Open Letter to Thomas B. Fordham Institute
Donna Garner – The advantage of Texas’ not participating in Obama’s takeover of the public schools through the Common Core Standards and Race to the Top is that we in Texas get to write and adopt our own standards and assessments without the federal government’s intervention and agenda.
Open Letter to Thomas B. Fordham Institute
Re: Texas Social Studies Standards
From: Donna Garner
The advantage of Texas’ not participating in Obama’s takeover of the public schools through the Common Core Standards and Race to the Top is that we in Texas get to write and adopt our own standards and assessments without the federal government’s intervention and agenda.
When Texas went through its lengthy 1 ½ year adoption process to produce and adopt the Social Studies standards, our elected Texas State Board of Education members held countless public hearings with hundreds of testifiers on all sides of the issues. SBOE members received upwards of 6,000 e-mails from Texas constituents; and the Social Studies standards that emerged in May 2010 represent the majority of the views of Texans.
We believe our Social Studies standards are the most fact-based, patriotic standards in the country; and the Thomas B. Fordham report released this week with its subjective statements only served to tell us that Fordham is much too close to Common Core Standards/Race to the Top/Obama/Bill Gates.
Since the beginning of Obama’s campaign for President, Bill Gates has supported him and the Obama agenda. In 2008, the Gates Foundation awarded $35 Million to the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association (NGA) to write and promote the Common Core Standards.
The Gates Foundation also paid the Thomas B. Fordham Institute $1.4 Million, including $960,000 to review the Common Core Standards. Is it any coincidence that Fordham gave the Common Core Standards (Math and English) high ratings?
The following quote from this weeks’ Thomas B. Fordham Social Studies report is an example of the lack of objectivity contained in this document (p. 143): “Lone Star State slogan proclaims ‘Texas: It’s like a whole other country’—but Texas’s standards are a disservice both to its own teachers and students and to the larger national history of which it remains a part.” http://www.edexcellencemedia.net/publications/2011/20110216_SOSHS/SOSS_USHistory_Texas.pdf
To see the new Texas Social Studies standards for yourself, please go to the following Texas Education Agency website and look at those marked Beginning with School Year 2011-2012. I believe the majority of Texas parents will be thrilled to have their children taught exactly what is found in the new Social Studies standards:
Here are three links to Q&A interviews with Texas State Board of Education members after the new Social Studies standards were passed and a link to the article I wrote as I journaled the final proceedings:
Just to satisfy myself, I did a quick review of past standards evaluations done by Thomas B. Fordham. In 2003 Stern said that 11 states received an A or B with 31 states receiving a D or an F on their Social Studies standards. On Jan. 25, 2011, Stern said that 7 states received an A or an A- with 28 states receiving a D or an F. The average grade for 2011 was a D which means that Texas’ D is an average score according to Stern.
Why is it that the press has singled out Texas from the other 27 states to malign? Could it be because Amy Fagan of Thomas B. Fordham wrote a “secret” e-mail to the media a week before the standards were to be released basically telling them to pounce on Texas?
How reliable are the Thomas B. Fordham evaluations of states’ standards anyhow? In 2005 Fordham scored states’ science standards. At that time Texas was given a D; yet on the 2009 NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) science scores released on January 25, 2011, “Every major ethnic group in Texas scored higher on the redesigned eighth-grade NAEP science test than did their peers nationally, and white students earned the second-highest score in the country.”
These students in eighth grade have come through the Texas schools during the time that Fordham said Texas’ science standards were supposed to be so inferior, rating them a D!
All in all, I believe that Thomas B. Fordham has become a political arm for whatever entity will pay them the most. Presently, the highest bidder is Bill Gates and the Obama administration.
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