Does Texas Need School Choice?

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by Texas Science Author and Educator, Janice VanCleave

momTexas parents have the right to select educational opportunities other than public school for their children NOW!!

In Texas, under current state legislation:

1. Parents can freely choose to take their children out of public school. If their local public school has a below average state rating, at no expense to parents, their children can be bused to other local schools with higher ratings.

2. Parents can freely choose to homeschool or send their children to private schools or to a public charter school.

So why does Texas need a School Choice Program?

The proposed Texas School Choice Program Offers one thing: MONEY
Yes, School Choice is all about money. Education Saving Account, ESA, is the name of the funding states are offering parents to remove their children from public schools.

Government money always has strings, and the amount of strings attached to ESA funding could be woven into large elaborate macrame tapestries.

Some some of these strings include how parents spend ESA funding. The state sets guidelines about the educational curriculum that can be used. In fact, the state dictates the curriculum choices. Also, ESA funding may only be used pay fees to approved private schools.

Yes, there is lots of paper work that parents will have to provide to prove the ESA funding is being used properly. For example, while the money can be used for transportation, the total amount per year allowed is set by the state. Parents will have to provide copies of maps showing the path from start to finish for each trip. ETC…ETC…..Receipts–you bet.

Monkey looks

So why does Texas need a School Choice Program?

Texas legislatures say that parents of students in poor communities do not have the funding to homeschool or to send their children to private schools. Thus, the children of these parents must continue to attend public schools that do not offer a diverse quality education for their children. (FYI: This is because the Texas Education Association, TEA, has dictated that all public schools prepare every child for college.)

Make note that ESA funds cannot be used to send children to charter schools. This is because the state considers charter schools as public schools.


So why does Texas need a School Choice Program?

ESA funds will first go to low income parents with children having any type of disability, learning or physical. Other parents will receive less ESA funding. Texas legislatures contend that a School Choice Program will improve the education Monkey looks confused.of all Texas children. Parents who take ESA funding will be able to take their children out of public schools and some how the children left in public schools will receive a better education. No, I do not understand how this proposed miracle solution to improving Texas education is suppose to happen. Unless, our state legislatures promote school choice so fewer students with learning disabilities will be taking STAAR tests. Generally, these students make lower scores on these tests, which bring down the average of school districts. If this is the plan, School Choice will not improve the education of students, instead it will improve school STAAR test averages.

Why will only children in public schools take STAAR tests? Children receiving ESA funds will not be required to take the STAAR test? So, how can legislature claim that these children will be receiving a quality education?

So why does Texas need a School Choice Program?

Children who are now being homeschooled or are in private schools may not receive ESA funding. To be qualified they must enroll in their local public school for no less than 100 days.

Think about it: The School Choice program is being set up so that parents can remove their children from public schools that are not providing a high standard of education for students. Yet, to be qualified to receive School Choice ESA funding, children must first attend one of the less than adequate pubic school for 100 days. Why? Is it for data collection on all children in the US?


For Homeschoolers ……..



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Lewis Carroll Once Again Explains Texas Education Policymaking

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Image result for “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to." "I don't much care where –" "Then it doesn't matter which way you go.”
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

I am very grateful to Lewis Carroll. Every time I find myself frustrated at what seems to be inexplicable nonsense at the Texas State Capitol, I turn to Alice in Wonderland to find both answers and comfort.

This time a legislator – whose name will go unmentioned – proudly announced recently that he intends to introduce a bill to eliminate the state’s tests of students’ knowledge and skills and allow local districts to have the pick of a variety of tests from national vendors. To be fair, this legislator, who is otherwise a pretty smart fellow, acknowledges that he has some details to work out before he presents a bill.

But, still, he has me scratching my head. I realize that there are lots of folks out there who don’t like testing. But unless legislating these days amounts mostly to tickling constituents’ tummies, that’s no basis for this proposal. Further, this legislator somewhat incoherently explains his action in part as a response to the terrible administration of tests by the state’s current vendor. He seems to have forgotten that his angry constituents pushed to replace the former unpopular, but competent vendor with the current incompetent vendor.  One wonders why he doesn’t simply demand that the commissioner either get the current vendor to shape up or ship out.

No, instead, he wants to get rid of the state tests. Before this poorly conceived proposal goes much further, its serious problems and consequences should be fully considered.

First, is this plan legal under Federal law? Why get the folks all excited, waste the time of the legislature, and risk hundreds of millions of dollars in Federal aid, if it’s not? The Every Student Succeeds Act is about as clear as it can be. States have the authority to permit a variety of exams for high school testing. But, unless a state is accepted into a very small pilot program, all states must use criterion-referenced, statewide tests for grades 3-8. Suffice to say, as to the pilot, the legislator’s proposal doesn’t even come close to being eligible.

Second, has this legislator bothered to examine the innards of the state tests versus those of the national tests he’s proposing? Indeed, has the state agency ever bothered to open up its vaults to show the public all the data it has on the state tests – how they were constructed, by whom, and to what effect?

Whenever the data are examined, the public will see many interesting things. For one, the state tests are significantly more aligned to Texas’ excellent learning standards than are the other tests. Indeed, the publishers of most of the tests that would be newly eligible brag that their tests are highly aligned instead to the much-criticized Common Core standards. Does this legislator and his Republican colleagues know that? Do the Speaker, Lieutenant Governor, and the Governor?

What difference does it make that the current tests are better aligned to state standards? To begin, it makes state accountability fair and appropriate. Can you see the state trying to hold districts and schools accountable when they’re all using different measures? Further, it gives better guidance to educators in knowing that what they’re being asked to teach is closely in line with what is tested.

I appreciate the legislator’s desire to maximize local control. But the one area the state has always taken an interest in, and the area in which federal law insists it continue to, is to measure and implement consequences, on a statewide basis, for how well students are learning to state standards.

Finally, is it too much to ask that we let the crowd-pleasing issues pass by for a session and instead try to find solutions to our most serious challenges?

The state spends billions of dollars each year on educating our students, yet the trajectory of achievement in recent years has gone flat. Are our dollars being spent effectively and efficiently? Are we paying for strategies and programs that are proven to work? Are we holding the key players properly accountable? Do we prepare and support teachers with research-based strategies, and do we promote effective teachers and teaching?

I realize there are no huzzahs and social media kisses for tackling these and other tough questions that actually make a difference. But, as Lewis Carroll makes clear, which way we go only matters if we truly care where we want to go.

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WARNING: Texas Parents of Children in Public Schools!

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Unfortunately, our Texas public school system are masters of deception in lots of instances. My first finding of this was the discovery of over 900+ school districts out of 1200 hiding the Cscope curriculum from parents and threatening teachers with legal action if they disclosed the contents. The deception continues on all levels rather it is a school bond, summer school, what curriculum they are implementing, etc….

I was informed yesterday that Aransas County ISD was sending home letters informing parents that their child had to take summer school for failing the math STAAR TEST. Why would they do this when the Education Commissioner stated at the start of this school year that the math STAAR was excluded from the accountability system this year for 3-8 grades. STORY HERE.

Parents have got to be vigilant in asking questions and not intimidated by the education system. They are YOUR CHILDREN not THEIRS.  They keep parents at bay and they love them uninformed unless of course they agree with them.

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Is Aransas County ISD Deceiving Parents?

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AC image

The new Math TEKS were implemented this school year,  2014/2015. The  math Teks greatly aligned with the common core standards. Due to the outrage not only from parents and teachers relating to the complexity of the new TEKS the Texas Commissioner of Education released the following statement stating that the STAAR scores for grades 3rd through the 8th were excluded from the state accountability system. In other words there was no repercussion to the students that did not pass the math STAAR test.

Aransas County ISD seems to want to capitalize on their student’s failures. The following was sent to a student at Aransas County’s  Live Oak Learning Center  stating the student failed the STAAR Math and needed to attend districts Summer School program. Why? . Surely the district is aware the students math STAAR scores were excluded for grades 3-8.






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Texas STAAR Testing is a JOKE!!

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1. Pearson Publishing provides the STAAR/EOC questions, grades tests, decides on scoring (who passes and who fails), and prepares and scores 5th and 8th STAAR retests.
2. Pearson Publishing has not been shown to be a reputable company-recent information shows Pearson Publishing shareholders as being terrorists.
3. STAAR tests cover TEKS for the entire school year. Students are not prepared to take STAAR tests in March and April.
Let me be very clear about this: TEKS for the entire school year cannot be properly taught before the STAAR tests.
The STAAR tests are given early so that time remains for review and retesting for students who fail the first STAAR tests.
4. Once STAAR tests are taken, the remaining days of school are spent retesting students who failed.
After the STAAR tests are given, school is basically childcare for students who pass the STAAR tests.
5. Michael Williams, the Commissioner of Education, changed the testing code requiring that all students 3-8 go to summer school if they failed STAAR reading and math. The Federal Government provides money for summer school, thus schools make money if your child fails the STAAR and is required to attend summer school.
6. There is NO STATE retest given to all 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 7th graders attending summer school. Individual schools are responsible for this. Teachers who taught and prepared tests during the school year may be the same teachers teaching and preparing tests for summer school.
7. TEA is aware that there are errors on past STAAR/EOC tests. These errors have been reported. TEA has responded with answers including that while there may be more than one correct answer, it is the best answer that is counted correct. In other words, TEA chooses not to acknowledge that they make mistakes. This would result in grade changes, which would be expensive.
8. The STAAR/EOC tests have no positive educational value for your child. The results of the STAAR/EOC test are used to determine whether a child is promoted or not.
9. The STAAR/EOC scores do not provide data that is used to benefit your child. While it is said that students are given additional assistance in areas they scored poorly in, because of open enrollment (inclusion) students are not placed in classes based on STAAR/EOC scores.
10. The focus of Texas education is the STAAR/EOC tests. Thus, your child is being taught bits and pieces of information that is most likely to be on the tests.

There is so much more that will not fit on one sheet of paper. For more information, please contact directly at:
Janice VanCleave

Texas Education has taken on a very liberal turn that will not benefit students in the long run. The terminology is often changed in order to confuse parents and the community. Today you will hear the term 21 Century Learning. What is the world does this mean?

21st Century

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ESCs Exposed-Part 2: No Accountability

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by Janice VanCleave

Texas Education Service Centers (ESCs) were established to provide service to school districts in different regions of Texas. Schools in rural areas have different needs than do schools in cities.Thus, 20 ESCs were established to provide specific services to met the needs of school districts within each region.

The ESCs were originally supported by the state. In 2003 the state legislature allowed the ESCs to sell products and services to bring in more funding. This ended these agencies being a service to schools and opened the door for poor quality products and programs to be produced and sold to public schools.

The ESCs are allowed to be self-governed, thus there has and still is no one who evaluates the quality of the ESC products.

State legislatures, TEA and the State Commissioner of Education, like the ostrich in the illustration seem to keep their head buried in the sand. They certainly were not paying attention when the ESCs created a one-size-fits-all K-12 instruction material for core curriculum (math, science, ELAR, social studies).  To add a touch of credibility to this unvetted material called CSCOPE, the ESCs advertised the CSCOPE lessons as being “state lessons.” This is printed on the original CSCOPE materials. Since the ESCs are not held accountable for what they do, the original CSCOPE lessons had plagiarized content. This was not discovered because Texas school superintendents forced their teachers to sign a non-disclosure contract with the ESCs. Teachers signed or they had no job. They agreed to reveal the content of the CSCOPE lessons.  The penalty could be legal court action. This divided the staff in Texas schools. As a teacher, I would not respect a superintendent who cared so little for his/her staff that such a contract was mandatory for employment.

Q1 Who is suppose to oversees the ESCs to confirm that state grant money is spent as directed?

A1 TEA is responsible for confirming that grants from the state are used as described. I cannot testify to all grants given to the ESCs from the state of Texas, but the outside evaluation of the Rider 42 PD grant of $150 Million dollars was spent and the product and services were far below par, yet
yet TEA paid the ESCs the grant money.

Q2 Are the boards of trustees for each of the ESCs doing their job?

A2 Some of the ESC employees say having a board of trustees for the ESCs is a joke. The ESC directors handpick these trustees for their ESC.

Q3 Isn’t the Commissioner of Education suppose to oversee the ESCs to make sure they use money correctly?

A3  State Commission of Education, Michael Williams, allowed the ESCs to develop the rules governing the ESCs.

Basically all the Texas Education Service Centers are given “blank checks” with no real checks-and- balances for verifying what money is used for. Only a very small handful of top directors within each Education Service Center are privy to what happens to the yearly inflow of multi-millions of dollars received by each ESC.  The ESCs receive Federal Grants as well as grant money from the state. How much and what the money is to be used for is only known by the elite few within the ESCs.

The long and short of it is that the  ESCs have evolved from service centers to being part of a  very corrupt network. It is difficult to follow the money trail because of the secrecy and misappropriation of funds.  It is all hush hush when it comes to where grant money goes.

Q4 Why did Robert Scott resign from being the state commissioner of education?

A4  Scott resigned soon after the midwinter TASA conference when he basically did an 180 degree turn from where we all thought he was on many things. Most people considered Robert Scott to stand behind conservative education values.

When the superintendents at the TASA conference gave Scott a standing ovation for supporting TASA’s goals,  we realized that he had been a wolf in sheep clothing or had for some reason been persuaded to support TASA’s goals of implementing Common Core and its assessments.

Q5  I personally think the TEKS and the STAAR do not meet the expectations described. The science TEKS are very vague, and some science TEKS are not correct. When I ask for clarification or to report an error, the answer is always that I just do not understand the objective of the TEKS. Is this attitude the same for everyone who asks questions?

A4 Their patronizing attitude is how TEA and the ESCs get away with so much. It intimidates so many including good educators who might work at TEA or the ESCs. We are patted on the head like we just don’t understand the big picture. We get the picture, shut up and do what we say and don’t ask questions.




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College and Career Readiness Scam

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TEA keeps dreaming up new ways to disrupt the focus of the core curriculum: reading, writing, math, science, and social studies.
TEA and the 20 Texas Education Service Centers have more than 80% of the Texas School Districts indoctrinated with the progressive common core education philosophy –AKA– Discovery Learning. This method of education puts the student in charge of his/her education. The teacher just present problems and the students on their own discover the necessary facts to solve the problem. Discovery learning  is successful with gifted and talented students, but only if they are self-disciplined and self-motivated.Thus, discovery learning is unsuccessful with the majority of students.
Discovery learning  is a method where students take charge of their education and teachers are only to be  “guides on the side.”
What is the point of requiring teachers to have college degrees if students are to take charge of their own education?
The discover learning method depends on students coming to school with a desire to learn and information that they can share with other students. The idea is that each student has something different to contribute, thus by brain storming students can solve problems themselves. I started my teaching career in 1966. Teachers were expected to be in control of their classes. Teachers were expected to be knowledgeable about the subjects they taught and they were to provide students with the basic facts necessary to solve problems. During my teaching career I taught many different sciences at different grade levels and in different school districts. I started out with one if not the best mentor ever, Ms. Marcille Hollingsworth, who wisely taught me that a teacher must have control of the class in order to present the concepts necessary for problem solving. That was 49 years ago and now veteran teachers like Ms. Hollingsworth are encouraged to leave the teaching profession. They are considered trouble makers because they do not agree with what is being called the “Twenty First Century Progressive Discovery Method” of teaching.
How is the 21st Century Progressive Discovery Method working out?
I recently volunteered to mentor a new 8th grade science teacher and help create a science lab room. To say that I was shocked at the behavior of the students doesn’t come close to describing my experiences. Teacher friends had told me that students were difficult and the new teaching philosophies made it next to impossible to maintain order in the classroom. You cannot come close to imagining how the progressive discovery method has destroyed the learning environment of our public schools.
Some of these 8th grade students must have their tests read to them. Yes, there are 8th grade students who cannot read well enough to read their tests and are in regular class rooms without any particular assistance. The idea is that by being in regular classes these non-readers will learn more than if in a small class with teachers trained to help them. It is really sad to see a student making every effort for other students not to know they cannot read. By working in groups non-readers have learned to copy the work of other students even though they cannot read and understand what they write. Some are behavior problems. Some misbehave instead of doing any work because they cannot read and their writing skills are so poor. They would rather be viewed as being disobedient instead of thought of as being dumb.
Mixing students of different abilities is called Inclusion and is hailed as a system to provide equal education to all students.
I do understand that parents want their children to have the best education. Parents of students who have learning disabilities have fought for the rights of their children. They won the right for their children to be in the same classes with children having no specific learning disability. Now, instead of their children being in small classes with several specially trained teachers to help overcome and/or learn in special ways, children with learning disabilities have less special assistance. All inclusive classrooms move at the same pace.  Administrators promote the idea that teachers are able to provide individual assistance to students who need extra assistance. Teachers are to prepare lessons for students with different abilities, thus gifted students and students with learning as well as emotional disabilities all receive lessons designed especially for them.


First of all students are suppose to be taking charge of their own education–working in groups and sharing ideas with teachers not giving them facts—remember teachers are to be guides on the side. But with inclusion there are students who are not capable of taking charge of their education. The truth is that no student can do this in elementary and few in upper grades. When questions about students with learning disabilities, administrators “craw-fish” and put the responsibility of providing special lessons for these students.

Public education is a mess.

Some of the 8th graders I work with can read but have little comprehension. Most of the students have little self-discipline. None of the students have the skills to design a science investigation to discover the answer to a problem. This is because all of the students have very little science knowledge to draw on. They have been in charge of their own education for so many years that many have such a poor education they could not apply for the most basic jobs.
The teachers are also trained to use the Fundamental Five Steps of teaching taught by “Lead Your School.” This requires teachers to have students working in groups among other things, such as having the perform critical writing at the end of every class period. I read the book for this course and it gives no clue what is considered critical writing. Basically students are to summarize what they learned during the class period.
 Students do not have textbooks that they bring to class. Instead, a worktext is issued and it remains in the classroom. The pages in this book are perforated so they easily tear out. These books were originally developed for common core standards. The publisher had a group of Texas educators to revise some of the sections so that these worktexts can be said to align with Texas standards called TEKS. These hodgepodge revised worktexts have students doing mindless busy work. A few students who are either self-disciplined enough to want to learn and/or have parents who encourage them to learn do the work and those in their group copy the answers.
In Waco ISD, students who want to learn are allowed to attend classes with other students of the same mind set. Waco ISD has a special school for these students. I’ve had the honor of being invited to work with these students. It was like stepping back a few years when teachers were in charge of their classes. Yes, traditional education, which has been described by our Texas Educational service systems as old fashion, not acceptable in our modern 21st century technology education systems. What a joke.
In classes where  teachers are not in charge, students often tend to be loud and not focused on the lesson. .Why are teachers being blamed for the failure of our education system when those at the state level force teachers to allow students to be in charge of their own education. The 8th graders that I work with would not have a clue how to behave in the event of a true emergency. During one of the labs, I tripped and fell on the floor hitting my head on the edge of a cabinet. There were students near me but none made an effort to help me. I was not badly injured and purposely remained on the floor as I screamed–
“I’ve fallen, will someone help me.”
The teacher in the adjoining room came in immediately, but most of the my students never acknowledged my cry for help because they were loudly talking to each other. I cannot control the behavior of these students. I ask the administration for help and was told to have a discipline plan–rules for students to follow and consequences. There are no consequences that these students fear.
Are is there? I recently observed something I’d never seen in the school before.
A substitute teacher who has never been indoctrinated with all the CSCOPE and Lead Your School nonsense monitored classes for one of the 8th grade teachers. For the first time I saw 8th grade students sitting quietly as they did their individual work. The substitute was busy assisting the teacher by grading papers. Had the teacher been there, he would have been reprimanded for sitting at his desk and grading papers.
It appears that only substitute teachers are allowed to have a quiet classroom. Only substitute teachers are not allowed to sit at their desks. Regular teachers must be walking around the room guiding and encouraging students who are working nosily in groups or making poster board projects etc…… Students are to appear to be enjoying the class. A quiet class with students doing individual work is only to be observed during the multitude of testings.
All the TEKS are to be taught before the STAAR tests in April
I am discovering that there is really not enough time to teach students the content of the TEKS before the assessments (STAAR/EOCs) are given.
Think about it:
     Some days are cut short so that teachers can be trained to encourage students to go to college. This is called “No Excuses University.” Teachers are given a book to read so they can better encourage students to go to college. This book has nothing to do with the content that each teacher is hired to teach. I read the book—It would be good for teachers training to be teachers. Those in the professions should know everything in the book. But, since our 20 Education Service Centers are now training people to be teachers, principals, and even superintendents, maybe they do not know how to teach–or lead.
Think about this:
The 20 ESCs are forbidden to write and sell lessons to schools because of the faulty, antiAmerican, anti-Christian CESCOPE lessons. Yet, these same people who purposely created instruction materials that were never reviewed are in charge of training people to teach our children; training people to be principals and superintendents as well as training school board members. In other words, the 20 ESCs have more control over Texas Public Education than TEA, the Commissioner of Education, and all the legislative education committees.
Since many students cannot read well and have little comprehension of what they read, TEA has solution for these problems:
1. Make the TEKS and STAAR/EOC tests more rigorous.
2. Add more for teachers to present as they guide from the side.
Now teachers are to incorporate College and Career Readiness into their “lessons.”This is another education scam–meaning that more material can be sold to schools–more programs sold to schools for college and career readiness when time needs to be spent teaching students to read.







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TEA Schedules Students to Fail

                 by Janice VanCleave

The revised elementary math TEKS are above grade level.

The math TEKS are designed for a 36 week school year. Since the STAAR tests are given in April, teachers have about 24 weeks instead of 36 weeks to teach all of the math TEKS.

The STAAR tests are given in April to provide time during the school year for retesting.

TEA sets the testing date early knowing that students do not have enough time to learn all the TEKS. Thus TEA is responsible for the low performance on the STAAR tests. Retesting is very expensive. Who benefits from the retesting? Not our children.

Once the STAAR tests are taken, students who pass are given busy work for about 6 weeks while students who fail are retested.

Not only are the TEKS increasing in difficulty, teachers are not given ample number of instructional days to prepare students.

The same is true for every course being tested.

What is the purpose of giving STAAR tests? It has nothing to do with education.


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Has Your Child Failed the TX Math STAAR TEST?

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Many students across the State of Texas failed by record numbers the State STAAR test during the following 2 school years  2012/2013 & 2013/2014. Since passing scores for the STAAR test are not decided until after all the STAAR test have been completed, in response to the failing scores the passing grade was then lowered.
Who is actually in charge over what is going on in Education has yet to be determined. Why are students failing is outlined below. It would appear to me that a child that was held back due to their failing math scores have grounds for a lawsuit.
In 2006 Math TEKs K-12 were written. They were written for the current state TAKS test.
Problem: These same TEKS were used for the STAAR Tests given in April 2012, April 2013, and April 2014.
Changing from the TAKS to the STAAR was done so that a more rigorous math test would be given. The problem is that the TEKS were not revised to prepare students for the more rigorous STAAR math tests.
2012 Revised Math TEKS K-12 were Approved by the SBOE and shelved so that textbook companies had time to prepare their products so they aligned with the new revised math TEKS.
Problem: The SBOE knew the math TEKS used for the TAKS tests were being used for the math STAAR tests, which was given for the first time in April 2012.
TEA and the SBOE as well as the Commissioner of Education knew that students were taking more rigorous math STAAR tests and teachers were given the same math TEKS used for the less rigorous TAKS tests.
The ESCs also knew this and yet sold new CSCOPE math lessons that were to be used to prepare kids for the more rigorous STAAR tests.
The Math TEKS approved in 2006 are Word for Word the same as the TEKS used last year to prepare kids for the STAAR 2014 math TESTs.
Commissioner Williams had the guts to say that Texas students are not receiving rigorous class instructions thus are not prepared for the more rigorous STAAR tests. He did not point out that the Math TEKS for the TAKS tests were used for the STAAR math tests in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

2014 Revised math TEKS K-8 implemented. These are the math TEKS that were approved in April 2012 and shelved by the SBOE until the 2014-2015. While waiting for the book publishers, TEA use the old 2006 math TEKS to prepare kids for the more rigorous STAAR math tests. Thus, TEA was assured that more kids would fail the math STAAR tests and more kids would have to be retested.  Who benefited financially by this? 
2015 Revised math Teks 9-12 will be implemented.
This means that students in 9-12 will again be taking math STAAR tests using the old math TEKS.
*5th grade new math teks are exactly aligned with Common Core.
* after the 3rd edition a different company purchased Saxon and they have now aligned it with Common Core.


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Math TEKS: More Data Mining

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pandora's box

Has Texas Opened Pandora’s Box?


By Janice VanCleave

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

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

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

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

What does income mean to a kindergarten child?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Timeline for 5th Grade TEKS

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Children-Walking-Away-300x218Texas Education was Better Before STAAR/EOC


by Janice VanCleave




Children enjoyed school and were better educated before the STAAR/EOC tests.

The Texas Commissioner of Education has no concern for children. It is all about the STATE testing, which have been shown not to be correct, yet these tests are used to determine whether students are promoted.

Students in Texas public schools are only taught information that could be on the state tests. Nothing else is important. Thus, Texas children are being dumbed down by the state educational officials.

Did you know that parent rights are limited in the Texas Code of Education? Read the following from this code and you will find this statement: The decision of the grade placement committee is final and may not be appealed. There is no one reviewing the STAAR/EOC tests other than TEA and Pearson Publishing who is being paid millions to do this.

One way to improve Texas Education is to stop the STAAR/EOC tests. Please opt your children out of the

STAAR/EOC tests.

Texas Education Code – Section 28.0211. Satisfactory Performance On Assessment Instruments Required; Accelerated Instruction

(e) A student who, after at least three attempts, fails to perform satisfactorily on an assessment instrument specified under Subsection (a) shall be retained at the same grade level for the next school year in accordance with Subsection (a). The student’s parent or guardian may appeal the student’s retention by submitting a request to the grade placement committee established under Subsection (c). The school district shall give the parent or guardian written notice of the opportunity to appeal. The grade placement committee may decide in favor of a student’s promotion only if the committee concludes, using standards adopted by the board of trustees, that if promoted and given accelerated instruction, the student is likely to perform at grade level. A student may not be promoted on the basis of the grade placement committee’s decision unless that decision is unanimous. The commissioner by rule shall establish a time line for making the placement determination. This subsection does not create a property interest in promotion. The decision of the grade placement committee is final and may not be appealed.

What about this situation:

A child passed all class assignments and tests but failed all three STAAR 5th grade reading tests. The placement committee decided to retain the child in the 5th grade.

During the summer, the child attended a private reading academy. The child’s reading level was raised to meet requirements for the 6th grade. Do the parents not have the right to appeal the decision of the grade placement committee?


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Opt out of the STARR TEST!!

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The Texas STAAR TEST is riddled with errors and students are failing right and left though they are honor roll students and making good grades through out the school year. reported today the following..

Waco ISD Opt Out Student Promoted To Next Grade

Posted: Jun 05, 2014 10:26 PM CST Updated: Jun 05, 2014 10:26 PM CST – KCEN HD – Waco, Temple, and Killeen


All STAAR tests results are in, but what does the future hold for kids who were opted out of the tests?  

Thursday was the last day of the school year for Waco ISD students, and parents who choose to opt their kids out of the STARR tests were anxious to see their child’s final report card.

Kyle and Jennifer Massey have been leading the “opt out” movement in Waco.

The couple opted their 9-year-old son William out of the STAAR tests this year, but they say even though he was given a score of zero, he is still being promoted to the next grade.

However, the Massey’s learned Thursday that one of William’s friends who took the test and failed is now being required to go to summer school.

“In our case, it did not affect William’s academic standing, it did not affect whether or not he was promoted to the next grade, and it was in our view in the best interest of his learning,” Kyle Massey said.

Massey believes this is proof that opting out of the test is a more viable option.


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“The Day of Reckoning: CSCOPE vs. PEG List”

By Donna Garner



The Texas Education Agency has just released the list of 892 Texas public school campuses that have been identified as low performing because of poor test scores or unacceptable ratings under the Public Education Grant program (PEG):


Below is the list of CSCOPE school districts/school systems as of 8.25.12:


By comparing the two lists posted above (PEG vs. CSCOPE), the public should be able to  determine generally whether CSCOPE is helping or hindering the academic performance of Texas students.


The following chart tells what the abbreviations found in the far right-hand column on the PEG List mean.


Reasons for Identification:

The STAAR/TAKS passing rate inReading/English Language Artswas 50 percent or below for the tested grades at the campus (2011, 2012, 2013).


The STAAR/TAKS passing rate inWriting was 50 percent or below for the tested grades at the campus (2011 or 2013).


The STAAR/TAKS passing rate inMathematics was 50 percent or below for the tested grades at the campus (2011, 2012, 2013).


The STAAR/TAKS passing rate inScience was 50 percent or below for the tested grades at the campus (2011 or 2013).


The STAAR/TAKS passing rate inSocial Studies was 50 percent or below for the tested grades at the campus (2011 or 2013).


The campus was ratedAcademically Unacceptable (2011), or Improvement Required (2013).



More information about the methodology used to prepare the PEG List can be found at:





Donna Garner


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Ratliff & Whiteker Share a “LOVE” for Education Transformation!

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State Board of Education Member Thomas Ratliff and Hudson ISD superintendent Mary Ann Whiteker seem to have a “love” in working together in   promoting a progressive ideology (Type 2 standards) within the Texas School System. Below you find find a press release authored by the two critiqued by Educator Donna Garner.


10-17-2013 A Critique by Donna Garner




October 14, 2013


For several years we have advocated for a public school accountability system that looked at all 180 days of the school year, not just those days that involve a #2 pencil and a bubble sheet when our kids are taking the state’s standardized tests.

We’re proud to say the Texas Legislature, through the passage of House Bill 5, took public school accountability to the next level. Who benefits from this you ask? Parents, students, local communities, school boards, teachers, and taxpayers, just to name a few. How? Let us explain.


House Bill 5 added Section 39.0545 to the Education Code that will create a new LOCAL accountability system that will supplement the STATE accountability system. While the state’s system is still too focused on standardized test results that will grade schools with an over-simplified A-F rating, the local accountability system will look at fine arts, wellness and physical education, community and parental involvement, student participation in community service projects, workforce development, second language acquisition, dropout prevention, gifted and talented programs, and several others. Can you say transparency and accountability?


The results of these two accountability systems working together will better inform parents, local communities, interest groups, taxpayers and policymakers of what is really going on in Texas public schools. These two systems will show how school districts are preparing well-rounded students to have the tools to be good citizens, not just good test takers.

Here’s our unsolicited advice for school boards and school district leadership for the 1000+ public school districts. Don’t just tell us what you are doing well. Tell us where you feel you need improvement. Tell us about your shortcomings. Tell us about your successes. We all know public education, like life, can be messy and imperfect sometimes. If the public only sees the positives being reported, we’ll wonder what you’re not telling us. We have have seen countless examples of local communities rallying around their public schools in good times and bad. This will be no exception. Parents, local employers, school board members all stand ready to celebrate with you or roll up our sleeves and work with you, but it starts with open and robust communication.

We believe Texas owes a big THANK YOU to the 83rd Texas Legislature for giving our schools this new tool to inform local communities. We should mention the best part of this new law. It’s implemented and designed by LOCAL communities, without another unfunded mandate being passed by the legislature and implemented by the Texas Education Agency. God Bless Texas.

Here’s our request of the media. Please report the results of BOTH of these systems to our local communities. Please provide your readers/viewers with “The rest of the story” as Paul Harvey would say.


Thomas Ratliff Mary Ann Whiteker

Vice-Chair Superintendent

State Board of Education Hudson ISD, Lufkin






Please read what another group of administrators is up to (excerpts from the 10.15.13 DMN article posted further on down the page).


The Texas High Performance Schools Consortium consortium is setting up its own accountability system and will try to “sell” the idea across the state. They are going to base their accountability system on the PSAT, SAT, and AP scores. Remember that all of these are products of The College Board which is now headed by David Coleman, the lead author of the Common Core Standards for English (i.e., ELA & Literacy in History, Social Studies, Science, and Technology). Coleman has already said he is going to align all of these products with the Common Core Standards.


Then, too, these administrators are also going to base scores on students’ portfolios. Do you know what this means? Portfolios are totally scored subjectively and will include techie-produced projects by students (constructivism gone wild). Portfolio assessments were tried in California 15 years ago, and they were a total failure because of their subjectivity. Kentucky also used subjective assessments some years ago. The grade inflation and lack of true accountability have been well documented in both states.

 Do you get it? The push by Ratliff, Whiteker, Texas High Performance Schools Consortium is to have subjective evaluations AND constructivist projects – Type #2 all the way! No “measuring stick” (STAAR/EOC’s) tied to Type #1 standards and tests…

 This is a huge coup for Microsoft, Gates, Pearson, TEKS Resource System, and all of the other big players who will make a fortune from Common Core Standards and techie-based, constructivist accountability systems.


These are the direct results of HB 5, HB 866, and the terrible damage that the 83rd Legislative Session did to our Texas public schools when they disrupted the roll out of the 4 x 4 and the Type #1 TEKS and Type #1 STAAR/EOC’s.

Now schools will take their eyes off the ball (academics) and will be double-minded as they attempt to implement a two-track system. This is the dumbing down of America and the indoctrination of our students.

Donna Garner





Texas school districts plan ratings without STAAR





Published: October 14, 2013 10:56 PM

Updated: October 15, 2013 9:42 AM

Despite the governor’s veto, a coalition of Texas school districts is trying to create an accountability system that doesn’t depend on STAAR.

Members of the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium are set to meet in Dallas on Thursday to consider the framework of the new system. It would be voluntary and run parallel to the state ratings.

Current standards, mostly based on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, “focus on a shame and blame environment to drive school improvement,” said Dawson Orr, superintendent of Highland Park ISD, a consortium member.


The new idea uses other tests already employed by some school districts. It would tailor some ratings and standards locally. It isn’t designed to compare school districts or schools. There’s no set of rewards for success or penalties for failure.


…Northwest is a fast-growing district with about 17,000 students. About 20 percent are Hispanic and 6 percent are black. About a quarter are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

The system that Rue has been creating uses information the district is already gathering; no additional testing is needed.

“We’ve had all this data for years,” she said. “Now we’re going to share it.”

The consortium was created by state law in 2011, charged to develop “innovative, next-generation learning standards and assessment and accountability systems.”


The group’s leaders generally share a skepticism about the validity of the state’s tests and a preference for national tests such as the SAT and ACT. They oppose the use of “one-day, high-stakes” state tests as the most important tool of accountability. They want to use non-test techniques — portfolios, for instance — for aspects of education not easily captured on a multiple-choice exam. And they want much greater local control over how districts define success.


Their opponents, including some educators and business leaders, say the state tests are superior to national exams at determining whether students are learning the Texas-mandated curriculum. And that standards not based on tests given statewide are too easily manipulated.


A bill passed without opposition by state legislators this session would have granted the 23 districts in the consortium — with about 5 percent of the state’s students — the right to avoid some STAAR tests and the state’s ratings.


Gov. Rick Perry vetoed the bill.


“Flexibility and innovation are important, but we will not compromise academic rigor or student outcomes,” Perry wrote in his veto message.


What did that leave for the consortium? Several members have been working on developing an alternate accountability system for several years. So they’re going ahead with it even as they comply with state requirements.


“We hope to present information to those policymakers that this might be a better way to assess students,” Orr said.

Several North Texas districts are included in the consortium: Coppell, Duncanville, Highland Park, Irving, Lancaster, McKinney, Northwest, Richardson and Prosper.

The idea to be presented Thursday includes two components: one that might be roughly comparable across districts and one that would be intensely local.

The broad standards include checking reading, math and science for elementary and middle school students — but not every year for every grade. STAAR tests might be included. But other assessment tools that already test kids regularly through the school year could be employed.

 For high school students, measures of “postsecondary readiness” could include PSAT, SAT, AP and other national tests that some districts already provide for all students. A fourth category, “postsecondary success,” would use a tracking system that allows districts to follow the college record of graduates.


The local standards, created by each district, could include other ways to check on academic success, as well as assessing the effectiveness of career and technical training, measuring student engagement and determining how connected schools are to the community…


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Proof That CSCOPE Is Not Needed

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“Proof  That CSCOPE Is Not Needed: Valuable Links

by Donna Garner



Contents of this e-mail (short explanations of each): 


  • Information about CSCOPE lawsuit
  • Link to Alice Linahan Radio Show from 8.19.13 — discussion of CSCOPE and SBOE member, Thomas Ratliff
  • Discussion of Amicus Brief in support of CSCOPE filed by Texas Association of Community Schools (TACS)
  • How to view and understand Texas’ 2013 Accountability Ratings released on 8.9.13
  • Explanation of Indexes and Distinctions columns in 2013 Accountability Ratings spreadsheet
  • Chart showing TACS members’ school district 2013 ratings
  • How to find Spring 2013 STAAR/End-of-Course test results for every school campus/district in Texas



 When the moms, pops, grandparents, and taxpayers of LLano, Texas, became very concerned about the content of the CSCOPE lessons being taught to their children and grandchildren in the LLano ISD, they filed a lawsuit to stop the CSCOPE lessons from being used until the Texas State Board of Education had finished its review (according to SB 1406 passed by the 83rd Legislative Session).



 The Texas Association of Community Schools (TACS) is made up of members who have one high school in their district.  Members pay from $320 to $670 annually to belong and normally use taxpayers’ dollars to pay their dues and convention and conference expenses.

 The president of TACS is Mary Ann Whiteker, the superintendent of Hudson ISD.  Whiteker is to be a panelist in support of CSCOPE at the Sen. Dan Patrick vs. Thomas Ratliff CSCOPE debate this coming Saturday, Aug. 24, 6:30 P. M., at the U. of Tyler. 

 [Please take time to listen to this 8.19.13 podcast on the Alice Linahan Radio Show in which a group of moms discusses the threat their children face with CSCOPE and with Thomas Ratliff on the SBOE: ]


 When the group of concerned citizens in LLano ISD filed their lawsuit, TACS almost immediately filed an Amicus Brief (link may need to be cut/copied/pasted into browser to work)  —  —  to defend the use of CSCOPE in their schools.  The brief has statements from various TACS superintendents who basically rave about CSCOPE and say their school districts could not possibly operate without this excellent CSCOPE system.  


The rave statements in favor of CSCOPE in the TACS’ Amicus Brief led me to do a little research.  Based upon the glowing statements from Lytle, Palacios, Abernathy, Hudson, Roosevelt, and Granger ISD’s in the Amicus Brief, I expected to see that their students had excelled on the 2013 Accountability Ratings released on 8.9.13 by the Texas Education Agency. 


After all, these TACS members that indicated they could not live without CSCOPE and had paid multiple-thousands of taxpayers’ dollars each year to purchase it must have had fabulous results on students’ STAAR/End-of-Course tests, right? 


Surely these TACS members could prove by the testing data that their students had mastered the Texas curriculum standards (TEKS).  The TEKS (English, Science, Social Studies, Math) have been adopted by the elected members of the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) and are mandated for every public school in Texas. The TEKS tell educators WHAT to teach, but the educators at the local level decide HOW to teach it. By law, school administrators are required to make sure that the students in their districts are provided instruction that will prepare them for the STAAR/EOC’s.  


Let’s see how these TACS schools did?   




To see the various links on the TEA website to the 2013 Accountability Ratings, here is the link:


The TEA used a massive spreadsheet to divide up every campus in Texas into groups of 40 so that comparisons can be made among campuses that have like-characteristics (e.g., enrollment, demographics, etc.).  To see the names of the Campus Comparison Groups, please go to this link and type in your search information:


 To see a composite screen of all of the campuses/districts in Texas along with their ratings, please go to this link:



You will find seven columns out to the right of each campus/district name.  The first four columns are under the Indexes category.   If the campus/district meets the standard set for each column, there will be a “Y” in that column, meaning “Yes” the standard was met.”  If there is a blank, that means “No, the standard was not met.”   The first three Indexes apply to K-12, and the last Index applies only to high schools. 


 Index 1: Student Achievement. Provides a snapshot of performance across subjects, on

both general and alternative assessments (e.g., STAAR/End-of-Course tests), at the satisfactory performance standard.

 Index 2: Student Progress. Provides a measure of student progress by subject and

student group independent of overall student achievement levels [improvement over time or lack thereof].


 Index 3: Closing Performance Gaps. Emphasizes advanced academic achievement of

the economically disadvantaged student group and the lowest performing racial/ethnic

student groups at each campus or district.


Index 4: Postsecondary Readiness. Emphasizes the importance for students to receive

a high school diploma that provides them with the foundation necessary for success in

college, the workforce, job training programs, or the military. [This Index rates high schools on how well their students are prepared for post-secondary success.]




I believe the three Distinctions columns are far more indicative of superior performance because they are based upon objective data that ratesacademic achievement (the primary goal of the public schools.)  The campuses/districts are only compared with their same like-characteristic group of 40.


The first column under Distinctions means outstanding academic achievement in English/Language Arts/Reading. 


The second column means outstanding academic achievement in Math. 


The third column means the campus/district was in the Top 25% of schools among the 40 like-comparison group of campuses.


 QUESTION:  How did those TACS schools that gave such rave reviews to CSCOPE in the Amicus Brief do academically?  According to those superintendents, CSCOPE is essential to the success of their districts; and they have spent multi-thousands of  taxpayers’ dollars to purchase it.  

 Please notice the chart below and all of the “NO’s” under Distinctions in the 2013 Accountability Ratings.  This should tell the public all they need to know about CSCOPE.  It obviously is not aligned with the TEKS. It obviously is not aligned with the STAAR/EOC tests. It obviously is not producing well-educated students. It obviously is an impediment to academic achievement. It obviously is a waste of taxpayers’ dollars.  





*Hudson ISD’s superintendent is Mary Anne Whiteker, the president of TACS and an outspoken advocate for CSCOPE.  She is to be the pro-CSCOPE panelist at this Saturday’s debate between Sen. Dan Patrick and SBOE Member Thomas Ratliff.  Please notice how poorly her district did using CSCOPE.




Explains the Accountability System 2013 —




State Accountability Ratings

The overall design of the accountability rating system is a performance index framework.

Performance indicators are grouped into four indexes that align with the goals of the

accountability system.


The structure for evaluation of performance across the four indexes affords multiple views of campus and district performance. Performance across the four indexes are used to assign accountability rating labels based on performance targets that are set for each index.


Index 1: Student Achievement. Provides a snapshot of performance across subjects, on

both general and alternative assessments, at the satisfactory performance standard.



Index 2: Student Progress. Provides a measure of student progress by subject and

student group independent of overall student achievement levels.



Index 3: Closing Performance Gaps. Emphasizes advanced academic achievement of

the economically disadvantaged student group and the lowest performing racial/ethnic

student groups at each campus or district.


Index 4: Postsecondary Readiness. Emphasizes the importance for students to receive

a high school diploma that provides them with the foundation necessary for success in

college, the workforce, job training programs, or the military.





The Spring 2013 STAAR/End-of-Course test results are now available for every campus/district in Texas and can be viewed by the public. 


Here is the link to the Statewide Spring 2013 STAAR/EOC scores:  



To see individual campus and district STAAR/EOC scores for all Texas public schools, please go to the Pearson website:


Notice the four radio buttons under “PDF Reports”  at the top of the page.  By clicking on the button, you can access STAAR/EOC results by State, Region, District, and/or Campus.  



Donna Garner



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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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