Jan 9, 2014 by

Thomas-Ratliff-TT“Shame on Pat Hardy: Supports Thomas Ratliff”

by Donna Garner



First, please listen as present Texas State Board of Education member Pat Hardy states publicly how supportive she is of Thomas Ratliff (who is nothing short of being a “charlatan” on the Board): 


1.7.14 — Ft. Worth Texas State Board of Education Candidate Forum – Eric Mahroum vs. Incumbent Pat Hardy —




Thomas Ratliff has been a registered lobbyist for Microsoft for at least 12 years.  He is on the Texas State Board of Education illegally  —  8.12.11 – ruling from Texas Attorney General:




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.



If, as stated by Pat Hardy, the Texas Attorney General believes Ratliff should not be removed from the SBOE, then why in the TAG’s ruling did he add the “cure” statement at the end of the ruling?  “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.”  — 8.12.11  — Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Notification of Opinion:



This statement from the TAG means that there is nothing Ratliff can do to “cure” his conflict of interest situation — recusals won’t work.  Ratliff should never have been allowed to run for the SBOE in the first place because of his registered lobbyist, conflict-of-interest ties to Microsoft!  After all, almost every public school district in Texas has built its technology infrastructure on Microsoft systems; and it was Thomas Ratliff who lobbied heavily for SB 6 which opened the door for the flood of digitized products (e.g., CSCOPE, Common Core, etc.).  All of these have added millions to Microsoft’s coffers and to Thomas Ratliff’s pockets.


The only reason the TAG has not removed Ratliff from the SBOE is that the TAG does not have that authority since it is the Texas House that must start impeachment proceedings:   Texas Government Code, Section 665.001, Impeachment Proceeding, and Section 665.004 —


To influence House members to begin impeachment proceedings against Thomas Ratliff, thousands of Texans need to sign this petition:




The fact is that whatever “blesses” Microsoft, “blesses” Thomas Ratliff.  It is fallacious for any thinking person to assume that just because Ratliff says he is in a different sales department now at Microsoft (medical) that he is not still out there doing everything he can to promote Microsoft education products in our state and across the nation. 


In fact, it is common for lobbyists/vendors in the same company to network together privately to help their fellow lobbyists/vendors in other departments to sell the company’s products.  Undoubtedly, Thomas Ratliff associates with Microsoft education lobbyists/vendors constantly, attends meetings with them, goes to conventions, entertains them in his various lobbyist activities, etc.  They all know that he is on the Texas State Board of Education.  When they see one another and are working for the same company (Microsoft), they undoubtedly give each other insider information.  This is why Texas has laws against such conflicts of interest among elected officials.  


From Thomas Ratliff’s first day on the SBOE, he has managed to worm his way onto the Committee that is over the Permanent School Fund.  Ratliff almost never recuses himself from the votes on Permanent School Fund issues which definitely involve Microsoft products and investments.  How do we know that Ratliff is not sharing insider information about the PSF with other Microsoft vendors/lobbyists, giving them special investment advantages?  




Pat Hardy’s close relationship to Thomas Ratliff should cause voters in her district to think twice about re-electing her again to the SBOE.  In fact, even though Pat tries to take credit for the adoption of the new curriculum standards for Texas (TEKS) from 2008 – 2012, she was a detriment to the conservatives in many instances when they fought so hard to move Texas public schools away from the “old” Type #2 TEKS (adopted in 1997) and into the new Type #1 TEKS which are the most knowledge-based, academic, grade-level-specific, and measurable  in the entire United States. 


In fact, when Pat Hardy was presented with an English/Language Arts/Reading standards document that was totally Type #1, she voted against it. 




Another statement that Pat Hardy made that is in error is when she tried to take credit for Texas’s taking a stand against the Common Core Standards.  In actuality, it was Texas Commissioner Robert Scott and Gov. Rick Perry who announced on Jan. 12,  2010, that Texas would not participate in the Obama administration’s Common Core Standards/Race to the Top: 


It was not until three days later (Jan. 15, 2010) that the SBOE passed its resolution against Common Core Standards/Race to the Top:


Then on 6.22.11, Texas Comm. Robert Scott demonstrated even more courage by pulling Texas out of the Council of Chief School Officers organization because they were pushing the Common Core Standards into America’s schools. 




Another alarming comment made by Pat Hardy is that CSCOPE and Common Core are not built on the same philosophy. Bill Ames, who served on the TEKS Social Studies writing team, recently stated in his 12.5.13 article that CSCOPE and Common Core are cut out of the same cloth:  “Likewise for CSCOPE, a thinly disguised Common Core methodology being used across Texas, despite the fact the Texas Legislature has banned Common Core in Texas.”




Pat Hardy has had her good moments and at times has been a supporter of traditional Social Studies curriculum.  She did work with the other SBOE conservatives to pass strong Type #1 Social Studies TEKS. 


However, if Pat Hardy were really a true conservative patriot, she would have supported Ken Mercer on 1.30.13 to be the Vice-Chair of the SBOE’s Executive Committee. Instead she voted for Thomas Ratliff which ended up giving the left-leaners on that committee of three the majority with Barbara Cargill as the lone conservative. 


Nobody fought harder for the adoption of our Type #1 Social Studies TEKS than did Ken Mercer.  Pat Hardy should have honored Ken for his patriotic leadership which helped to drive our Texas Social Studies TEKS to support American exceptionalism.  Instead Hardy supported Thomas Ratliff, and she has continued to collude with him to try to pass amendments and new Board rules that weaken the conservative influence on the SBOE. 




Even now Hardy, Ratliff, and other SBOE left-leaners are working together to control the appointments of citizens to the textbook evaluation committees with the end game to block strong conservatives from being chosen. 


As Texas Rep. James White (HD 19) rightfully stated today:


At your next board meeting, you will consider language that will provide the discretion ‘for any member of the SBOE to veto the placement of a review panel member from his or her district upon the written objection of said SBOE member.’ We should maximize public involvement in order to ensure that our panels reflect the rich diversity of our state, include the requisite placement of educators, subject-matter-experts, and representatives from industry, and enhance public involvement and transparency.


Your current rules already account for advice and consent by providing a preference for nominations by members of the SBOE. These citizens are volunteers, and I think it is disrespectful to allow for an objection to their nomination to a review panel merely due to which SBOE member offered the nomination. Respectfully, I am asking you to consider not adopting this language and value the commitment of all of our citizens to public education.



Please see 1.7.14  — “Action Steps: Texas State Bd. of Ed. Members Need To Hear From You” – by Donna Garner —



To read more about Thomas Ratliff and his bad influence on the SBOE, please go to:  11.20.13 — “Irony of Ironies: Thomas Ratliff Accusing Others of Being Unethical”

by Donna Garner —



Here is the link to the 11.14.13 Texas Ethics Commission’s rejection of Thomas Ratliff’s bogus ethics complaint against Alice Linahan:




8.19.13 — “Thomas Ratliff – Big Bucks from Microsoft – Lobbied for SB 6 and CSCOPE”

by Donna Garner —



Donna Garner

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