Critical Decisions Made by the Texas SBOE That Impact Millions of Students
“Critical Decisions Made by the Texas SBOE That Impact Millions of Students”
By Donna Garner
THOMAS RATLIFF’S AMENDMENT TO ADD SEPARATE TIER OF PROFESSORS
In an 8 to 7 vote, the SBOE members prevailed against Thomas Ratliff’s amendment to create a whole new layer of professors to scrutinize instructional materials (IM’s). This vote was important since across America, 88.1% of full-time faculty members identity themselves as liberals while only 11.9% identify themselves as conservatives. Texas does not need an entire layer of left-leaning professors evaluating the IM’s based upon their liberal agenda.
RATLIFF’S ATTEMPT TO SHAME SBOE
In a fit of Narcissistic bitterness at the end of the meeting, Thomas Ratliff tried to shame the SBOE for making any references to his father, Bill Ratliff, who authored SB 1 in 1995. (Please go to “The Wrong Man for the Job – Bill Ratliff” – by Donna Garner – 7.2.07 — http://www.keepeanesinformed.com/i_smell_a_rat.htm). It was SB 1 that completely restructured public school education in Texas; and it was that revamping that took much control away from the local level and gave it to the state. Thomas Ratliff opined that if the SBOE members do not like what his father did, then they need to change the laws. One slight problem with his complaint: It is not the SBOE members who write the laws; it is the Texas Legislature. Therefore, the SBOE members have a perfect right to refer back to SB 1, including the fact that Bill Ratliff authored that bill. It is not the SBOE’s fault that Thomas is sensitive about his father and the harmful role he played.
EFFORT MADE BY ERIKA BELTRAN TO IDENTIFY AND LABEL PANELISTS AS “QUALIFIED”
Presently, SBOE members are free to use their judgment to choose teachers, parents, employers, business and industry leaders, and subject-matter experts whose life experiences have equipped them to serve on the instructional materials (e.g., textbooks) review panels. SBOE member Erika Beltran (D – Dallas ) tried to get the SBOE to pass an amendment which would have narrowly defined “qualified,” leaving out many qualified retired teachers and those with life experiences that make them subject-matter experts. The majority of SBOE members voted against Beltran’s amendment.
SUPES MUST HAVE TEACHING EXPERIENCE
The majority of the SBOE members voted against the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC)’s proposal which would have allowed people with no teaching experience to become superintendents. Presently superintendents must have taught at least two years along with meeting several other requirements. SBEC could still elect to make a few changes to the proposal and send it back again to the SBOE for a vote.
After having taught for 33+ years in 14 different schools, I believe that it is essential for a superintendent to have been a classroom teacher. In fact, it would be great if every superintendent had to return to the classroom periodically so that he/she could see what current classrooms are like. If a superintendent has never been in the classroom, then he/she cannot possibly understand the two most important functions that must be present in a classroom: (1) consistent discipline, and (2) quality curriculum IN THAT ORDER. The main function of a superintendent is not to build fancy buildings and manage spreadsheets. His/Her main function is to make sure that students receive a quality education, and the superintendent has to know from first-hand experience what the delivery of that quality education entails.
COMMON CORE MATH IN TEXAS
Perhaps the best information presented to the SBOE members came from grassroots citizens – parents whose children are being negatively impacted by the Common Core philosophy of education that is found in their children’s math materials.
Randy Houchins is an experienced engineer and mathematician. He is the parent of two middle-school children. He went to all the trouble to take the Math STAAR/EOC tests himself (only missed one answer), identified the Common-Core-like questions in them, and showed how they tied to the process standards in the Introductions in the Math TEKS. Mr. Houchins produced an invaluable written report with actual math examples and explanations:
Link to Mr. Houchin’s Written Report: http://www.voicesempower.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/2015_11_19-STAAR-2014-2015-Comparison.pdf
Link to Mr. Houchin’s Short Testimony: https://www.facebook.com/randy.houchins.1/videos/957156274346329/
Chris Remy is a Texas parent with three elementary school children. Mr. Remy is an experienced MBA who uses math every day in his job.
Link to Mr. Remy’s Short Testimony — https://www.facebook.com/randy.houchins.1/videos/957779214284035/?pnref=story
ALIGNMENT OF TEKS DOCUMENTS WITH COLLEGE-AND-CAREER-READY STANDARDS (CCRS)
The Texas Education Agency staff reported that they have acted upon the requirements of HB 1613 (passed in the last Legislative Session – http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=HB1613) by developing charts for Math, Science, Social Studies, and Cross Disciplines showing the alignment between CCRS and the TEKS. No chart has been produced for the ELAR/TEKS (English / Language Arts / Reading) because those TEKS are presently in the process of being reviewed.
I think it is important to remind the Texas Legislature, the SBOE, the TEA, and the public that the only set of K-12 curriculum standards for Texas that have been officially adopted by the elected members of the SBOE (according to the Texas Education Code) are the TEKS. The College-and-Career-Ready Standards have not been officially adopted by an elected body after public scrutiny and public hearings. Therefore, the CCRS have no real legal standing whereas the TEKS are mandated to be taught in every public school in Texas.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THOMAS RATLIFF AND HIS AMENDMENT
11.19.15 — “Update: SBOE Did the Right Thing Yesterday” – by Donna Garner – EdViews.org — 11.19.15 —
11.17.15 — “Thomas Ratliff Trying To Make Himself Relevant” – by Donna Garner – EdViews.org — http://www.educationviews.org/thomas-ratliff-relevant/