“Tortured language” Used To Promote Common Core in Texas

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twisted language

Dec 6, 2014 by

By Niki Hayes



            “Tortured language” has been an important government tool for years. (Just ask Jonathan Gruber, chief architect of ObamaCare, who bragged about the use of tortured language in writing that controversial piece of legislation.)  Such “tortured writing” uses euphemisms and flimflam when taking falsehoods and twisting them so that people will misconstrue them as truth.


A new example in Texas is the Education Service Center 11 (ESC 11), a governmental agency, with its chart comparing Common Core math standards with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards.  (To see the ESC 11 chart, please go to:


ESC 11’s chart claims that Common Core and TEKS are equal in content and scope. Therefore, they say schools can buy Common Core-aligned materials and feel safe that the materials support our TEKS. This is pure flimflam – “tortured language.”


I was a member of the Texas math curriculum standards writing team when we wrote the new 2012 Math TEKS.  I can state unequivocally that the new Math TEKS that we wrote and the Texas State Board of Education adopted are not the same as the federally-driven Common Core math standards. 


First, our TEKS document is a brand name product that was developed by 80 citizens who put in 12-hour days during three separate meetings over four months. We were charged with developing quality standards that would benefit our children and Texas citizens. We built our TEKS starting with a draft first created by a panel of mathematics experts that was commissioned by the Texas Education Agency (TEA); then we researched specific states with outstanding math standards at the time (such as Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Indiana). Most importantly, we brought to the table professional knowledge and experiences as educators in Texas classrooms. We knew our state’s children and their needs. The TEKS were personal to us.


In contrast, Common Core is a generic brand created largely by unknown individuals outside of Texas. Some of the main writers, whose names were finally released publicly, had never even been classroom teachers.  For many reasons, not the least of which is cost, numerous states are now struggling to back out of their federal Common Core contracts.


Even though Texas was one of the few states that said “NO” to the Common Core, one of the Texas Education Agency staffers tried to urge our Math TEKS writing team to use the Common Core Math Standards to craft our Math TEKS.  As a member of the Grade 3 – 5 team, I made it clear that we should not be looking at the Common Core Standards for guidance since Texas had refused to adopt Common Core Standards from their inception.


The same TEA staff member resisted efforts to have the required use of the “standard algorithms” specified in the TEKS. (This is the procedure used in multiplication and division that our parents and grandparents learned and which is used internationally.)  The staffer said standard algorithms are considered a “traditional math” approach and were thus considered inferior by many math reformers. 


I also wanted a restriction against the use of calculators for daily problem solving in elementary grades. Reformers on the writing team supported the push for technology in K-12 rather than the traditional methods (paper and pencil) of student learning.


Even though I vociferously advocated for standard algorithms and the restriction against calculator use among elementary students in Grades K-5, I was losing the debate. Therefore, I contacted Dr. James Milgram, one of the panel experts hired by TEA, and asked for his help.  He stepped forward, and a higher-up official at the TEA also got involved.  References to the Common Core by the TEA staff ceased.  The required teaching of standard algorithms and the restricted use of calculators in Grades K-5 were adopted in the final Math TEKS document.   


Despite some philosophical differences on what we should include in the Math TEKS, our group did agree that the standards had to be explicit, direct, and clear. They had to be understandable not only for elementary teachers (many of whom fear mathematics and need clarity and brevity in instructions) but also for parents as well.


Our TEKS writing team agreed that the new TEKS standards had to be measurable with objective criteria and that each element had to be testable through objective measurements.  Our team knew that the new TEKS would not be perfect but that they needed to be traditionally oriented standards (a.k.a., Type #1) as compared with the 1997 TEKS which were “fuzzy” standards (a.k.a., Type #2).


The chart that ESC 11 has created attempts to show that Common Core’s “process standards” match our new TEKS “process standards” and that makes Common Core and TEKS similar in scope. That is ridiculous!  The new Math TEKS standards that our writing team finally produced in 2012 has strong and specific expectations listed in the “Introduction” before each grade level.  No such clear, explicit, competency-based language is found in the Common Core.


Next, the public needs to look at our final TEKS Math Standards and compare those definitive and clear statements with Common Core’s wordy, complex explanations, many of which are not understandable because of the confusing and complicated wording. (Federal or state curriculum standards are also not supposed to mandate pedagogy [how to teach]; that is to be left up to the local educators.)  


Below is a comparison example from the Math TEKS and from the Common Core:


TEKS, Grade 5, Number and Operations 3.H:


“Represent and solve addition and subtraction of fractions with unequal denominators, referring to the same whole using objects and pictorial models and properties of operation.”


Common Core, (same standard but labeled NF1 and NF2):


“Add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators (including mixed numbers) by replacing given fractions with equivalent fractions in such a way as to produce an equivalent sum or difference of fractions with like denominators. For example, 2/3 + 5/4 = 8/12 + 15/12 = 23/12. (In general, a/b + c/d = (ad + bc/bd). Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions referring to the same whole including cases of unlike denominators, e.g., by using visual fraction models or equations to represent the problem. Use benchmark fractions and number sense of fractions to estimate mentally and assess the reasonableness of answers. For example, recognize an incorrect result 2/5 + 1/2 = 3/7 by observing that 3/7 < 1/2.”


In numerous cases, there are additional Common Core standards that, if utilized, would add to the already packed TEKS.  This would not help educators prepare their students for the STAAR-End-of-Course tests. Why risk wasting time, energy, and money on unproven and generic materials (Common Core) when the traditional approach to math has been proven successful for generations, in spite of those educators who say it hasn’t?


Speaking of time, it is time for many of these education “leaders” to have to teach for one year in a classroom and use the directives and requirements they have put on classroom teachers. These leaders should also be required to receive the credit or the blame for any poor student achievement.


More to the point, why are Texas education service centers, administrators, and political leaders allowing ESC 11’s false narrative and chart to be presented to teachers and parents as truth, especially when it is against state law to use Common Core materials and standards in Texas as stated by the Texas Attorney General (TAG). (Re: Use of the Common Core Standards Initiative by Texas school districts to teach state standards. RQ-1175-GA —


Why are Texas leaders ignoring the TAG’s ruling and flaunting the law by using public tax dollars for illegal purchases by school districts and ESC’s?


I believe if Texas leaders had led their classroom teachers to teach the new Math TEKS when adopted in 2012, rather than waiting until they were required to do so in 2014, students’ scores on this year’s STAAR and End-of-Course math tests would have shown considerable improvement.


School leaders should make sure all students in Texas public schools have instructional materials that teach the fact-based, clearly stated, explicit, grade-level specific, measurable requirements as outlined in our state’s Math TEKS.


Texas children, teachers, and parents deserve clarity, not confusion, from their leaders on education issues. That includes their not being victimized by curriculum materials such as Common Core that use “tortured language” and make material unnecessarily difficult to understand. 



CORRECTION TO PODCAST: In 2012 the Math TEKS (Texas’ curriculum standards) were adopted in K-12 by the elected members of the Texas State Board of Education; however, the K-8 Math TEKS were not required to be implemented fully into the schools until 2014 when the textbooks (e.g., instructional materials – IM’s) were available for purchase. The high-school Math TEKS are not required to be implemented fully until 2015-16 when the new Math IM’s will be available for districts to purchase.


12.3.14 — PODCAST – Alice Linahan of Women on the Wall — conference call with Nakonia (Niki) Hayes, the author of The Story of John Saxon




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texas insider

By Janice VanCleave & Jeanine McGregor


Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas – CSCOPE is not gone, it has just changed names. The 20 Texas Education Service Centers (ESC’s) are a true example of morphism. What was set up as 20 regional agencies to provide “affordable” and free quality educational services to school districts has morphed into a 20 headed monster. Sound  melodramatic? Sadly, it is true.

An Introduction: by Jeanine McGregor:

Texans by nature, design and heritage, are God-fearing, independent-minded, hard-working, individuals who stand for truth and justice.  When Texas turned down the highly-suspect federal program, Common Core, yielding to its  Jeanine McGregor Ms. MacSMALL own educational goals, parents and community leaders heralded our independent choice, little did we know that traitors amongst us, a.k.a. some liberal-minded Texas school administrators and superintendents, had joined forces to implement behind our backs a similar program, CSCOPE.

That, at the very least, was raw, untested, and poorly designed, and at the most was a highly-restrictive management framework, dipped in radical ideology, meant to control our children’s academic futures using fear and intimidation.

True Texans from across the state are waking up and speaking out.  The following is the first in a series of articles from individuals across Texas, meant to reveal the truth and empower the individual so that together we can stand up and say, “We’re from Texas.  We don’t like being lied to and we don’t ‘cotton to you messin’ with our children.”


Is This Happening At Your School?

Janice VanCleave3eBy Janice VanCleave

CSCOPE is not gone, it has just changed names. The 20 Texas Education Service Centers are a true example of morphism.

What was set up as 20 regional agencies to provide “affordable” and free quality educational services to school districts has morphed into a 20 headed monster with appendages it can shed, much like a lizard can lose its tail and keep on going.

Severing the limb containing the CSCOPE Lessons was a minor setback. The lessons were not lost. Instead they are now snugly set in place in school districts with administrators dedicated to continuing this covert cause to remove parents from being a part of their children’s education; dedicated to continuing to set the educational bar so low that every student learns at an equally low level; dedicated to continue bullying teachers making them so fearful of losing their jobs that they must teach in secret–when the administrators, the CSCOPE Management CZARS, leave the school building.

Sounds very melodramatic doesn’t it? Sadly, it is true.

CSCOPEparentPortal1. Are CSCOPE Lessons, as well as assessments, a one-size-fits all?

The CSCOPE assessments are being given in some schools about every 3 weeks. This is in every subject, every grade, and at every ability-level. Some Advanced Placement students are required to take these tests!

You might ask how this could be, since the AP classes do not have to follow the same schedule as the “regular” classes. It doesn’t seem to matter. It’s the data that is being collected:

  • How many failed this?
  • Which race failed that?
  • Do white kids do better than black, Hispanic, or the “other” races?

If you have ever filled out a questionnaire for a political poll, you know that the results are (on average) going to be the way the politician wants them to be. Your kids are little more than political guinea pigs.

There is a point to what seems to be madness, and it has little to nothing to do with academics. It isn’t just that kids are being “brainwashed” into thinking that there has to be a big change in teaching methods, because after all we are in the 21st Century.  They need to learn how to Twitter and develop Facebook pages so they can get better jobs. Kids don’t cscope-arrowneed textbooks; they need ipads. Learn to read? Learn to write? No, they need to learn to TEXT (sic!) –  Thus they will be able to get better jobs – to become brain surgeons – those who know little about the brain, but are great with social media!

What about teachers? No problem here. The new CSCOPE teaching philosophy will in time displace certified teachers with “Guides on the SIDE.” Actually, certified teachers and school administrators are slowly being phased out.

At one time school board members represented the community. They hired certified personnel. Now, the 20 ESCs train and certify teachers, principals, supervisors, and superintendents. But, having the right certification is not required  by all school districts. Some superintendents hold the job position, but are not certified. The same is true with principals and other administrators.

Are your administrators certified for their jobs? You can find out at this State Website 

2. How many days of the school year are spent taking and preparing for tests?

The more tests students take, the fewer days teachers have to present information being assessed.

The more tests students take, the fewer days students have to prepare for the tests.

CSCOPE Tests are filled with errors. Teachers know this, but this year teachers do not have access to the CSCOPE tests cscope7duntil they are given to the students.

ALL TEACHERS DO NOT have the freedom to teach. If their administrators are following the CSCOPE Managing System, which gives administrators more controlling power and some love it, then teachers are to “goosestep” to the tune scripted by the ESC/CSCOPE directors. Sadly, these administrators are marching in step to the same tune but seem not to recognize the irony.

Parents, Don’t let the enchanted “song of the CSCOPE Sirens” lure you into believing your child is receiving the best 21st Century technology education with rigor necessary for the STAAR. Find out for yourself what is happening in your child’s classroom.

3. Is the teacher forced to give frequent CSCOPE assessments?

If so, she/he may be struggling to rush through topics in an effort to prepare kids for the next assessment and then the next and so on. Find out what teachers do during what is now facetiously called the teacher planning period. The CSCOPE teachers I correspond with have no time to plan their lessons, they are filling out data reports.

Find out if teachers in your school have to give CSCOPE assessments over material that hasn’t been introduced to your child. It is happening in some schools. It seems that these CSCOPE assessments are being given so data can be collected. What kind of data?

Also, since the STAAR/EOC Tests are given during the 5th 6-weeks of the school year, teachers are expected to teach 36 weeks worth of instruction material in less than 30 weeks. Think of all the days of instruction lost because of the extra cscope7cCSCOPE DATA-Collecting Assessments.

Now add to that the time scheduled before the STAAR/EOC TESTs for review of everything learned.

4. Are the grades on the CSCOPE Assessments being used to evaluate the progress of your child?

These assessments have so many errors. But if these grades are not used, teachers have to use another day to evaluate students. Another day of instruction lost.

Did you know that not all of the CSCOPE assessments are machine graded using the bubble in testing sheets. Some of the questions are subjective and teachers have to read these answers and determine if they are right or wrong. Then teachers have to bubble this information in on the data gathering forms.

5.  How much time do the teachers in your school spend collecting data, giving tests, instead of providing instructions?

Teachers are not to be “Sages on the Stage” providing information. Instead, they are to be “Guides on the Side” watching students discover information for themselves.

cscope7eThink About This!

A football coach demands and receives the attention of his players. Football coaches do not give the team an assignment and then have them form groups and discover on their own how to accomplish making touchdowns. Yet, parents are buying into the idea that in the classroom teachers need to present the class with a problem and then step back and let the kids share and research to discover the answers. WHY? Why would it work in the classroom and not on the football field?

I know that it doesn’t make sense that our entire country is embracing a progressive teaching philosophy that promotes “social learning,” which means students are expected to have experiences while sharing them with others.  They are also expected to conduct research via the web.   As a group, students will determine which information is relevant and important to them. This includes learning math processes necessary to solve problems.

I recommend that we all review the events that took place in Germany when Hitler took control. Are you aware that Hitler’s ideas about education very closely parallel with those of the current progressive teaching philosophy?  Hitler was more interested in directing the social and moral standards of children than emphasizing academics.

Sound familiar?

CSCOPE promotes leveling the playing field for all students. This eliminates challenging students who are at different levels. The argument that every student must be on the same page at the same time so that kids can move NOcscope3cfrom one location and not lose ground is a questionable motive.

Don’t be lured to the ‘rocks of destruction’ by the songs of the Social Education Progressive Sirens.

Parents, any school, using ESC/CSCOPE material, has administrators that are lying to you. I have read and evaluated every elementary CSCOPE lesson and assessment. This instruction material does not align with the state standards called TEKS because the content of the CSCOPE instruction material is not all correct.

There are many errors that are carried from one grade to the next. Last year teachers had to teach to the CSCOPE assessments, in doing this these teachers were teaching incorrect information.

Parents, the problems in Texas Education will be corrected when you demand it.

Janice VanCleave3e

Janice VanCleave (right) is an internationally-known author, as well as a Science Teacher from Riesel, Texas, who blogs on the Texas CSCOPE Review.

SERIES EDITOR Jeanine McGregor, known to most in the Texas Education Debate as ”Ms. Mac”, is an Award-Winning Teacher, an educational researcher, and an author-publisher as CEO of Character of American Productions. She is also producer of Ms. Mac’s Schoolhouse, and the innovative Ms. Mac TV” Program.

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Texas Students Climb Stairs to Communism

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Texas Communist flag


One would never guess that 875 Texas Schools , public, private and charter have purchased and implemented a Marxist Curriculum called Cscope in their schools. Our Texas Education Service Centers have formed a Non Profit called Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative (TESCCC) and they operate out of out of our State Agenices using State employees to sell their Cscope Curriculum. The Curriculum has  students drawing a New Communist Flag which is part of the paticular lesson which gives out the following handout. Notice in the bottom box of the hand out where it states that capitalist “strive to fulfill their own needs and wants”.  We capitalist are selfish greedy people aren’t we”? Cscope is all about portraying communism in a positive light and the free enterprise/capitalist  system as selfish economic system.


For information on Cscope look up


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