down with the people you are trying to rule with an iron fist.
If you’re interested, here’s the link to tonight’s call with Senator Patrick.  If it doesn’t re-direct you, you may have to copy and paste it into your browser.
http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=5262f67741e3cd6da2cb29fb0&id=adcff06ab1&e=7bcd88ed97

———————-
T. Ratliff
State Board of Education, Vice Chairman
(903) 717-1190
right wind extremist
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CSCOPE CONFERENCE UNDERWAY IN SAN ANTONIO

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by Lou Ann Anderson

WatchDogWire

Akin to Mark Twain and his famous “report of my death was an exaggeration” quote, the same seems increasingly applicable to the alleged demise of CSCOPE, the controversial curriculum management system developed at taxpayer expense by Texas Regional Education Service Centers (ESCs) and used by approximately 875 public, private and charter schools. While CSCOPE’s lesson plans are theoretically scheduled to be unavailable after Aug. 31, the program appears alive and well – at least in consuming taxpayer dollars – as evidenced by a convention currently underway in San Antonio.

A recent article asked CSCOPE’s lesson plans: gone or gone into hiding?. The last State Board of Education meeting suggested the lesson plans were merely hiding – in fact, hiding in plain sight as they are now alleged to be in the public domain and, per Texas Education Agency attorney David Anderson, with “no statute” that would require districts to refrain from using CSCOPE.

With the Texas legislature now adjourned from its third special session, any legislative fixes anticipated prior to the school year start appear totally off the table. Meanwhile, in a Have No Fear CSCOPE Is Here? post, Red Hot Conservative alerted readers to the 2013 CSCOPE State Conference scheduled Aug. 6-8 at the San Antonio Convention Center.

The event’s 72-page agenda includes a welcome in which the “20 regional education service centers of Texas that comprise the Texas Curriculum Management Program Cooperative (TCMPC) are pleased to present this unique event filled with a wide variety of sessions and networking opportunities.”

The TCMPC board is staffed by ESC executive directors, all Texas public school employees, as was the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative (TESCCC), a governing board of the nonprofit corporation formed to oversee the CSCOPE curriculum management system. The board disbanded in the wake of CSCOPE’s controversy based on concerns over its formation without legislative authority and administrative operations that include a history of resisting to post or make public its meetings as per the Texas Open Meetings Act and efforts to withhold information requested through the Public Information Act, efforts that included using taxpayer-funded lawyers to argue it was a nonprofit.

As the San Antonio conference runs through Thursday, CSCOPE’s long-term fate remains unknown. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Attorney General Greg Abbott and Sen. Dan Patrick have called for administrative audits and other new transparency with Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Pauken echoing those concerns.

Meanwhile, since its 2005 inception and 2006 rollout into schools, CSCOPE has received new tax dollars for a program taxpayers paid to develop, for a curriculum that’s been a fight to see while generating financials so far withheld from all interested parties.

But one certainty: CSCOPE’s command of public dollars currently continues with Texas taxpayers footing the bill as thousands of Texas public school employees travel to San Antonio for this conference.

 

Lou Ann Anderson Lou Ann Anderson

Lou Ann Anderson is an information activist and the editor of Watchdog Wire – Texas. As a Policy Analyst with Americans for Prosperity – Texas, she writes and speaks about a variety of public policy topics. Lou Ann is the Creator and Online Producer at EstateofDenial.com, a web site that addresses the growing issue of probate abuse in which wills, trusts, guardianships and powers of attorney are used to loot assets from intended beneficiaries or heirs. Contact Lou Ann at Texas@WatchdogWire.com with story ideas and for ways to get involved with citizen journalism in Texas.

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CSCOPE WHISTLEBLOWERS SPEAK OUT!

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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?

 

Whistleblower responses….

ME

 

 

 

 

Ginger Russell

Mr. Moak,

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.

Ginger Russell
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD”
~Psalms 33:12~

 

Janice VanCleave

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.com 
 
As 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.

   vetern teachrers

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. 
 
 
 rider 42 (1)
 
rider 42 (2)

 

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WARNING: PROJECT BASED LEARNING

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5-31-2013 11-25-53 PM

Teach children to think! You would think this is some new concept listening to liberal educators today.  I first heard this statement being championed by a CSCOPE Coordinator last year. After exercising my constitutional right to speak before the Willis ISD school board Oct/2012 regarding my concerns in relation to CSCOPE, ESC 6’s CSCOPE coordinator Lindy McColloch quickly tried to marginalize my concerns at this public forum  speaking after me. At the time I was unaware of Ms. McColloch’s presence in the room or who she was.

 

My Statements

Lindy McColloch comments

 

I found her anger and attitude concerning. Why would a state employee address a concerned citizen in this manner over a “curriculum”? After investigating CSCOPE and the behavior of those that support it, I and other critics soon realized there was a major problem. Not only were the lessons of poor quality and anti- american, teachers felt like they could not speak out and express their concerns out of fear of losing their jobs. Teachers felt controlled and intimidated by administration.  CSCOPE test did not match the material being taught. Students were failing, etc. Teachers began sending us emails thanking us for fighting for them.

The bigger picture started becoming apparent after more research. Texas Education Service Centers along with TASA and TASB and other organizations are in the works of implementing a Marxist based teaching philosophy called Project Based Learning (PBL). PBL is based on the Marxist Lev Vygotsky’s teaching philosophy.

With Project Based Learning (PBL) students create their own learning and build upon what they may already know. Students are not taught correct or factual information. Getting the correct answer is not important.  The learning process is built on group learning, based on the collective and not individual achievement.

I found this document from ESC 14 which will give you information and websites educating you what Project Based Learning (PBL) is.  I was reading the document and I behold I ran across that statement again, Teach children to think!

pbl

 

After is was announced that CSCOPE would drop their lessons I filed a public information requesting asking what ESC 6 sent to it’s local school districts addressing the issue. As you will read ESC’s continue to implement their progressive plan of Project Based Learning. Fortunately Parents and Grandparents are waking up to what the progressives are up to.

Here is the document that was sent.

Lindy Mc

 

 

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TEXAS TEACHERS CELEBRATING

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Texas teachers celebrate end of CSCOPE, say it will lead to improved student learning

 

By Ben Velderman
EAGnews.org

AUSTIN, Texas – A number of Texans cheered yesterday when state Sen. Dan Patrick announced that CSCOPE will be sent to the ash heap of history at the end of August.

CSCOPE is a curriculum management system used by more than 800 Texas school districts that provides educators with pre-written lessons to use in the classroom. A number of those lessons came under fire from conservatives for promoting a left-wing, anti-American point of view.

While conservatives were understandably happy with Patrick’s announcement, it might have been Texas’ teachers who rejoiced the most.

DANCING TEACHER

KLTV.com reports that many teachers despised CSCOPE’s rigid, one-size-fits-all approach to education. After seven years of CSCOPE, those teachers are thrilled to be set free from the tyranny of the ready-made lesson plan.

Bill Martin, director of the Tyler Sylvan Learning Center, said the end of CSCOPE means teachers “get control back over their classroom again.”

“They get to use lesson plans that they feel are best suited for their class and their students in their class,” Martin told KLTV.com.

Martin added that he doesn’t know “a single teacher that likes CSCOPE. Not a single teacher.”

One Tyler ISD teacher, who spoke to KLTV.com on the condition of anonymity, said, “The end of CSCOPE means teachers will be able to teach English and other core subjects without watering them down. It means we can prep students for college. The need for college remedial courses will drop dramatically as CSCOPE lesson plans are removed.”

The end of pre-written CSCOPE lessons means teachers will have to spend a lot of time and effort to write their own. Judging from the comments of one teacher union official, not many of them seem to mind the prospect of extra work.

“We’ve got to meet the individual children’s needs so they can be successful and this (CSCOPE) curriculum just has not allowed that,” Jamie Womack, organizer of the Texas American Federation of Teachers in East Texas, told the news site.

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