Torin Halsey/Times Record News Fifth grader Ryker Beasley pays close attention to a problem being solved on the board in math class at City View Elementary. City View teachers are the rare teachers in North Texas who do not use CSCOPE.
Please take the time to read these articles that explain how the Texas Legislature is deliberately dumbing down our Texas public schools. If this trend by the Legislature continues to completion, this 83rd Legislative Session will go down in history as the Session that destroyed authentic education reform in Texas, resulting in an increase in poorly educated citizens, college students, and employees.
…That’s precisely why Texas legislators need to think back through a number of their decisions this session that would lessen expectations for students. They are passing bills that will set up less rigorous high school degree plans. And they are trying to deconstruct how the state assesses students and their schools.
The latest troubling move is the Texas House’s decision last week to end the state’s writing exam for fourth- and seventh-graders. If HB 2836 becomes law, Texas students will move through elementary and middle school without ever taking a state writing achievement test. The first time they would take a state writing test would be in ninth grade.
…But do we really want to wait until ninth grade before knowing whether students are proficient in writing, especially since barely half of Texas ninth-graders passed this year’s STAAR writing exam on the first try?
Writing, after all, is fundamental to critical thinking. Steve Graham, an Arizona State University professor, studies its impact on student development. Here’s his take:
“Good writing is a complex process involving skillful planning, evaluation and revisions as well as the mastery of a host of writing skills including handwriting, typing, spelling, grammar, and sentence and paragraph construction. Students must acquire these fundamental writing processes and skills in order to create clear, compelling, and engaging text that persuades, informs, or tells a good story.”
A recent essay by Graham makes clear that he also is worried about what will happen if the Senate passes HB 2836:
“If this becomes law, students will face a single high-stakes writing test to graduate high school, without the benefit of earlier low-stakes tests to inform parents, teachers, and students of their progress towards writing proficiency.”
…Being able to communicate is a prerequisite to moving ahead after college or high school.Research from the National Writing Project, Graham says, shows 93 percent of white-collar and 80 percent of blue-collar workers contend that writing well is essential to their careers.
Yet here we are in Texas, ready to take writing out of our early testing loop. This could set up our kids for failure.
I just don’t see how this is a good thing, any more than the Legislature walking away from demanding high school degree plans. Not when education is so central to getting Texas’ future right — as well as that of the United States.
AUSTIN — High-stakes testing of high school students would be rolled back sharply under legislation that the Senate approved Monday.
Students would have to pass only five end-of-course tests to graduate — instead of the current 15 — under the Senate bill, which also revamps graduation requirements.
The legislation is similar to a bill the House has already endorsed, and differences will have to be negotiated with just three weeks left in lawmakers’ session.
But the bills set up Texas students for another sweeping change in school standards. It comes as a response to teachers’ and parents’ complaints about too much testing but also raises criticism that the state that pioneered tough accountability measures is pulling back.
…Under the Senate proposal, high school students would have to pass exams in English I and II, Algebra I, biology and U.S. history to receive a diploma. Ten other exams that students must now pass — such as English III and Algebra II — would no longer be required.
Although Gov. Rick Perry had voiced support for keeping more of the end-of-course tests, the best he could do was retain the English III and Algebra II exams as optional for school districts. The Senate bill would make the exams diagnostic. Students would not have to pass them to graduate, nor would they count in school performance ratings.
The Senate bill also would replace current graduation requirements with a new system under which students would select one of multiple paths to graduation, called “endorsements.” They include arts and humanities, business and industry, science and math, and distinguished achievement.
All students would have to take at least four years of English and three years each of math, science and social studies for the basic “foundation” diploma. Students would take additional math, science and social studies depending on their graduation path. But they could also take the minimum course load, if their parents approved.
Currently, most students take four years of study in English, math, science and social studies.
Texas Association of Business president Bill Hammond criticized the Senate bill, saying the weaker requirements will “doom generations of students to a mediocre education and low-wage jobs.”
…Senators approved more than two dozen amendments before passing the bill, including the option for school districts to use the English III and Algebra II end-of-course tests. The two exams are considered strong indicators of college readiness, but they would no longer have to be passed by students to graduate.
“This will give school districts important feedback on the college readiness of their students,” said Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, who offered the amendment. If districts choose to use the exams, the cost will be covered by the state.
Another change would drop an earlier plan to rate all individual campuses with letter grades instead of the current designations — exemplary, recognized, acceptable and unacceptable. But school districts as a whole would receive letter grades…
COMPARISON: Two versions of bill
Major provisions in the House and Senate education bills:
House: English II reading, English II writing, Algebra I, biology and U.S. history
Senate: English I, English II, Algebra I, biology and U.S. history
CREDITS FOR GRADUATION
RATINGS FOR DISTRICTS, CAMPUSES
House: Switch to letter grades for both districts and campuses
Senate: Switch to letter grades only for districts; campuses keep current ratings of exemplary, recognized, acceptable and unacceptable
House: Arts and humanities, business and industry, science and math, distinguished achievement, public services and multidisciplinary studies
Senate: Leaves out public services and multidisciplinary studies
Chair, Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative (TESCCC) Governing Board
301 Loop 11 Wichita Falls, Texas 76306
Dear Ms. Poplin:
It has come to our attention that school districts may be denying Texas parents access to CSCOPE curriculum and materials in violation of the Texas Education Code. Specifically, it has been alleged that school districts are improperly attempting to charge parents hundreds of dollars in order to access CSCOPE-related information that must be provided to them under Texas law.
As you know, Section 26.006(a) of the Texas Education Code provides that parents are “entitled to review all teaching materials, instructional materials, and other teaching aids used in the classroom of the parent’s child.” The Education Code also provides that school districts “shall make teaching materials and tests readily available for review by parents.” Further, Texas law specifically states that “A student’s parent is entitled to request that the school district..,allow the student to take home any instructional materials used by the student.”
Notwithstanding the fact that Texas law clearly requires school districts to make educational materials accessible to parents, it is our understanding that school districts have recently attempted to charge hundreds of dollars for information related to the CSCOPE curriculum. To the extent parents are being charged a fee in order to access CSCOPE-related information, such a fee is not authorized by the Education Code.
In light of these concerns, we request that the TESCCC promptly notify school districts that information related to CSCOPE must be provided to parents in accordance with Chapter 26 of the Texas Education Code, which does not authorize the imposition of a fee. With summer fast approaching, it is imperative that the TESCCC distribute the notification requested herein immediately so that parents are assured access to CSCOPE-related information before the end of the school year. Finally, be advised that failure to comply with the Education Code’s disclosure requirements could result in legal action against school districts.
cc: The Honorable Dan Patrick Chairman, Texas Senate Committee on Education POST OFFICE Box 12548, AusT1’J, TEXAS 7871 1-2548
Click the photo to sign the Petition and Join the movement to#StopCSCOPE
Did you know…..It is actually worse than we thought.
Remember the post about the 32 Million Grant given to the TEA (Texas Education Agency) and the ESCs (Education Service Centers) to create TEKS Professional Development materials “Show Us The Money ~ TEA and ESC” it is actually not 32 Million but 152 Million of your tax dollars.
Rider 42 provided $152 million for TEA (Texas Education Agency) and the ESCs (Education Service Centers) to create TEKS Professional Development materials for educators K-12 in Science and ELAR for the summer 2010 Professional Development programs called academies.
These are the games those in the Austin Bubble play and your elected officials are in on the game. It is just like what passed in the 83rd legislative session with transportation. They are now going to use your property taxes to build the toll roads and then charge you again to drive on then.
In education they used your tax dollars to develop an online technology curriculum called CSCOPE and now they are renting that curriculum back to districts paid for with your tax dollars, and THESE ARE THE REPUBLICANS!!
From Janice VanCleave a Texas Grandma who is uncovering this travesty.
The 81st Legislature provided millions of dollars for education via Rider 42.
There were two TEKS professional development programs created for educators.
1. TEKS Professional Development–$50 million
2. TEKS Academies –$30 million
How are these two programs different?
Other specific funding targets under SSI include:
training for campus and district leaders ($5 million),
college preparation assessments ($13.75 million),
Algebra I Readiness initiatives ($50 million) and
college readiness grants ($25 million).
TESCCC claims that teachers and administrators ask the ESCs to create the CSCOPE program. According to TESCCC, these requests were due to not understanding the TEKS.
This would not be true had the teachers attended the Rider 42 Teks training.
Are the ESCs able to function as a vendor, selling CSCOPE and with equal dedication and focus use grant money to provide Free professional development for educators?
If educators were not prepared to use the TEKS in 2010-2011 –2011-2012 and 2012-203,
is it because the ESCs are more focused on selling CSCOPE than giving free professional development academies?
There will be much more coming out on this issue. They are BUSTED!! Thank you Janice VanCleave for uncovering Corruption in Texas Education!!
Below is just a sample…….. By Janice VanCleave
The Rider 42 grant of $152 million was also to be used to prepare training materials so Training of Trainers (TOT) could be done. Thus, qualified trainers would then present the Rider 42 PD Academies for teachers. According to a report on the TEA website, about 1,300 people were trained but only 44% of them ever presented to teachers.
I believe what the directors of CSCOPE have done is to imitate the Rider 42 TEKS PD materials.
The authors of the K-4 CSCOPE science didn’t understand what they read and made some big errors in the CSCOPE science lessons.
One of the biggest errors found so far in CSCOPE is that the authors as well as every CSCOPE director that I have heard speak about CSCOPE do not understand the vertical alignment objective. Now that I have read the TEKS PD training materials, I do understand that it is not just a list of three grades showing the TEKS. Because the CSCOPE authors misinterpreted the information about vertical alignment, they included material, such as parallel and series circuits to be learned by 5th graders when it is a TEKS for physics. Basically here is how they messed up. In vertical alignment, TEA grouped K-4 science materials for the training. Thus, to get a feel for how a topic builds from K-4 and through the next grades with the final objective being that students would be prepared to understand that same TEKS at the level presented in physics. For example, simple electricity idea in K, then 1st, and on to 4th where kids learn about circuits and that for a flashlight to work there has to be a power source, conducting wire and a light bulb. But the bulb doesn’t glow unless a path is formed to allow the electric energy to flow around and around (closed path-closed circuit). It is very simple and can be taught to 2nd graders –I’ve done it.
Now comes the rigor part–which CSCOPE authors don’t have a clue about. Since they copied ideas from the TEKS PD academia materials they loudly claim that CSCOPE has vertical alignment and rigor. I can show that CSCOPE lessons have neither.
Example: The Rigor, which is really just using what you have learned to interpret something a bit more complex.
The diagram is for a parallel circuit in physics. Where the wires are separated should be a switch that is open. If 4th graders are properly taught closed circuits, they know nothing about parallel circuits but can use their knowledge to figure out that only bulb A is going to glow. A more complicated diagram of this is shown during the TEKS PD academies. The goal is for the elementary teacher to have an idea why it is important for kids to be able to distinguish between a closed and an open circuit. Science becomes more than just learning for a test. In fact the fallacy of education is that tests are given and the next topic is started. Test need to be an assessment of what kids do and do not understand. If kids are building their education framework, they cannot afford to leave out some of the bricks. Not every framework is the same, some more elaborate and some simple, but all should be the very best that each child can do and should not be missing parts.
CSCOPE gave the diagram of a parallel circuit in the Rider K-4 PD and included parallel circuits in the 5th grade science materials. I complained and complained and now the revised CSCOPE science lesson on electricity doesn’t have the parallel circuit handout, but they forgot to remove the parallel and series script from the lesson. Make note:
CSCOPE’s revised science lessons are for the most part worse than before.
1. Took out all online reference materials for teachers.
2. Took out handouts that were reviewed and found incorrect–
They did not make changes to the teacher’s script so now there is no handout for the kids and the script refers to the handout.
Even changes in the assessments are hit and miss with reported materials removed but additions are incorrect in some cases.
It will not matter if every CSCOPE lessons is reviewed because the same attitude of “get it fixed and back on sale as soon as possible” is the objective of the TESCCC directors.
One more point about the ESCs using Rider 42 grant money–According to the evaluation of the TEKS PD Academies and TOT, the ESCs admitted that they did not make any special effort to promote the PDs. In 2009-2010, All 20 ESCs received about $50 million.
YES!!! $50 million that paid them for producing teacher training materials as well as presenting the PDs to educators during the 2010 PD Academies.
I find this a flagrant misuse of funds. Teachers went from using TAKS to TEKS in science and ELAR and money for assisting them to make this transition was given to the ESCs and no special announcements were made about the summer academies.
After reading the K-4 science materials that teachers in these grades would have seen before starting the 2010-2011 school year it is clear a full investigation of the ESCs is needed and it is needed today. The idea of putting off their evaluation for years is only to give them time to cook the books.
I am very angry at the ESCs for cheating our educators out of the science training. Instead, 19 of the 20 ESCs made no effort to announce that the summer science and ELAR programs were very special–VERY SPECIAL. My evaluation of the content of the K-4 science TEKs academy PD provides a teaching style and philosophy that all teachers would embrace. I am a veteran teacher and I picked up lots of new ways to teach different science concepts. K-4 teachers would have soaked up this information and there would never have been any concerns about TEKS and rigor.
Instead of promoting free TEKS Rider 42 Academies–The TESCCC was busy promoting the idea that teachers needed help with the new TEKS. Teachers do not understand how to make their lessons have rigor. TESCCC promoted the idea that textbooks were aligned with TAKS and were worthless.. EVEN new TEKS aligned textbooks should not be purchased because they could not be updated every day like an online program, such as CSCOPE.
So, instead of providing a quality program for teachers -a free to the teacher program–the ESCs down played the TEKS Academies and sold a product that had been quickly thrown together so it could be aligned with the TEKS- Master Teachers did not write all the CSCOPE lessons. Parts of CSCOPE was jobbed out– written by graduate students- ESC workers — Parts of CSCOPE were copied from the web, parts from textbooks, etc…..
What the ESCs have done should be a criminal offense. Surely taking the Rider 42 grant money and purposely not using it as specified is illegal.
After reading the above information it makes this video very interesting…..
“There is a lot in this little 2 minute clip. How can the region have a deficit when they are taking in hundreds of thousands and in some cases millions? Also, for those following the NER money trail and rural New York —hear him at the end subtly mention that they recently changed software/computer companies…”
Click the photo to sign the Petition and Join the movement to#StopCSCOPE
Here is a little insight and wisdom on how to fight for your children and grandchildren from a Texas Teacher who is a good friend and colleague in the battle to expose CSCOPE.
What to say when the Superintendent or Curriculum Specialist says,
“We can’t get rid of CSCOPE because…..”
CSCOPE provides research based instruction
“Great, I am so glad you brought that up. Please provide me with hard copy information about all the piloted research studies that were conducted by an independent research firm before CSCOPE was launched. I am eager to see the proof that it works.”
CSCOPE is used in over 875 ISD’s across Texas
“How do you explain that more schools than ever before are rated academically unacceptable, with more projected to be so in the future? How do you explain that school districts that opted not to use CSCOPE are faring better than districts who are using it?”
…we can’t find anything better than CSCOPE. If you can find something better we’ll use it.
“I am so glad you said that. I will put together a parent committee right now. We will bring you options and an action plan to pick one of the options presented by the end of next week. We will hold you to your word that you are seeking the finest materials for our students.”
CSCOPE is correlated to the TEKS. They change all the time, and we have to have a living document that will change with the TEKS. CSCOPE provides that for our district.
“If CSCOPE is changing all the time, like you said it is, how can parents be assured that the material is properly reviewed? I am submitting a written request for the printed lessons to include an ongoing update of every change made to every lesson as it is changed.”
…you are the only person who has complained. The teachers and other parents are very satisfied with CSCOPE.
“I have a list of a hundred parents in this district who are not satisfied with CSCOPE and we will continue to meet with you until it is removed from use in our schools. We pay you to exercise a responsive leadership to the tax payers in this district. I have spoken with many parents and teachers who are highly dissatisfied.”
WOMEN ON THE WALL HAS JOINED WBTM’S RADIO PROGRAMMING
Tonight at the Denton County Republican Executive Meeting Superintendent David Thweatt from Harrold ISD in Texas discusses the school district teacher gun carry policy by CHL license holders in their schools.
Reports are the audience agreed with him. He was received with a standing ovation. I am happy to know that folks are ready to find ways to protect our children when they are in school.
This is not a fun issue to take on but this is the one we must as parents and grandparents face straight on and look for solutions for the safety and security of our children.
As a Mom in Argyle ISD I am glad to see that our district is taking things into their own hands. A Community Security Meeting has be called for April 24th and you can bet I will be there.
From the Argyle ISD website……
AISD Security Meeting for Parents, Staff, and Community will be held Wednesday, April 24, at 6:30 p.m. at the AHS auditorium.
Courses of action including hiring school resource officers, hiring armed security guards, and arming selected and Board approved staff will be discussed.
Personnel from Craft, security company hired by AISD, will give the presentation.
My prayer is this meeting will be well attended. Knowledge is Power! Spread the word about this Community Meeting.