Districts of Innovation Not a Good Thing: Bryan ISD Moving That Direction

Nov 21, 2016 by


“Districts of Innovation Not a Good Thing: Bryan ISD Moving That Direction”

By Donna Garner




[Bryan ISD is set to seek to become a District of Innovation.  Please read at the bottom of this page why Districts of Innovation are not a good thing!  If you know anyone who lives in Bryan ISD and who needs to see this information, please feel free to share it with them.  – Donna Garner]



11.20.16 – Bryan Eagle




“Bryan school district may seek District of Innovation tag”

By Elizabeth Kamenickyelizabeth.kamenicky@theeagle.com 


Excerpts from this article:


In an effort to gain more flexibility in its decision-making process, the Bryan school district is looking into becoming a District of Innovation.


The status, which was passed into law by the 84th legislation in spring 2015, allows districts who meet state performance standards to be exempt from various state mandates and have more local control.


“It’s exciting that the state provides us this opportunity of flexibility to make decisions for Bryan students by Bryan constituents,” Bryan schools interim Superintendent Timothy Rocka said


More than 40 Texas school districts have been designated as Districts of Innovation, including the El Paso, San Antonio and Round Rock school districts.


…[Bryan] Trustees approved the resolution to initiate the process during the Nov. 7 board workshop.


A tentative timeline for the process also was proposed to the trustees. A public hearing is the next step and is scheduled for an undetermined date in early December. If the community shows its approval, a board-appointed committee will be responsible for drawing up the innovation plan, required to be posted on the district’s website for 30 days.


Once the plan has been posted for public viewing, a district-level committee as well as the board must approve the plan to gain District of Innovation status. The designation can last up to five years and can be amended or removed during that period.


Larson said the TCTA opposes the idea of Districts of Innovation because some exemptions schools can use are not progressive. These modifications include overriding the standard 22:1 student-teacher ratio in kindergarten through the fourth grade, hiring uncertified teachers in any area of instruction, and not having to document state-required training for school staff.


The College Station school district has chosen to not pursue the District of Innovation status at this time. College Station schools Superintendent Clark Ealy said during last week’s board workshop that the district is efficiently operating under the current state mandates.


The district, which is a member of the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium, is focused on attaining the standards set forth in its community-based accountability system, according to district spokesman Chuck Glenewinkel.


If everything stays on track, Rocka said the Bryan school district could become a District of Innovation as early as March 2017









I am so grateful to all of those who are challenging the Districts of Innovation in Texas for all the right reasons. Please continue to battle this TASB-designed takeover which is another way to force Common-Core compliant curriculum along with the social, emotional, psychological emphasis vs. fact-based emphasis on our Texas school children. The Texas High Performance Consortium was a tool to inundate our schools with digitized curriculum and data tracking. Now we see the next step in the process (Districts of Innovation) to destroy traditional education to take it over the slippery cliff.


Let me also suggest a few concerns over allowing each school district to adopt its own school year start date. Such a statewide plan would destroy the summer camping programs in which so many urban children, disabled children, church groups, athletes, and others experience opportunities that can change their lives.


The Texas economy would be harmed because of shortening the summer traveling season. Many schools would decide to start way early (or even have year-round schools) so as to have lengthy breaks throughout the school year; but the problem with that is that these breaks would occur during the bad weather months when the resort industry is in its down time with staffing.


The UIL organizes all K-12 athletic and academic programs in Texas and tries to set its activities so that they do not conflict with state-mandated testing dates and national holidays.  The UIL organizes both athletic and academic tournaments/play-offs from the local level to the state championships. With no standard calendar used across the state, local school calendars would find conflicts which would cause dysfunction for their students.


Activities that build close family relationships (e.g., family reunions, camping trips, cruises, etc.) would be hampered because every school district calendar across the state would be different with different breaks and starting dates.


Just as with so many other things in education, “Be careful for what you wish.”



Donna Garner








I sent this to the board this morning after learning we are considering becoming a District of Innovation. There is an extensive process that will involve community input. Please pay attention to these hearings:


Last night I learned that RISD [Richardson ISD] is considering becoming a District of Innovation. I warned one of our trustees a few weeks ago to be looking out for DOI. Sure enough, it was on the agenda.

ATPE’s Monty Exter offers perspective on “Innovation Districts” in this 2 minute clip:

My questions:
1. Which portion(s) of the education code does RISD intend to exempt themselves from?

2. Why is that necessary and why is it a good idea for RISD?

3. When do you propose we start school if we become a DOI?

4. How do we compare to the districts mentioned by Mrs. Branum? Spring Branch ISD, Lewisville ISD, Mansfield ISD all have adopted DOI

5. How will DOI affect due process and T-TESS teacher evaluations?

6. Do you intend for us to allow charter schools in RISD?

7. Do you realize you are setting us up for eliminating a locally elected school board? DOI puts the power in the hands of the state. That is the opposite of local control.

HB 1842 —

Listen to this or at least at 26:00 for what to look for on agenda pushed by TASB:

“It basically provides traditional school districts the same flexibility available to open-enrollment CHARTER schools.”


DOI being pushed by TASB. The 23 schools that were part of the Texas High Performance Consortium were the guinea pigs for the DOI. Parents just didn’t know and had no voice.

Meanwhile, campuses are collecting data, including academic, social and emotional and attendance, on every student to establish a meaningful profile and figure out areas of strength and need in order to deliver personalized learning, a key component of the strategic plan. http://m.chron.com/neighborhood/memorial/news/article/SBISD-is-named-District-of-Innovation-7970319.php

The Anthony Independent School District is pursuing “District of Innovation” status, a classification created by Texas legislators last year to give traditional public school districts some of the freedoms CHARTER schools have.

John Shergold, a Brownsville attorney who often represents BISD employees in grievances and other matters, said the issue of real importance in the District of Innovation proposal is the potential for districts to opt out of the requirement for due process hearings in non-renewal and termination proceedings.

“If a board votes to opt out, it would fly in the face of the Texas Constitution and 70 years of established school law,” he said.


I have serious concerns about this designation. Please do your research and reject this experimental plan for RISD. Thank you for your time and consideration. Happy Summer!







Heads up Argyle ISD parents and tax payers. On the July 18th School Board meeting agenda “Districts of Innovation” is back. I want to strongly encourage people to be at this meeting on the 18th, whether you speak or not. Just having your presence there makes a difference.

One of the key issues facing our children is the collection of their private data. Districts of Innovation helps to facilitate that collection in a much greater capacity.

Here are a few other key points you may want to cover if any of you decide, as individuals, to speak on the 18th.

1. The rules and regulations governing Districts of Innovation have not been set in place. In addition, the Commissioner of Education has the ability to change those rules and regulations by following a process that many do not pay attention to, even after the rules are set in place.

2. After a district develops a DOI plan, with the intention of just taking a few of the options, like an earlier start date, if that Superintendent is replaced, another Superintendent or school board could lead us down a path of much more dangerous TEC opt outs.

3. “Although there are limitations on which laws the district can be exempt from, it could request to be exempt from virtually all teacher rights and benefits, including the state minimum salary schedule, contracts, due process, planning periods, as well as class size caps, the right to remove a disruptive student, anti-bullying laws and other teacher, student and parent protections.” – TCTA

4. The commissioner can terminate the plan for poor academic or financial performance and put the district under closer surveillance by the TEA.

5. Why does a Argyle ISD need a DOI? Are we not already a top notch district?

6. DOI clearly is a push for Competency Based Education (CBE) and Personalized Learning where our children’s private psychological data is a HUGE commodity for 3rd party vendors. In addition to the state and federal government’s public private partnerships who are working to “disrupt” traditional public schools with locally elected school boards. Their goal is to privatize education once and for all.

“There is a new state education policy concept termed either innovation zones or districts of innovation. State education agencies interested in shifting their role from enforcing compliance to one of supporting innovation and building capacity in districts are working to spur new innovative instructional models and create space for competency-based pathways in student-centered learning models. States set up an innovation zone by passing enabling legislation to set up a program and/or offering certain waivers or exemptions from administrative regulations and statutory provisions.”


End of year tests are being replaced with all-the-time data collection via online curriculum and assessments. CBE=Competency Based Education. It’s not just grades they are collecting- it is EVERYTHING a child does…. From focus, attention, grit, likes and dislikes, embedded surveys, reading speed, personality, behavior, facial expressions… All can be analyzed and profiled. It was never about test scores and grades it was about a PREDICTIVE PROFILE of human capital (aka children).

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.