Bad Choice for Dallas ISD

Jul 15, 2012 by

by Donna Garner – I hate to be the one to burst Dallas taxpayers’ bubble, but Dallas ISD Superintendent Miles’ has just “laid an egg.”  He has named Ann Smisko to be the DISD’s chief academic official at a base salary of $205,000.

Ann Smisko is the person who was responsible for “forcing” the Type #2 Philosophy of Education curriculum standards upon Texas’ public schools in 1997.


The Type #2 Philosophy of Education was adopted when the July 1997 TEKS [under the well-orchestrated plan set out by Ann Smisko] were passed by the left-leaning State Board of Education (SBOE). These TEKS opened the door for the social justice agenda to inundate our public schools.

Type #2 Philosophy of Education: Project-based, subjective (emphasize cognitive domain – beliefs, opinions, emotions), subjectively assessed based upon value system of evaluator, multiculturalism, political correctness, environmental extremism, diversity, social justice agenda — These standards are built backwards from Grade 12 on down – and are taught mostly using the constructivist (project-based) approach.

At the Texas Education Agency under Commissioner of Education Mike Moses, Ann Smisko was the person who teamed up with the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) led by Marc Tucker, Hillary Clinton, Ira Magaziner, and Gov. Cuomo to move our country’s public schools from knowledge-based, academic skills (i.e., Type #1 Philosophy of Education) INTO what has now inundated our schools with the “the social justice agenda” (i.e., Type #2 Philosophy of Education).

Every Texan should hold Ann Smisko responsible for the dumbing down of our Texas schools during these last 15 years. It was she and those working with her who “abused” millions of Texas public school children by destroying their chances to be successful readers, writers, spellers, and math/science students.


Type #1 Philosophy of Education: Knowledge-based, academic, clearly worded, grade-level-specific content that is tested largely through objectively scored tests — These standards are built from the lowest grade to the highest — Pre-K through Grade 12 — and are taught mostly through direct, systematic instruction.

Type #1 standards could be referred to as the traditional method – the method of teaching that people approximately 50 years old and older experienced when they were in school – phonics, grammar, correct usage/spelling, cursive penmanship, classical literature, expository/persuasive/research writing, the four math functions taught to automaticity, U. S. History, World History, fact-based science, etc.

We Texas classroom teachers wrote the Texas Alternative Document (TAD) for English / Language Arts / Reading (ELAR) in 1997. This was based upon Type #1 and was an alternative to the one that the Texas Education Agency [with Ann Smisko in charge] and the left-leaning SBOE members were ruthlessly pushing through (Type #2).

During this period of time in the late 90’s, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) was under the authority of Mike Moses as Commissioner of Education [and Ann Smisko over the development of the new TEKS curriculum standards and TAKS tests).  Governor George W. Bush had brought Karl Rove into the mix to silence our TAD efforts for political reasons because Gov. Bush was running for the Presidency and did not want any controversy to sideline his campaign.

Our Texas Alternative Document (TAD) for ELAR followed the Type #1 philosophy and would have set a precedent for the rest of the other core curriculum courses if the TAD had been adopted.

Because Texas was (and still is) the largest purchaser of textbooks, the new curriculum standards as set forth in the TAD could have impacted what was implemented into textbooks throughout the country.

However, because of the politics of the moment [orchestrated in part by Ann Smisko], the TAD was not adopted in July 1997; and Type #2 Philosophy of Education was implemented instead throughout our Texas public schools for the last 15 years.

It was Type #2 which prevailed in our Texas public schools until May 2008 at which time the voters had finally elected enough conservative SBOE members to adopt brand new ELAR curriculum standards (TEKS) that follow Type #1.

Since then, Texas has adopted Type #1 Science, Social Studies, and Math TEKS; and now new instructional materials (i.e., textbooks) and the new STAAR/EOC tests are required to be built upon Type #1.

The problem is that changing a monolithic institution such as all the public schools in Texas from Type #2 to Type #1 takes time.  It also takes money because new Type #1 instructional materials and tests have to be implemented from K-12.

The new ELAR curriculum standards were adopted in May 2008, but most teachers did not pay any attention to the new standards until it came time for the students to take the new STAAR-EOC tests this spring.

To view the new Type #1 STAAR/EOC tests through the eyes of two Texas public school students, please go to the following article published on 3.29.12: “STAAR-EOC Tests: Picking Alpha’s and Beta’s Brains” ——-picking/View.aspx

Ann Smisko is not a good choice for the DISD superintendent to make because her philosophy of education is completely at odds with the one that the Texas State Board of Education and the new STAAR-EOC’s represent.

To read more about Texas education and how the two philosophies of education impact every public school student in this state, please read the following:

5.30.12 — “The Gathering Storm in Education” – by Donna Garner —


5.13.12 — “Texans: Must Keep STAAR/End-of-Course Tests on Schedule” — by Donna Garner —


3.26.12 — “Two Education Philosophies with Two Different Goals” — by Donna Garner —


Excerpts from this article:

New Dallas ISD superintendent completes his Cabinet


Staff Writer

Published: 13 July 2012 10:20 PM

New Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles completed his six-member Cabinet of top administrators Friday with the hiring of a state education official as chief academic officer.

Ann Smisko, the Texas Education Agency’s associate commissioner for school improvement and educator initiatives, will directly oversee curriculum and instruction efforts in the district. Smisko will be paid a base salary of $205,000…

“This is a major coup for the Dallas Independent School District,” Miles said in a news release. “Dr. Smisko oversaw the initial development and implementation of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), which is the statewide curriculum. To have her sitting on our Cabinet and providing support to our campuses will be a tremendous boost to our efforts to reach the goals of the Destination 2020 plan.”

Smisko, who will start Aug. 1, said she is excited about working with the other chiefs.

“I’m going to get to work with such a stellar group,” she said. “It’s going to be so energizing and exciting for all of us.”

Her work history and credentials, according to DISD, include:

Serving as the Texas Education Agency’s associate commissioner for curriculum, assessment and technology. She also oversaw the creation of curriculum standards for the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, the state’s previous exam for students…

“With Dr. Smisko on board, I am convinced that Dallas ISD has a top-rate Cabinet consisting of individuals who are among the best in their fields,” Miles said in the news release. “I hope this sends a signal about the kind of competency and leadership that we will continue to recruit to accomplish the goals of the Destination 2020 plan.”

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