by Donna Garner
Where should concerned parents and the public start when it comes to understanding the educational jargon used by the schools? Having taught for more than 33 years, I know the confusion that abounds as people attempt to enter the world of education acronyms!
I receive frequent queries from people who make this type of statement: “Donna, I am so worried about my child. I know he is not learning what he should, but I do not know what to do. I feel inadequate to talk about Common Core/CSCOPE to the teacher and/or administrators, yet I believe I should be fighting to protect my child.”
EDUCATION 101: LESSON #1
First, we have to understand the two education philosophies – Type #1 vs. Type #2:
EDUCATION 101: LESSON #2
Second, we need to understand the realities of those who are involved in the education world that surrounds Common Core/CSCOPE. I call it “the RED, YELLOW, and GREEN” people.
The “RED” people working in the background are using the “YELLOW” and the “GREEN” people as pawns to make sure that America is dumbed down so that future voters and the destiny of our country are completely changed from the Great American Way.
The “RED” people know exactly what they are doing. They have long-term goals to change America, and they realize that the best way to do this is to indoctrinate this and succeeding generations of school children into the Common Core philosophy.
Into the “RED” group fall the proponents of the Common Core Standards/CSCOPE, Obama, Arne Duncan, Bill Gates, Linda Darling-Hammond, Bill Ayers, liberal-left politicians, the drive-by media, national education organizations, and many other left-leaners.
The “YELLOW” people are those who are driven by greed, money, power, and fame. Many of these people are vendors, lobbyists, or school employees who overlook the egregious content of their products so long as they themselves are benefitting. Into this group fall Bill Gates, Pearson, U. S. Dept. of Education employees, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Common Core/CSCOPE/Education Service Centers/TEKS Resource System employees, Thomas Ratliff (Texas State Board of Education member), TASA, TASB, the Ratliff and Moses clans, Achieve, Inc., Fordham Institute, etc.
The “GREEN” people (many of whom are educators) are those who go-along to get-along; they follow the status quo and are content to go along with whatever teaching fad is in vogue at the present time. These people are not bad people but are easily deceived by those who have ulterior motives (i.e., the “RED” and “YELLOW” people).
Politicians can come in all different colors – RED, YELLOW, or GREEN.
Those politicians whose aim is to change America from a capitalistic, free-market Republic into a Socialist, Communist, Marxist country are “RED” people.
Those politicians who seek fame, fortune, and/or control for themselves are “YELLOW” people.
Those politicians who choose to be blind followers are “GREEN” people.
EDUCATION 101: LESSON #3 FOR TEXANS -- TEKS
We here in Texas should be very pleased with our Type #1 TEKS (Texas’ curriculum standards). We realize the new TEKS (adopted since 2008) in ELAR, Science, Social Studies, and Math are not perfect; but at least a high percentage of the elements are intentionally explicit, knowledge-based, academic, clearly worded, grade-level specific, and measurable. That is more than can be said of the Common Core Standards and of the other states’ standards that are built upon Type #2.
Because our Texas law requires the state-mandated tests to follow the TEKS, then our STAAR/End-of-Course Tests (EOC’s) are largely Type #1 tests. Type #1 State Board of Education members have taken the STAAR/EOC’s and have affirmed they are aligned with the Type #1 TEKS.
Pearson, who normally is totally in league with Type #2, has the Texas contract for the STAAR/EOC’s; but Pearson has been monitored very closely by the past Texas Commissioner of Education (Robert Scott), the present Texas Commissioner of Education (Michael Williams), and by Type #1 SBOE members to make sure the Pearson test bank is aligned with the Type #1 TEKS.
We have been told that even though Pearson had to create a different test bank for Texas from that of the Type #2 test bank used in other states, the Pearson staffers actually found it was much easier to create good test questions for the STAAR/EOC’s because of the explicit/grade-level-specific/measurable Type #1 wording in the new TEKS.
EDUCATION 101: LESSON #3 FOR TEXANS – STAAR/EOC TESTS
The STAAR/EOC’s are not perfect, but they are built upon the best Type #1 curriculum standards in the entire U. S.
We are telling parents IN TEXAS NOT TO OPT THEIR CHILDREN OUT OF THE STAAR-EOC’S because it is those Type #1 tests that are the only way we have to force Texas educators (many of whom are “GREEN” people) to follow the Type #1 TEKS.
How will parents know whether their child’s teacher has actually taught the new Type #1 TEKS and taught them well if there is no objective measurement (e.g., STAAR/EOC’s) at each grade level/course except for the teacher’s own grading system?
What if a huge number of Texans opt out their children from the STAAR/EOC’s, and the state testing data from the Texas Education Agency is no longer valid?
What if the child’s teacher taught Type #2 curriculum materials instead (e.g., Guided Reading, CSCOPE, Safari Montage, TASA iCLOUD, Lead4Ward, Pat Jacoby’s AuthenticLearning.com, Expeditionary Learning, etc.), and the parents opted out their child from the STAAR/EOC tests? How will parents know before it is too late and their child has been indoctrinated and/or “dumbed down”?
What if parents find out too late that their Suzy Q. had teachers in several untested STAAR/EOC grade levels/courses who taught Type #2 lessons instead of the Type #1 TEKS? Example: Type #2 -- no systematic teaching of phonemic awareness/phonics, no systematic teaching of grammar/usage/correct spelling/cursive writing, no emphasis on learning the four math functions to automaticity –
Now Suzy Q. is in Grade XXX and is several grade levels behind in her pre-requisite skills because her Type #2 teachers have been passing her right along because of their subjective evaluations. Suzy Q.’s parents have opted to keep her out of STAAR/EOC testing, and they have not had an objective “measuring stick” to help them to know that Suzy Q. is academically being left behind. Now it is almost too late, and it will be close to impossible to go back and help Suzy Q. to learn the Type #1 skills that she should have been learning all along.
This same scenario could happen if the grade-level-specific STAAR/EOC’s are not required yearly and/or if parents opt out their children from taking them. The way to get teachers to teach the Type #1 academic knowledge and skills mandated by the Texas Education Code at each grade level/course is to hold them and their students publicly accountable on the STAAR/EOC’s. “What gets tested gets taught. What gets measured gets treasured.”
HB 5 passed by the last legislative session decimated the high-school STAAR/EOC tests (reducing the number of EOC’s from 15 to 5), but the Grades 3 – 8 STAAR tests are still in place. If we lose the leverage that those tests give the public, Texas teachers (many of whom are the “GREEN” people) will go right back to their Type #2 curriculum units that the old 1997 TEKS/TAKS utilized. Without the STAAR/EOC test results, parents will have no way to prove whether Suzy Q. was taught Type #1 or Type #2.
Sadly, Texas was right on the cusp of authentic education reform with all students K – 12 moving into the new TEKS/STAAR/EOC’s and the rigorous but doable 4 x 4 graduation plan when our legislature dominated by “YELLOW” people (and by powerful “RED” people) dumbed things down with HB 5. The vendors and lobbyists (“YELLOW” people) got their way which suited the “RED” people perfectly.
EDUCATION 101: LESSON #4 FOR COMMON CORE STATES
On the other hand, people WHOSE CHILDREN ARE IN THE COMMON CORE STATES SHOULD DEFINITELY OPT OUT THEIR CHILDREN FROM THE PARCC/SMARTER BALANCED ASSESSMENTS AND FROM THE ACCOMPANYING COMMON CORE NATIONAL AND PERSONALLY INTRUSIVE DATABASE. Those assessments are meant to indoctrinate children’s minds, and there are over 400 data points of personal information that are set to be collected by the national database if the Common Core roll-out is allowed to go forward.
EDUCATION 101: LESSON #5
Type #2 CSCOPE (the Texas version of Type #2 Common Core Standards) came slithering into Texas under the radar and captured 845 school districts during the time that the rest of us were fighting to get the Type #1 TEKS passed (2008 – 2012).
The reason CSCOPE successfully infused itself into so many Texas schools is because 20 of the 19 Education Service Center (ESC) directors formed a corporation (TESCCC) and then began selling CSCOPE and its curriculum management system through the ESC’s. These are mostly “YELLOW” people.
Administrators (mostly “GREEN” people) fell for the “YELLOW” people’s plan and took their local taxpayers’ dollars and poured them into CSCOPE.
SB 6 was passed in 2011 by the Texas Legislature, and SB 6 made it possible for locals to purchase instructional materials (IM’s – digitized curriculum, textbooks, etc.) such as CSCOPE by utilizing the Permanent School Funds.
SB 6 took away the authority over IM’s from the elected members of the SBOE. SB 6 basically set up a “work around” so that locals no longer have to purchase the IM’s that have gone through the SBOE public hearing process. The SBOE public hearing process catches factual errors that are documented, and publishers have to correct them or else pay a monetary penalty.
SB 6 provides for no such SBOE public process, and the IM’s that are sold to schools under SB 6 (e.g., CSCOPE) have not been through careful public scrutiny. In fact, CSCOPE materials could not be viewed by the public because teachers had to sign agreements saying that they would not show CSCOPE materials to Texas parents.
Once we were sufficiently able to publicize the Texas law (TEC Title 2, Subtitle E, Chap. 26, Sec. 26.006 --http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/ED/htm/ED.26.htm ) which requires parents to be able to see all curriculum their children are taught (even digitized materials), then the TESCCC shut itself down.
Many Texans thought the problem was resolved only to find out a few months later that the TESCCC had rebranded itself as the TEKS Resource System. The “YELLOW” people put CSCOPE lessons into the public domain, but districts who purchase the TEKS Resource System are basically using the Type #2 CSCOPE lessons and making sure teachers utilize them by forcing their students to take the assessments sold by the TEKS Resource System.
EDUCATION 101: CONCLUDING LESSON
The reason that Texas public school students are struggling on the STAAR/EOC tests is that they have not been taught the Type #1 TEKS at each grade level/course during the years leading up to the first administration of the STAAR/EOC tests. How do we force the “GREEN” people to start teaching the Type #1 TEKS? It is to use the “measuring stick” – the Type #1 STAAR/EOC tests – to pressure the “GREEN” people through public disclosure of those test scores to teach children Type #1 curriculum.
By doing this, we will divest ourselves of the “RED” people with their Type #2 indoctrination and the “YELLOW” people who are involved because of greed, money, power, and fame.
Parents in Common Core states must opt their children out of the Common Core assessments to protect their children from the indoctrination of the computer-adaptive tests. Parents in Common Core states must battle to keep their own family’s personally identifiable data from being poured into the Common Core national database which can be shared with third parties without parental permission.
6.6.14 -- “We Have the Answer: #CANiSEE Solutions Conf. On Demand for a Year” -- by Donna Garner -- http://www.educationviews.org/answer-canisee-solutions-conf-demand-...