NPR: Texas’ Battle Over Its Classrooms

Nov 13, 2013 by

art deco radioDonna Garner

11.12.13

 

Upcoming battle: On Oct. 13 and 15, 2013, National Public Radio (NPR) presented a 59-minute program on “The Long Game: Texas’ Ongoing Battle for the Direction of the Classroom.”  This NPR program is particularly timely because the Texas State Board of Education is to meet on Nov. 19 – 22, 2013, to debate instructional materials (e.g., textbooks) for Math K-8, Science K-12, and Technology Applications K-12.

 

Trey Kay, as the reporter for this NPR program, did a mostly fair and equitable job of interviewing people and presenting factual information on CSCOPE with statements and historical data from:

 

Janice VanCleave and Ginger Russell;

 

Sen. Dan Patrick as chair of the Texas Public Education Committee hearing on CSCOPE;

 

The background behind Texas’ textbook adoption process that impacts schools all across America;

 

The saga of Mel and Norma Gabler who became known as the best textbook evaluators in the whole United States;

 

The establishment of Educational Research Analysts and the meritorious work of Neal Frey;

 

An interview with Don McLeroy who served as the chair of the SBOE during the time that the Science curriculum standards were adopted in March 2009;

 

And the debate over the strengths and weaknesses of scientific theories including evolution. 

 


Before listening to this fascinating NPR program (link posted further on down the page), please note some of the pieces of information that Trey Kay left out perhaps because of lack of time.

 

WHO IS KATHY MILLER?

Kathy Miller is the president of Texas Freedom Network. Cecile Richards founded Texas Freedom Network in 1995.  She is the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. When Cecile left for Washington, D. C., Samantha Smoot took Cecile’s place. When Samantha left for Washington, D. C. in 2005, she went to work for the Human Rights Campaign, the largest homosexual organization in the country. 

Dan Quinn is the TFN Communications Director who “outed” himself publicly in 6.3.01.

 

TFN supports the following organizations:  Planned Parenthood; the Human Rights Campaign (largest homosexual organization in the U. S.); the ACLU Texas; Alliance for Clean Texas; People for the American Way; Center for Public Policy Priorities; Equality Texas; NARAL Pro-Choice; Sierra Club; Freedom From Religion Foundation; Stand Down Texas; Texas Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates (TAPPA); Texas Impact; The Texas Observer; MECha (who wants to eliminate the border with Mexico entirely and honor Mexican revolutionary war hero Ernesto Zapata and Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara); the Center for Inquiry (CFI) who fought to make the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional.

WHO IS THOMAS RATLIFF?

Thomas Ratliff is on the Texas State Board of Education illegally because he has been a registered lobbyist for Bill Gates and Microsoft since at least 1998.  Microsoft does millions of dollars worth of business with the Texas Education Agency and the Texas State Board of Education. Ratliff has a direct conflict of interest.  

 

 

In 2011, Ratliff’s fees from Microsoft jumped considerably when he lobbied the Texas Legislature to pass SB 6.  Ratliff knew that if Microsoft were to receive big contracts, then he would be the recipient of their largesse because under SB 6, local school administrators could purchase online instructional materials (e.g., CSCOPE) using  taxpayers’ dollars without CSCOPE’s having to go through the public scrutiny of the SBOE. 

 

 

Thomas Ratliff also knew that Microsoft would make millions from CSCOPE because school districts would spend the taxpayers’ dollars under SB 6 to purchase Microsoft systems as the technology platform for CSCOPE.   

 

 

 

To read more about the laws of impeachment in Texas, the ruling from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on Ratliff’s eligibility, and the petition begun on 8.12.13 to impeach Ratliff, please go to the following article: http://educationviews.org/impeach-thomas-ratliff-sboe-member-sign-petition/

 

 

HOW DID WEST OSO ISD DO ON THE 2013 ACCOUNTABILITY RATINGS?

 

A school board member and several administrators in West Oso ISD were interviewed by Trey Kay because this district has used CSCOPE  for five or six years. The various school leaders who were interviewed said that the students in their district had made great academic strides under CSCOPE and that the district is going to continue to use it.  Unfortunately, the 2013 Accountability Ratings published by the Texas Education Agency tell quite a different tale about West Oso ISD.

 

None of the West Oso ISD elementary and junior high schools received a Distinction award for either English / Language Arts / Reading or for Math.  If CSCOPE is doing such a terrific job of teaching children the foundational skills that will prepare them for future success, then why are the West Oso ISD elementary and junior high schools not showing outstanding success?

 

 

NAME OF CSCOPE DISTRICTS AND CAMPUSES DISTINCTION IN READING/ELA DISTINCTION IN MATH TOP 25%
       
West Oso High School NO NO YES
West Oso Jr. High NO NO NO
West Oso Elementary NO NO NO

 

HOW TO VIEW AND UNDERSTAND THE 2013 ACCOUNTABILITY RATINGS

 

To see the various links on the TEA website to the 2013 Accountability Ratings, here is the link: http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/perfreport/account/2013/index.html

 

The TEA used a massive spreadsheet to divide up every campus in Texas into groups of 40 so that comparisons can be made among campuses that have like-characteristics (e.g., enrollment, demographics, etc.).  To see the names of the Campus Comparison Groups, please go to this link and type in your search information: http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/perfreport/account/2013/group.srch.html

 

To see a composite screen of all of the campuses/districts in Texas along with their ratings, please go to this link:  http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/perfreport/account/2013/statelist.pdf

 

EXPLANATION OF DISTINCTIONS COLUMNS

 

I believe the three Distinctions columns are far more indicative of superior performance because they are based upon objective data that rates academic achievement (the primary goal of the public schools.)  The campuses/districts are only compared with their same like-characteristic group of 40.

 

The first column under Distinctions means outstanding academic achievement in English/Language Arts/Reading. 

 

The second column means outstanding academic achievement in Math. 

 

The third column means the campus/district was in the Top 25% of schools among the 40 like-comparison group of campuses.

 

 

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LINK TO 59-MINUTE AUDIO OF “THE LONG GAME: A DOCUMENTARY ON TEXAS PUBLIC SCHOOL CURRICULUM” http://kut.org/post/listen-long-game-takes-depth-look-texas-textbook-battle

 

*Please be patient while the music segments play.

 

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NPR article on the content and background of “The Long Game: A Documentary on Texas Public School Curriculum” — http://kut.org/post/long-game-documentary-texas-public-school-curriculum-air-kut

 

 

Donna Garner

Wgarner1@hot.rr.com

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