Jan 30, 2013 by

donna_garnerDonna Garner –

Today was a very important day for the Texas State Board of Education because this was the first meeting of the SBOE since the Nov. 6, 2012 elections; and the Texas Education Code sets certain requirements for reorganization. (Please read the descriptions of the various SBOE members that I have posted toward the bottom of this e-mail.)


One of those requirements is for the Board to elect a new Executive Committee.  Barbara Cargill as the Chair is also the Chair of the Executive Committee.  Mavis Knight was the only person nominated as Secretary of the Executive Committee and was elected unanimously.

The disheartening thing is that in spite of the fact that Thomas Ratliff is serving illegally on the SBOE because of the Texas Attorney General’s opinion (8.12.11 —  (posted at the bottom of this page), Thomas Ratliff managed to get elected as Vice Chair of the Executive Committee.

The 6 who voted for Ken Mercer for Vice Chair were Donna Bahorich, David Bradley, Barbara Cargill, Ken Mercer, Tincy Miller, and Marty Rowley.

The 9 who voted for Thomas Ratliff were Martha Dominguez, Ruben Cortez, Marisa Perez, Lawrence Allen, Thomas Ratliff, Tom Maynard, Pat Hardy, Mavis Knight, and Sue Melton.

Pat Hardy nominated Thomas Ratliff for the Vice Chair’s position; and she even had the gall to praise Ratliff for his work on the Permanent School Fund last term where his conflict of interest and registered lobbyist associations were (and still are) very disturbing.


Skipping ahead in today’s meeting:  During the SBOE meeting where the rules were discussed, an amendment by Ken Mercer failed.  This amendment would have required any SBOE member who appears before the Legislature to indicate whether he is speaking as a private citizen, an SBOE member, a designated SBOE member, or a representative of his employer.

The reason for Ken Mercer’s amendment is that Thomas Ratliff appeared before the Texas Senate Education Committee on March 29, 2011 to speak in favor of SB 6 and failed to identify himself as a long-time, registered lobbyist for Microsoft.  Ratliff instead identified himself only as an SBOE member.  This made it appear to the Legislators as if Ratliff was representing the SBOE members.

Microsoft is making millions of dollars from SB 6 because digitized instructional materials can now be purchased by school districts with Permanent School Funds, and Microsoft products are frequently used to deliver digitized instructional materials.  Therefore, Thomas Ratliff was obviously “name dropping” his SBOE position to influence the Legislators so that he would gain profits for himself.

No matter how Thomas Ratliff tries to twist the truth, the Texas Attorney General has said there is nothing that Ratliff can do to “cure” his situation.  He is a registered lobbyist with clients who are tied directly to business decisions that involve the SBOE, the Texas Education Agency, the Permanent School Fund, and/or the Legislature. That is called a direct conflict of interest.   I stand by my comment:

Thomas Ratliff’s lobbying is directly related to the operation of the SBOE.  If he had been lobbying companies that sell pig manure to Nowhere Land, USA, that might not have anything to do with the education market; but Thomas has been lobbying for Microsoft, AIG, T-Mobile Communications (and possibly others) that deal directly with the education market and with the PSF.  SB 6 for which Ratliff glowingly testified before the Legislature, identifying himself only as an SBOE member and not as a registered lobbyist, has made millions of dollars for his leading client, Microsoft.

To read more information about Thomas Ratliff, please go to the article I published on 1.15.13 entitled “Thomas Ratliff, Ineligible for SBOE”  —   http://www.imakenews.com/hapc/e_article002607964.cfm?x=b11,0,w


The Board voted 8 to 7 to have the counting of votes for preference of committee assignments done in full view of the entire Board. Only the three Executive Committee members were allowed to talk during the deciding of committee assignments.

The following are the final committee assignments. The Chairs will be elected later by the committee members:


Committee on School Finance/Permanent School Fund








Committee on Instruction








Committee on School Initiatives











The following drew a 4-year term:


Martha Dominguez – Dist. 1

Ken Mercer – Dist. 5

Donna Bahorich – Dist. 6

Barbara Cargill – Dist. 8

Thomas Ratliff – Dist. 9

Tom Maynard – Dist. 10

Sue Melton – Dist. 14

Marty Rowley – Dist. 15


The following drew a 2- year term:


Ruben Cortez, Jr. – Dist. 2

Marisa B. Perez – Dist. 3

Lawrence A. Allen – Dist. 4

David Bradley – Dist. 7

Patricia Hardy – Dist. 11

Geraldine Miller – Dist. 12

Mavis B. Knight – Dist. 13



Here is a summarized version of some of the reorganizational rules adopted by the SBOE today.  The final set of rules was passed unanimously:


A motion was made and passed not to allow an officer of the Board (Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary) to be a chair of a standing committee.


A motion was made and passed to allow only two representatives from the same organization to sign up to speak at SBOE hearings; however, an individual may still represent himself.


A motion was made and passed that a member wanting to amend the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS — curriculum standards) for Second Reading and final adoption before the full board must submit the amendment two hours following adjournment of the full Board on the day prior to the amendment being considered the next day by the full Board. All amendments shall be made available to the public to the extent possible. This rule may be suspended by a 2/3 vote by members present and voting.






“Who Is Now on the Texas State Board of Education”

By Donna Garner


*Newly elected to SBOE


*Martha M. Dominguez  — El Paso — Democrat – District 1 – Ysletta ISD human resources dept. employee – even though withdrew her name in April, name remained on ballot — (defeated incumbent Charlie Garza, Republican – Type #1)


*Ruben Cortez, Jr. – Brownsville — Democrat – District 2 – Region 1 Education Service Center board member, former Brownsville ISD trustee


*Marisa B. Perez – San Antonio  — Democrat – District 3  – governmental and community relations specialist for San Antonio ISD – former Child Protective Services social worker — (defeated SBOE member Michael Soto)


Lawrence Allen, Jr. – Fresno — Democrat – District 4 (incumbent – Type #2)


Ken Mercer – San Antonio — Republican – District 5 – Type #1 (incumbent – Type #1)


*Donna Bahorich – Houston — Republican – District 6 – Type #1  – former aide to State Sen. Dan Patrick — (replaces retiring Terri Leo – Type #1)


David Bradley – Beaumont — Republican – District 7 – Type #1 (incumbent)


Barbara Cargill – The Woodlands — Republican – District 8 – Type #1 (incumbent)


Thomas Ratliff – Mount Pleasant — Republican  — District 9 – Type #2 (incumbent – on SBOE illegally)


*Tom Maynard – Florence — Republican – District 10 – Type #1  – Executive Director of Texas Future Farmers of America Association — (replaces Marsha Farney – Type #2)


Pat Hardy – Ft. Worth — Republican – District 11 – inconsistent Type #2/Type #1 (incumbent)


Tincy Miller – Dallas — Republican – District 12 — inconsistent Type #2/Type #1

(replaces SBOE board member George Clayton – Type #2)


Mavis Knight – Dallas — Democrat – District 13 – Type #2 (incumbent)


*Sue Melton – Waco — Republican – District 14 – Retired educator, former Association of Texas Professional Educators statewide president  — (replaces SBOE board member Gail Lowe – Type #1)


*Marty Rowley – Amarillo — Republican – District 15 – Type #1 — attorney, mediator, former pastor of large Amarillo church — (replaces SBOE board member Bob Craig – Type #2)


TYPE #1 vs. TYPE #2


*Donna Garner’s terminology and definitions:


(1)  Type #1 Philosophy of Education: Knowledge-based, academic, clearly worded, grade-level-specific content that is tested largely through objectively scored tests  — These standards (TEKS) are built from K through Grade 12 and are taught mostly through direct, systematic instruction. The new TEKS adopted by the elected members of the Texas State Board of Education since May 2008 are Type #1, and the new STAAR/End-of-Course tests built upon the new TEKS are Type #1.


Type #1 standards could be referred to as the traditional method – the method of teaching that people perhaps 50 years old and older experienced when they were in school.  This included the teaching of phonics, grammar, correct usage/spelling, cursive handwriting, classical literature, expository/persuasive/research writing, the four math functions taught to automaticity, fact-based and discreet courses in Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Calculus, U. S. History, World History, Botany, Biology, Physics, and Chemistry.


(2) Type #2 Philosophy of Education (adopted in July 1997 and reflected in the TEKS and TAKS) — Project-based, subjective (emphasize cognitive domain – beliefs, opinions, emotions), subjectively assessed based upon the value system of the evaluator — emphasize multiculturalism, political correctness,  environmental extremism, diversity, social justice agenda  — These standards are built backwards from Grade 12 down to K (similar to trying to build a house from the roof down) and are taught mostly using the constructivist (project-based) approach.


Type #2 can be seen in Obama’s social justice agenda (i.e., Common Core Standards) that includes an emphasis on subjectivity, feelings, emotions, beliefs, multiculturalism, political correctness, social engineering, globalism, evolution, sexual freedom/contraceptives instead of abstinence, environmental extremism, global warming, victimization, diversity, an acceptance of the normalcy of the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender lifestyle, redistribution of wealth, a de-emphasis on — factual knowledge, the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Founding Fathers, and American exceptionalism.


Below is the Texas Attorney General’s ruling from 8.12.11:


Subject: Notification of Opinion (Texas Attorney General’s Office)



Opinion No.  GA-0876

Go to: http://www.oag.state.tx.us/opinions/opinions/50abbott/op/2011/htm/ga-0876.htm


Re: Construction of section 7.103(c), Education Code, regarding the eligibility of a registered lobbyist for membership on the State Board of Education (RQ-0948-GA)


Summary: Subsection 7.103(c), Texas Education Code, precludes certain registered lobbyists from serving on the State Board of Education (“Board”). A person who has been retained to communicate directly with the legislative or executive branch to influence legislation or administrative action in or on behalf of a profession, business, or association on a matter that pertains to or is associated or connected with any of the statutorily enumerated powers or duties of the Board is not eligible to serve on the Board. Thus, a registered lobbyist who has been paid to lobby the legislative or executive branch on a matter relating to Board business is ineligible to serve on the Board. The question of whether any person engaged in lobbying activity is ineligible under subsection 7.103(c) is a fact question that is inappropriate to an attorney general opinion.

Absent a mechanism to cure a violation in subsection 7.103(c), we cannot advise that a member of the Board may cure his or her ineligibility under the subsection.

Donna Garner


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