Alice Linahan Testimony to the Argyle ISD School Board- Districts of Innovation

On July 18th, 2016 I gave the following testimony to the Argyle ISD School Board.

Thank you once again for the opportunity to speak tonight.

I come to you to ask you to VOTE NO on the District of Innovation Resolution.

Back in 2012-13 there were 81 Texas education entities that applied for the Race To the Top federal RTT-D2 grants that would have aligned those entities to the Common Core National Standards. Argyle ISD was one of those entities. When I questioned Dr. Wright if she knew this would align Argyle ISD with the Common Core, her response was that when she asked the paid grant writer if this was Common Core the writer told Dr. Write that the words “Common Core” were not anywhere in the grant application. Upon reading the 400 page grant the words Common Core were not used, but it still mandated alignment to College and Career Ready national standards and would have forced Argyle students to take the national Smarter Balance Assessment, that is directly aligned to the Common Core National Standards. Whoever controls the assessment controls the content. 

Then in 2013 Argyle ISD executed a contract with the Region 11 Service Center for a curriculum management system (CSCOPE). Again upon digging into the learning theories, curriculum design and assessments of CSOPE they were directly aligned with the same soviet behavioral psychologist Lev Vygotsky learning theories, curriculum design and assessments as the Common Core.

Now,  in 2016 Argyle ISD is once again falling in line with the mandates of the Federal Government.

Districts of Innovation is not about a later start date. As noted in this document by the North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL,) Districts of Innovation are to spur new innovative instructional models and create space for competency- based pathways in student centered learning and will allow school leaders to create new personalized learning models.

Let me just say…. I do not want my tax dollars used to experiment on Argyle children as if they are guinea pigs. 

Where has any of this been piloted or proven successful?

Down in Austin the discussion around the Next Generation of Assessment and Accountability (which will replace the STAAR EOCs,) proves the end of year tests are being replaced with all-the-time data collection via online curriculum and assessments. CBE=Competency Based Education. It’s not just grades they are collecting- it is EVERYTHING a child does…. From focus, attention, grit, likes and dislikes, embedded surveys, reading speed, personality, behavior, facial expressions… All can be analyzed and profiled. It was never about test scores and grades it was about a PREDICTIVE PROFILE of human capital (aka children).

The STAAR standardized assessment aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) is NOT a valid academic assessment. 
As a MOM in ARGYLE ISD I am NOT OK with that.

As stated in this article….. Why Companies Like Achieve Inc Now Want You To Opt Out Of State Assessments

“Welcome to the Competency-Based Education era! Instead of your child advancing through grade levels, they will now advance once they master the material. Don’t get me wrong. The state assessments will still be there. But parents most likely won’t even know when their child is taking it. Because it won’t be the same test. It won’t be students cooped up taking the same test over a period of weeks in the Spring. It will be all year. The same tests, that we have loved to hate, they will still be here. They may tweak them up a bit, but they aren’t going anywhere. They laid the trap, and we all fell in it.

Through personalized learning. Don’t be fooled by the term personalized learning. There are actually two kinds. The concept has been around for decades. More one-on-one instruction from teachers, personalized on that student’s strengths and weaknesses. A very humanistic approach which I don’t have an issue with. But what the corporate education pirates want is the same thing, but take out the teacher. Substitute it with technology. With computers, and the internet, and cloud-based systems, and blended learning. The teachers will still be there, but they won’t be the in front of the classroom teachers anymore. They will facilitate, and guide the students through what the computer is teaching them.” 

I will be submitting the following TEST REFUSAL & STUDENT PRIVACY PROTECTION FORM  with respect to my daughter. And, I will be encouraging other parents to do the same. At some point school districts, the state and federal government must realize my children’s private data, is not their commodity to be used for research purposes.

Unfortunately, once again Argyle ISD falls in line with the Federal Common Core philosophy of outcome based/ “Dumbing Down,” workforce education. 

Last night your Argyle school board voted 6-1 on a resolution to move forward in the next step of becoming a District of Innovation (DOI). That next step is a public hearing. If you care about the students and teachers of Argyle ISD you will show up and demand they vote NO on becoming a DOI.

Dr. Wright’s reason for wanting to become a DOI was for the earlier start date for school and to be able to hire non-certified teachers to teach Career Tech Ed (CTE) classes.
She and some on the board have clearly taken the bait offered by the state.

During the meeting last night I sent this to the school board via e-mail. 

Dear Argyle ISD School Board,

 Tonight during my testimony, I stated there was research to prove the STAAR MATH assessment is not knowledge based and Academic.
I wanted you to have this Report to show clearly that the Math being taught in Argyle ISD is flawed because it is aligned with the latest 2012 Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and STAAR assessment.
Below are videos of Randy Houchins and John Pendergraff’s testimony on the Math TEKS in front of the State Board of Education (SBOE)


Please take special note to this statement in Randy Houchins report…… 

“What is lost when using reform math (and having these multiple methods called up in the content standards and thus reflected in the STAAR assessment) is the fact that it takes much longer to teach ALL of the methods. Critical concepts get pushed out to older grades and students miss out an important part of math instruction – practice using the most efficient method. Students that are taught with reform math tend to be about two years behind those students taught with more traditional approaches to math by the time they are in or exiting high school. It puts Calculus out of reach of most students in High School.”
To show you it is not merely my opinion there is a shift to assess and collect private data that is non-cognitive attitudes, values, beliefs and behaviors, please read below.
The National Assessment Governing Board has announced plans to assess mindsets and other subjective, socioemotional factors in the 2017 version of the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). 
In addition, the newly appointed Texas Commissioner of Education, Mike Morath, has recommended to the Next Generation of Assessments and Accountability Commission that Texas, formally, put non-cognitive character standards into the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). 
As noted in this letter  pinned by Liberty Counsel, an international legal, media and policy organization with an emphasis on religious liberties protected by the First Amendment. This letter sent to several congressional committees signed by eight national organizations, including Texas based Women On the Wall, and 69 state organizations in 29 different states.  Here is a summary of those concerns according to Liberty Counsel Attorney Richard Mast, the author of the letter :
The NAEP is poised to violate federal law by collecting extremely sensitive psychological/socioemotional data on children; it will do so in a necessarily subjective manner;  it contains a substantial risk of exposing the subject children to possible negative consequences in their later schooling and employment careers, to the extent that even supporters of such assessments are concerned; and it will entrust extremely sensitive data to agencies that are no longer governed by serious privacy law and that have proven they cannot or will not keep personal student data secure.
These proposed changes constitute potential parental rights violations, and expose the children to a litany of harms in the present and in the future. Thus, any efforts to ask questions concerning mindsets and other socioemotional parameters and to collect that data via the NAEP should be halted immediately. 
Since 2001, the U.S. government has increasingly controlled our Texas education system.  
  • Federal grants and entitlement programs have come with strings attached. 
  • No Child Left Behind (“NCLB”) legislation has moved more and more schools to a label of “failure,” which is just wrong.
  • Texas’s waiver application for NCLB brought Common Core standards to our Texas TEKS and required teacher and principal evaluations to be tied to student test outcomes. 
Now the TEA, its Commissioner of Education, the State Board of Education (“SBOE”), and the Texas legislature are prepared to implement the next phase of federal law, The Next Generation of Assessment and Accountability (“NextGen”).  This new law will institute a new grading system of A-F to measure each subgroup of students, then give an overall grade to an entire school and school district.  This can lead to loss of local control of our schools in as little as two years.
After 15 years of these federal mandates, many English and math teachers now teach to the standardized tests.  Many students suffer extreme anxiety from these tests, characterized as a form of child abuse by many psychiatrists.  Parents do not understand this undue mental anguish placed on their children.
Also, many Texas students are not prepared for college or the careers after high school.  Our students should not receive an inadequate education stemming from following federal policy.  As parents and taxpayers, we demand better from our local public schools. Which you are responsible for over seeing. 
Alice Linahan
Argyle Parent


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