Aug 27, 2014 by

“A Word to Naysayers About Texas Students”

By Donna Garner


Under grilling yesterday by Texas Senate Education members, Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams had to be much too nice.  Williams stated, “…Texas students are not ready to be graded by higher standards because the instruction they are receiving in core subjects is not up to the rigorous level of questioning on the STAAR. Our instruction has not yet risen to the level it needs to be…We haven’t jumped high enough in the classroom.”


In Comm. Williams’ position, he could not afford to tell it as it really is; but I do not have the same political strictures. I will tell the naysayers why the STAAR test scores have not risen as they should.


The problem is not with the STAAR/End-of-Course tests nor is it with the TEKS curriculum standards adopted by the Texas State Board of Education. 


Where were these naysayers when the Texas State Board of Education members in 2006 to 2012 were battling the leftist media and leftist state/national organizations?  The majority of our SBOE members wanted Type #1 curriculum standards (TEKS) and refused to cave into the demands from the leftists who wanted Type #2 curriculum standards.


Without much helpfrom those naysayers who are complaining the loudest now, the SBOE members managed to write and adopt the best Type #1 curriculum standards in the entire U. S.


LINK TO Type #1 vs. Type #2 CHART:  http://www.educationviews.org/comparison-types-education-type-1-traditional-vs-type-2-cscope-common-core/


Then based upon the mandate from the Texas Education Code, the SBOE members and Robert Scott (the Texas Commissioner of Education at the time) made sure that Pearson Publishing Company had to follow the Texas Education Code.  Pearson was forced to produce STAAR/EOC’s that are closely aligned with the Type #1 TEKS. 


After that, the SBOE developed and passed solid 4 x 4 graduation requirements that would have made sure all students who walk the stage at graduation come out of high school with a strong foundational program, helping them to become good college/university students and/or workplace employees…and as importantly – educated voting citizens.


The problem is not the Type #1 TEKS.  The problem is not the Type #1 STAAR/EOC’s. The problem was not the 4 x 4 graduation plan that required all graduates to take 4 years of English, Math, Social Studies, and Science but with many hours of electives from which students could choose to explore their interests.


The problem is that while the SBOE members were working so hard to implement solid education reform, the ed establishment through the Education Service Centers came slithering in with Type #2 CSCOPE which follows the same discredited Type #2 philosophy as does Common Core.


Before long, Texas teachers in 875 school districts were being forced to teach Type #2 CSCOPE rather than to follow the newly passed Type #1 TEKS. 


The STAAR/EOC’s were delayed for several years to develop them, pilot them, and give teachers time to learn how to teach the new TEKS.  Instead, the teachers continued with Type #2 CSCOPE. 


Then when the first round of STAAR/EOC’s was implemented and educators saw how unprepared they and their students were for them, they started howling to their Texas Legislators.


TAMSA, Raise Your Hand, TASA, and TASB all joined up together to pressure the Texas legislature to pass HB 5. Under HB 5 authentic education reform was demolished, and Texas students are now doomed to follow a dumbed down path. 


**Please read “For the Historical Record: Texas Will Rue This Day” – by Donna Garner —   http://educationviews.org/for-the-historical-record-texas-will-rue-this-day/



Yes, the end result is that the Texas workforce will be drastically hurt. Yes, we will continue to see many Texas students whose STAAR/EOC scores will be flat.  But the problem is not with the yearly goals (TEKS) nor with the tests that test those yearly goals (STAAR/EOC’s). 


We must remember the story of the “Emperor Who Wore No Clothes.” The problem is not with the test results.  The problem is that our Texas students have not been taught to master the Type #1 TEKS curriculum standards.


Again, I say, “Where were all the naysayers when we needed them to help pass the new Type #1 TEKS, develop and produce the new STAAR/EOC’s, set high-but-reasonable graduation standards, and hold students and their teachers accountable at each grade

level?”  Unfortunately, they were nowhere to be found… 


Now that the results of their decisions to water down education in Texas are being felt among our school students, it is rather egregious for the naysayers to point their fingers of condemnation at the very people who tried to uphold high education standards.


Donna Garner


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