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


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


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


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


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


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



10.7.14 – Dallas Morning News


Texas’ SAT math scores hit a 22-year low


Excerpts from this article:











Austin Bureau

Published: 07 October 2014 05:37 AM

Updated: 07 October 2014 05:39 AM


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Follow Terrence Stutz on Twitter at @tstutz.


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Dear Commissioner Williams:

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Commissioner Williams,
I am a retired Texas Science Teacher, science author of 52 published science investigation books for kids and educators, and now design thermochromic products and activities for Hallcrest, inc.
I tell you this so that you know that I do have an understanding of science and education. Thus, have the expertise to evaluate science curriculum, such as the flawed, incorrect science in the CSCOPE instruction material.
As part of a group of concerned Texas citizens, I testified at the first Senate Education Committee hearing on CSCOPE. My daughter, Ginger Russell, and I created two separate websites dedicated to present information to the public about the flawed CSCOPE material. and
I live within the boundaries of the Marlin ISD, which has consecutively failed the state tests for seven years. Two years ago I spoke to the interim superintendent, Marsha Ridlehuber and the curriculum director Jamie Johnson about helping the 5th grade science teacher. Both were very negative and both refused my offer. They did not want me to have access to the CSCOPE instruction material because it was at that time not being shown to the public. Ridlehuber is gone but Jamie Johnson is still in postion to keep CSCOPE lessons in the classrooms. I am still not welcome to work with the elementary science teachers even though the 5th grade continues to fail the state test.
TEA has assigned Elizabeth Rowland and a team of others to help Marlin ISD. Sir, failing schools have become the “CASH COW” for TEA monitors and conservators. From the results of Rowland’s improvement plan for Marlin ISD, Rowland has a lifetime job in the district. Taxes are raised to continue to pay for the inept programs of Elizabeth Rowland and others assigned to help improve student performance. Not one of the approved improvement programs actually focuses on improving teacher understanding of core curriculum being taught.
Commissioner, I am questioning the use of Title I money to pay for professional development for the purpose of monitoring how a teacher presents his/her lesson. Rowland has approved Title I money for Lead Your School, which is a list of teacher actions monitors can observe and check on a list. One teacher was written up for sitting at his desk while he recorded attendance on his computer. Teachers are not allowed to sit at their desk unless students are standing around it.
Commissioner, the local ESC-Region 12 receives millions of dollars for money every year to develop professional development. But, most of their professional development programs are expensive. What are they doing with all the grant money? Region 12 is the culprit selling CSCOPE to Marlin ISD.
Sir, something is very wrong with the entire Texas education system. TEA cannot be trusted to send qualified helpers. TEA cannot be trusted to monitor the grant money given to the ESCs, such as the $200 Million dollars from the Rider 42 TEKS grant to be used specifically for teacher professional development. I can provide much more information (facts) about this.
The SBOE cannot be trusted when Thomas Ratliff, a lobbyist for Microsoft is the vice-chairman on the board. Ratliff files charges on grassroot patriots who interfer with anything he promotes. Ratliff promotes CSCOPE because it is an internet program so he promotes that teachers not be allowed to give students textbooks. Marlin provides no textbooks for students.
Sir, How are students going to improve in reading if they are not given books to read?
Senator Patrick, chair of the Senate Education Committee made a behind the scenes deal with the 20 ESCs. Patrick thought he had bargained for CSCOPE to be removed from the Texas schools. But the ESC directors tricked the senator. The results being that Patrick helped delay the Sunset review of the ESCs and in return the ESCs gave the CSCOPE lessons to all the schools who had previously been purchasing these lessons. While the ESCs can no longer sell the CSCOPE lessons, they are allowed to continue selling at the same fee the schedule for using the K-12 lessons as well as the unit assessments for the CSCOPE lessons.
Governor Perry mandated that Common Core not be used in the Texas Schools, not one peep has been heard from him about the ESCs having conventions with workshops using common core or TASA going to common core conventions.
The past Commissioner of Education, Robert Scott, supported TASA, never responded when he received questions about CSCOPE, instead he quickly resigned.
Commissioner Williams, you sir are in a position to Turn Texas Education Around. I am asking you to take a close look at what is going on in Marlin ISD, the lowest academic school in the state of Texas. Help this school district and I am convinced that like falling dominoes, other schools will fall in line.
Letter 1.jpg
Janice VanCleave


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6-16-2013 9-54-16 PM




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TEXAS PARENTS: Did your Child Fail Because of the STAAR Test?

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Students can be awarded certificates for being on the school honor roll all year and then told they failed because of grades on the state test called STAAR.

Some honor roll students are being required to attend summer school to take make-up classes in a subject they made an A or B on in class, but failed on the STAAR.  Since teachers do not know what a student missed on the STAAR test, they will be re-mediating students using the same materials used during the school year. Thus, honor roll students are being asked to learn material they already know.

Students that might pass a subject with a C in a subject also attend summer school if the fail that subject on the  STAAR test. As with honor roll students, teachers do not know what the student missed on the STAAR. It doesn’t matter, summer school is not designed to individual students. Instead, a set of prepared materials are taught in a short period of time.

If a student fails a subject in class as well as on the STAAR, the student goes to summer school and then passes to the next grade. Think about this. If a student doesn’t understand math and fails, how could this same student within the few days of summer school be taught all the math concepts presented during the school year and understand them?

After attending summer school, are students given the STAAR again?

I’ll be researching unanswered questions in this blog.

If your child failed because of the STAAR,  I suggest that you challenge the administration. After all, it is your child that is being labeled as a failure. Questions that you might want to ask are:

  • Of what value are the class grades if only STAAR grades are used for promotion?
  • If a student fails in his classes, but passes the STAAR tests, is that student promoted?
  • Do you think that with 100% accuracy, the STAAR tests access the abilities of every student?
  • Is it possible that some students understand the material, as shown by class work, but do not test well?
  • Since my child has passed his class work, do you think his teacher(s) have inflated his grades?
    If not, then his class grades reflect his understanding of the material presented. Why is he being failed if he his teacher has assessed his understanding during the entire school year and has given him a passing grade?

If CSCOPE was used, point out that the vendor selling CSCOPE lessons has chosen to delete these lessons and never sell them again. In exchange the CSCOPE lessons will not be reviewed by the State Board of Education and the results publicized. Since there is evidence that some of the CSCOPE lessons were plagarized, some have incorrect information, some have biased political content, etc…… Ask:

  • What evidence is there that using CSCOPE lessons has prepared my child for the STAAR?
  • Is it possible that my child has learned the incorrect content of the CSCOPE lessons, thus failed the STAAR?

While you are asking questions, find out what material is being used in summer school. Also, ask if the school plans to return to using textbooks. Ask if CSCOPE has been removed.

Parents, please don’t let school administrators try to bully you. Any administrator worth his salt will sit on the same side of the desk with you instead of behind the desk where he/she is in charge. This is a meeting to discuss your child and what is best for him/her. It is not a court case or shouldn’t be.

Some administrators make an effort to confuse parents with education terms not familiar to most parents, nor do they have to be. Terms such as, vertical alignment, instructional information documents, year at a glance schedules, alignment with the TEKS, etc…………………… If you do not understand what is being said, stop the speaker as ask for explanation. Know that just because you do not understand what I call “Educaneze,” which is educational buzz words, don’t think you would be considered stupid if you admit this. It is unprofessional for school administrators to do this, but too many want to be in control. Keep reminding yourself that it is your child that will be punished if you do not stand up to this person. Also, you could very well be the one who gives other parents the courage to do the same.

Do not go alone. Make sure you have someone with you. Before you leave, restate what you understand and ask for confirmation that it is correct. Either record the meeting, which is best, or take notes and ask the administrator to sign them. Do not think about this making the administrator angry. It shouldn’t if they are providing accurate information. Just keep reminding your self that you are standing in the gap for your child.

The hardest part or at least it is for me, is to not get angry. Take deep breaths to keep your self calm. Don’t let the administrator rush you. After all, your child is being failed and you want evidence to support this decision.

Please share your experience so other can benefit from it. One parent questioned his child being failed and the decision was reversed. The honor roll student does not have to repeat an entire year of social studies.


by Janice VanCleave 




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