ALERT: TX TELLS FEDS "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
1.14.10- Donna Garner – This took real courage for Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Commissioner of Education Robert Scott to stand up to the federal government today and in essence say, “We do not want national standards (orchestrated behind the scenes by federal and national organizations) tied to national tests tied to national curricula tied to teachers’ salaries.”
ALERT: TX TELLS FEDS “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
[This took real courage for Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Commissioner of Education Robert Scott to stand up to the federal government today and in essence say, “We do not want national standards (orchestrated behind the scenes by federal and national organizations) tied to national tests tied to national curricula tied to teachers’ salaries.”
It is amazing that all other states (except for Texas and Alaska) have committed to Common Core Standards without ever having seen the final versions; the standards are not even out yet. How many of us would commit to buy a new car without ever having seen it?
From what I have heard, people “in the know” say the standards writing teams are having all kinds of battles among themselves. The early drafts indicate a dumbing down of standards rather than a raising of the bar, and the deadline for the release of the national standards looks as if it will have to be extended.
The writing teams have almost no classroom teachers on them; and the few that are there may not be those with the courage to stand up to the high-powered professors, consultants, and political appointees who proliferate the writing teams.
Typical classroom teachers want curriculum standards to be clearly worded, explicit, grade-level-specific, and measurable so that there is no confusion for them and their students; but typical classroom teachers are not writing these national standards.
Upon the national standards will be built national tests, and that is where the vendors and lobbyists will make their millions by supplying public schools with national curricula.
For the 46 states to have a better chance of getting the Race to the Top funds, student test scores have to be tied back to their teachers. This means that teachers will be forced to teach to the test, and students will have a steady diet of test-prep every day.
Over the last several years, Texas has written excellent new-and-challenging English / Language Arts / Reading TEKS (standards) and world-class Science standards. The Texas State Board of Education is in session right now, and they are in the midst of adopting new Social Studies standards that are sure to be excellent.
The Houston Chronicle said today in one of its articles that 130 people have signed up to testify to the SBOE about the Social Studies standards. I ask you: “Just where would common, everyday people go to testify about national standards?”
“Just where would parents go to complain if their son or daughter came home from school after having been taught some outrageously biased and/or erroneous curricula built upon the national standards?”
It would be pretty hard for a parent to “tackle” the entire Beltway!
On top of all this, the Common Core Standards with its national tests and accompanying national curricula are illegal according to the provisions in the No Child Left Behind laws passed by Congress. I have posted the pertinent provisions (highlighted in yellow) at the bottom of this e-mail.
Kudos go to Texas Gov. Perry and Commissioner Scott for their courage, and I am also very pleased to see that two of the Texas teachers’ organizations are in complete agreement with the decision not to take the carrot being dangled by the federal government. After all that carrot would only bring Texas $75 to $150 per student. How ridiculous to let that small amount of money steal our Texas public school children away from us Texans! -- Donna Garner]
Perry won’t let Texas compete for federal school money
By ERICKA MELLON Copyright 2010 Houston Chronicle
Jan. 13, 2010, 2:32PM
Gov. Rick Perry said today that Texas will not compete for up to $700 million in federal grant funding for schools.
His decision to snub the Race to the Top grant competition defied pleas from several Houston-area school leaders who said their districts could use the money. But Perry, joined by state Education Commissioner Robert Scott, said the money was not worth the federal mandates.
Texas, Perry said, “reserves the right to decide how we educate our children and not surrender that control to the federal bureaucracy.”
The Republican governor made the announcement at the Region 4 Education Service Center in Houston.
Perry’s decision drew praise from some teacher groups and several lawmakers who said the federal funding would have come with too many strings.
The U.S. Department of Education plans to dole out $4 billion to those states that embrace certain reform ideas such as adopting national curriculum standards — an effort Perry and Scott oppose. Texas and Alaska are the only two states that have not joined a common standards initiative.
Based on its size, Texas could have qualified for about $350 million to $700 million — or $75 to $150 per student.
“Everybody can use money,” said state Rep. Rob Eissler, a Republican from The Woodlands who chairs of the House Public Education Committee. “But if you look at a one-time infusion of $80 per child and then having to change your laws permanently – I think we’re better off doing what we’re doing.”
Some states such as California and Florida scrambled to change laws to qualify, while Perry delayed announcing whether Texas would apply until one week before the application was due.
As of last week, Texas Education Agency staff had spent 700 to 800 hours on the application in case the governor gave the green light.
The Texas Classroom Teachers Association and the Texas-American Federation of Teachers had urged Perry and Scott not to apply for Race to the Top.
“It’s hard to justify the adoption of policies that we think are detrimental to Texas for such a minimal investment,” said Linda Bridges, president of Texas-AFT.
Bridges said the grant encouraged “draconian” measures to fix struggling schools, such as closing them. She also disagreed with its call to link student test scores to high-stakes personnel decisions — a move the Houston school board plans to make this week.
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