How Did the Wrong Curriculum Come Pouring Into Texas?

Jul 13, 2016 by

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“How Did the Wrong Curriculum Come Pouring Into Texas?”

By Donna Garner

7.13.16  

 

 

(First, please read the short e-mail from a Texas classroom teacher posted at the bottom of this page.)

 

DONNA GARNER’S RESPONSE:  It is largely the fault of SB 6 that was passed by the Texas Legislature on 6.27.11.  SB 6 opened the door for local administrators to purchase instructional materials with taxpayers’ dollars — instructional materials (IM’s) that have not been approved through the public adoption process with no chance for the public to read the IM’s and testify about the mistakes and concerns found in them.

 

SB 6 is what opened the door for Guided Reading (mentioned by the Texas teacher in the article posted at the bottom of this page), CSCOPE, and Common Core-compliant IM’s to be brought into every public school district in Texas even though the materials are not aligned with the present ELAR/TEKS and with the state-mandated STAAR/End-of-Course tests.

 

Guided Reading by Fontas and Pinnell is a curriculum that relies upon whole language, predictable text, and guessing rather than teaching children to sound out words to automaticity so that their brains are free to concentrate on comprehension.   

 

Under SB 6, administrators are free to purchase curriculum systems, technology, layers of techie support, teacher training, etc.  SB 6 contains no penalty that requires that these IM’s are aligned with the Texas State Board of Education-adopted TEKS (curriculum standards).  

 

TASA (Texas Association of School Administrators), TASB (Texas Association of School Boards), and certain members of the Texas Legislature colluded together to put SB 6 in place; and this piece of legislation has carried out the federally initiated 21st century/transformational/visioning mission which has put data tracking of students, teachers, and parents into place in Texas.  

 

SB 6 also is making the way clear for the federal implementation of social, emotional, psychological profiling of students by teachers who are not credentialed psychologists and/or psychiatrists.  

 

The Texas State Board of Education has no control over the way SB 6 taxpayers’ dollars are spent; and even though SB 6 says the IM’s should get students ready for the STAAR/End-of-Course tests (which are aligned with the present TEKS), no school administrator has even been penalized for using taxpayers’ dollars to purchase IM’s that are tied to Common Core, whole language, reform math, and all the rest of the Type #2 subjective, “feel-good,” social justice philosophy of education.

 

ACTION PLAN

 

First, the SBOE needs to make sure that the TEKS in English / Language Arts / Reading (ELAR), Science, Social Studies, and Math follow the Type #1 parameters (traditional, fact-based, academic, grade-level explicit, clearly stated, grow in depth and complexity from one grade level to the next, and measurable largely by questions with right or wrong answers).

 

Second, the Texas Legislature should reword SB 6 so that stiff penalties are put in place to keep local administrators from spending taxpayers’ dollars “willy nilly” on IM’s that do not follow the Type #1 TEKS and that do not get students ready for the Type #1 STAAR/EOC’s.  

 

Texas public school students need to be protected from the Type #2 constructivist, project-based, group-think, social justice agenda found in so many of the IM’s that are presently saturating Texas’ classrooms. 

 

Texas students need to be taught Type #1 IM’s that emphasize phonemic awareness, phonics, grammar/usage, printing, cursive, spelling, expository/persuasive writing, research skills, classic literature, the time-tested ways to do math, the various sides of scientific theories, and historically significant heroes/heroines who have made America great.

 

Taxpayers should put pressure on the Texas Legislature to clean up SB 6 by adopting changes that would force administrators to use our hard-earned dollars to purchase Type #1 IM’s – those that would produce graduates who are well-educated and are strong patriotic citizens. 

 

Taxpayers should also require their Texas Legislators to pass legislation that would mandate school board members and administrators to use their own money to join TASA/TASB and to pay their own way to conventions. Texas teachers have to pay their own dues and convention expenses if they want to participate in professional organizations. Why should school board members and administrators be treated any differently?  

 

TASA and TASB use the taxpayers’ dollars paid to them by school board members and administrators to turn right around and hire lobbyists to pressure legislators to raise school taxes.  This means that we taxpayers are paying to lobby ourselves!  

 

Before the Texas Legislature meets next spring, we Texans need to make our voices heard. The time is now!

 

 

SB 6 – 6.27.11 – http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=821&Bill=SB6

 

Record vote:  http://www.journals.house.state.tx.us/hjrnl/821/pdf/82C1DAY15FINAL.PDF#page=16

 

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7.12.16

 

Sent to me by a classroom teacher friend whose name I shall keep confidential:

 

 

Donna,

 

I just talked with a kindergarten teacher from XXXX, TX. 

 

I am tutoring a second grade boy of a friend of hers. She came to pick him up today for his dad. The boy goes to a school here in XXXX. He could read NOTHING when he could not pass my 1st grade IRI at the time he came to me for tutoring. He could read all but 2 of the Dolch Sight Words List but missed 28 simple phonics words on my dyslexia test. He is an obvious vicim of Guided Reading. He is making fabulous progress with me.

 

I struck up a conversation with the kindergarten teacher from XXXX. I mentioned that his teacher had taught the bright boy next to nothing in his Guided Reading classroom. Then she told me something that blew my mind. She said that last year they were told to switch from Saxon Phonics, which they had used very successfully, to the Pinnell and Fountas Guided Reading program.  Why on earth would any district with an ounce of common sense switch from Saxon to Guided Reading

 

Forgive me, but what on earth is wrong with administrators who would switch from an excellent beginning reading program [Saxon] to the absolutely worst reading program [Guided Reading] ever devised by the mind of man?

 

I believe, Donna, there is a Big Conspiracy afoot. Guided Reading is not only a colossal failure; but it is an incredibly expensive failure, sapping schools of funds that could be spent better elsewhere. It, also, fills the remedial reading classes with students who otherwise would not be there – an added enormous expense.

 

Somebody is using our administrators to subvert good education in our schools. I wish I knew who it was. 

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