Austin is the place to be this week for the SBOE Meeting – Educating the Digital Generation

I agree with Katy ISD mom, Cyndi Martin Lawrence​ –  There are a lot of keyboard activists. What is needed are concerned parents to get down to Austin this week, if at all possible.

Cyndi posted….. “Did you know in Austin they are meeting Nov. 17, 18, 19, and 20 to “Update on the Implementation of the Revised Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for Mathematics”…along with other issues!! For all my parents that have issues with the Math being taught – the SBOE needs to hear from you. They get many special interest group that come and testify and rarely hear from concerned parents. We have plenty “keyboard activist” here on Facebook but we need real grassroots activists (concerned parents are the best) for our kids and their education.” 

Texas State Board of Education Meeting

So what might some of those other issues be? 

It is important for parents to know that on Tuesday, Nov. 16th the Texas SBOE is scheduled to have a Work session where they will be presented with information by invited guests on ‘Educating the Digital Generation’ at the Texas Capital. 

November 2015 Committee of the Full Board Work Session

 TUESDAY November 17, 2015 8:30 a.m.

Public testimony is not taken on Work Session items.


1. Learning Roundtable—Educating the Digital Generation

This item provides an opportunity for the board to hear testimony from invited guests regarding instructional materials and educational technology. Statutory authority is the Texas Education Code (TEC), §31.003.

State Board of Education Learning Roundtable Agenda (PDF, 127KB)
Questions to Address (PDF, 256KB)

So who are the invited guests that Chairman of the SBOE Donna Bahorich has invited ?

Below is just the first two pages of invited guests. By reading the bios on the first two pages, I have great concern about the direction our state is heading with “Digital Personalized Learning,” that is being forced on Texas students, because parents have NO options when it comes to opting out our children from the Technology TEKS that districts are embedding  into the core curriculum of reading, writing, math and history. Especially when we know about the the astonishing amount of data being collected about your children.  As teacher and mom, Emily Talmage reported in her article ‘Can We Stop it in Time’

She writes……

If Obama’s “Testing Action Plan” goes ahead as planned, be prepared for a massive expansion of online and digital learning and testing to sweep our country.

I mean massive.

As in – teachers?  You might want to start looking for alternative work.

Tom Vander Ark, former executive director of education for the Gates Foundation, is so ready for this.

Vander Ark, who recently gave a presentation at the Global Technology Symposium called“New Education: How to Unbundle the Potential of a Multi-Billion Dollar Market” and is now director of a venture capital firm called “Learn Capital” that oversees a giant portfolio of digital and online learning companies, knows that he is sitting on a goldmine – if only we can be manipulated into adopting the policies that will lead to the boom he has been waiting for.

After reading the list of ‘invited’ guests at the SBOE work session, I would say Texas is falling in line with Obama’s plan quite nicely. I hope you will join me in Austin on Wed. or Thursday when public testimony is welcome. But you have to register to speak today. If you would not like to speak publicly, I know going and supporting others who do, is welcomed in addition to writing all the Texas SBOE member an e-mail or calling them and voicing your concerns. Here is a list of the Texas SBOE members. 

You can find the full list of Work Session Speakers by click here

Speakers List with Biography (PDF, 402KB)

Cat Alexander Director of Blended Learning Raise Your Hand Texas (RYHT)

Cat Alexander is the Director of Blended Learning at Raise Your Hand Texas, leading the Raising Blended Learners Initiative (RYHT RBL). The RYHT RBL is helping teams implement blended learning strategies that transform instructional practices, shift to more effective pedagogical models, and lift student achievement in districts across Texas. Prior to this role, Cat Alexander was a consultant for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a program officer at the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, where she designed and led investments in blended and personalized learning in district and charter schools across the country. Ms. Alexander was also the founding chief operating officer for Rocketship Education, the first blended learning charter network in the country.


Dr. Richard Baraniuk Director OpenStax

Richard G. Baraniuk is the Victor E. Cameron Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University and the Founder and Director of OpenStax. In 1999, Dr. Baraniuk launched Connexions (now OpenStax CNX), one of the world’s first and today one of the world’s largest “open education” platforms, providing free and remixable e‐textbooks to millions of users from 200 countries. In 2012, OpenStax College published the first texts in its growing free and open library for introductory college courses. Today, more than 20 percent of all U.S. degree‐granting institutions are using at least one OpenStax text. More recently, through his research in machine learning, he is enhancing the OpenStax textbooks with personalized learning features that optimize each student’s learning experience based on his or her background, context, and learning goals.

Dr. Carl Blyth Director Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning – University of Texas

Carl Blyth is an applied linguist specializing in the learning and teaching of foreign languages. Dr. Blyth is the director of a Title VI Center funded by the U.S. Department of Education that focuses on the production and dissemination of open educational resources for foreign language education (K‐16).

Brendan Desetti Director, Education Policy Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA)

Brendan Desetti is the Director of Education Policy for the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA). He works with SIIA members and other education stakeholders to identify educational trends and needs, formulate a vision for technology and related policies, address industry and market challenges, and advocate for enabling legislation and government programs at the federal and state levels. He also helps education providers understand the impact of public policies and regulations on their customers in order to better serve educational needs.  

Jay Diskey Executive Director Association of American Publishers’ PreK‐12 Learning Group

Jay Diskey is Executive Director of the Association of American Publishers’ (AAP) PreK‐12 Learning Group. In that role he directs the group’s advocacy, public policy development and operations. Prior to joining AAP in June 2006, he headed Diskey & Associates, a public affairs consultancy specializing in education. Diskey has served as communications director for the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Education and the Workforce, and as vice president of the education practice at Hager Sharp Inc., a Washington‐based public relations firm. In the early 1990s, he was special assistant to U.S. Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander. He earned a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University. In April 2014, Diskey was elected to serve as chair of the International Publishers Association’s Education Publishers Forum, which is the IPA’s education committee. Diskey is headquartered in AAP’s Washington office.  

Marc Nelson Vice President Digital Strategy Pearson Learning Services

Marc Nelson is Vice President of Technology Product Management for Pearson Learning Services. Marc has 23 years’ experience in the Industry. Pearson’s learning platforms serve millions of teachers and students each day. Pearson is committed to delivering rich digital learning experiences to a wide range of networks  

Did you know that in an historic speech in Cairo, Egypt in June 2009, President Obama expressed his desire to “create a new online network, so a young person in Kansas can communicate instantly with a young person in Cairo.” Since then, the Secretary of State and Secretary of Education have both emphasized the importance of learning other languages, gaining a global competency and traveling to other countries.  A number of organizations linking US schools with others around the world are coming together in a new “Connect All Schools” consortium to meet a very specific goal: to connect every school in the US with the world by 2016.    


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