Sep 24, 2014 by


[9.24.14 – FROM DONNA GARNER — I am appalled that Texas Commissioner of Education Michael Williams would be naïve enough to think that we in Texas can take federal funds from the U. S. Dept. of Ed. and the U. S. Dept. of Health and Human Services without having strings attached.  When are we going to learn? 


Frankly, Comm. Williams’ statements (below) sound very similar to the ones used to convince people that the Stimulus Package and Race to the Top would be great for states when in actuality, they have been used as the “carrot and stick” for Fed/Led/Ed to gain control of the public schools.  Think “Common Core Standards.”  Think “the College Board’s AP U. S. History Framework.”


Why would Comm. Williams believe that the Preschool Development Grants Program (PDGP) would be any different?  The Obama administration cannot be trusted because they have one agenda and one agenda only:  To indoctrinate this and succeeding generations into its social justice agenda; to grow the federal government by taking away states’ rights. 


Question:  What federal agency and/or federal grant under the Obama administration has proved itself to be a smashing success?  Not any of these:  Race to the Top, Common Core, NSA, IRS, Dept. of Homeland Security, INS, Dept. of Energy, Veterans’ Affairs, Healthcare.gov, Dept. of Defense, Headstart, Early Head Start, White House Security Detail, and on and on. 


Why shackle Texas to the Fed/Led/Ed “carrot and stick” when we need to control what is taught in our pre-school programs? 


We have the expertise right here in Texas to figure out what is best for our Texas children to learn.  If we teach our little ones to “play” with the English language and to practice distinguishing the various phonemes of the English language, we will put them on the road to becoming successful readers. What greater gift could we give them than this?  The good news is that teaching these skills to Pre-K can be done with common, everyday household items and does not require expensive curriculum and equipment.


Knowing what we know about the Common Core (K-12) and the fact that no early childhood experts were even included in the final version of that document, why would we presume the Pre-K guidelines coming out of the Obama administration would be any better? 


In fact, this is the way the Fed/Led/Ed “game” is played.  The USDOE/USDHHS creates an application for a grant with their agenda embedded in the fine print, and then states that apply and receive the grants are forced to align their programs with the applications.  Who is in control of our schools when that happens…the federal government is.  


The PDGP application from the Texas Education Agency is not due until October 14, 2014.  We have time.  I urge the public to contact the Texas Education Agency and to urge Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams to stop the PDGP application process right now. 


Texas refrained from participating in the Race to the Top; and as time has gone by, many states have wished they had followed Texas’ example.  Texas must not make the mistake of  putting our precious little children into the hands of the Obama administration and its ideological agenda and intrusive data mining.  Contact information for the TEA:  http://www.tea.state.tx.us/contacttea.aspx



9.23.14 – Breitbart Texas


“Texas Education Commissioner Promises No Obama Pre-K”

By Merrill Hope




DALLAS, Texas — On the morning of September 19, Education Commissioner Michael Williams addressed the full State Board of Education (SBOE) about his intention to submit an application for a federally funded universal preschool grant that is part of President Obama’s Pre-K for All program, which Breitbart Texasreported.


Williams decision to pursue this grant with its potential pot of $30 million a year for four years is part of this new Fed Led Ed preschool competition. The Commissioner commented that his decision had raised concerns for some Texans about student privacy issues, data-collection and the Common Core.


Williams, in fact, got a little tongue tied when he quipped about the federal grant, saying that it won’t introduce Common Core into the state. Emphatically, he also told the Board that this wasn’t standardized or part of any high-stakes assessments and he promised that if the criteria established in the process didn’t fall in line with Texas values, he would not pursue the expansion grant.


Accordingly, Texas Education Agency (TEA), spokeswoman DeEtta Culbertson toldBreitbart Texas that the specifics of the grant are “being developed right now.”


Williams added, “We will develop a proposal that is consistent with Texas values and interests, and does not cede any state or local control on this front.”


In tandem with his SBOE address, the TEA issued a statement from the Commissionerthat read, “Over the course of the next several weeks, agency staff will be working to design a proposal that clearly defines how our state would utilize those federal dollars. First and foremost, that proposal will reflect what is best for Texas.”


Another section of the statement echoed additional comments Williams made at the SBOE meeting. It read, “It is important to note that if in the course of developing the particulars of our proposal we find the grant requirements are such that we cannot meet them in a way that is consistent with our interests, we will ultimately not apply. We have an opportunity, if done well, to do something of great value for Texas families and children and, perhaps, lead the nation on this issue. Leading without compromising our values is something we do as Texans.”


Concerns over the grant stemmed from the fact that this is a preschool grant program jointly administered by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It’s part of the new Preschool Development Grants Program. Competitive grants are housed under the Office of Early Learning (OEL).


According to the TEA, these grant programs award federal funds to “help states build, develop and expand voluntary, high-quality preschool programs for low- and moderate-income families,” according to the TEA press release.


Besides the expansion grant, other Big Education big bucks contests are for “development” grants to create pre-k programs or enhance them in weakly state-funded programs and for Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC), the latter which is the early education version of Race to the Top (RTTT).


RTTT is the original Obama administration competitive grant program that was in the 2009 stimulus packageData collection, tracking and mining of K-12 students and a beeline to the Common Core State Standards have been disconcerting realities of RTTT.


The Expansion Grants Executive Summary outlines that the type of grant Williams is applying for is for states that have “more robust State-funded preschool programs or that have been awarded a Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge grant.” The Commissioner is not applying for RTT-ELC.


The summary also describes the program as being for “high-quality preschool programs to be located in regionally diverse communities or consortia of communities in cities, towns, counties, neighborhood, districts, rural areas, or tribal lands, with a high level of need or distress as determined by the State.”


As previously reported, all of these new competitive grants are based on Early Head Start, the preschool version of Head Start. Studies have shown disappointing early educational benefits for youngsters who have partaken in this $8 billion a year federally funded comprehensive daycare for low income children and their families.


The application deadline for expansion grant is October 14, 2014. Contest winners will be announced by the federal government in December. Awarded dollars begin serving students on or before December 31, 2015.


Donna Garner


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