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“Dilemma for Turkish Gulen Harmony Charter Schools Under SB 2 and HB 462”

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by Donna Garner 

Texas SB 2 (Sen. Dan Patrick, author) was passed during the 83rd Legislative Session and goes into effect on 9.1.13. The Turkish Gulen Harmony Charter Schools as well as all other charter schools in Texas will be required to follow the many new SB 2 mandates.

One of the negative aspects about SB 2 is that it takes away the authority over charter schools from the elected members of the Texas State Board of Education and shifts that authority over to the unelected Texas Commissioner of Education who is appointed by the Governor.

Please read today’s Texas Tribune article (8.15.13) — “SBOE Will No Longer Approve Charter Applicants” —

GOOD PROVISIONS OF SB 2

  • However, there are several really good provisions in SB 2. To summarize a few of them:

 

  • Turkish Gulen Harmony Charter Schools and other charters will have to make sure the principal and teachers have attained at least a baccalaureate degree.

 

  • A majority of the school board members must be qualified to vote (i.e., U. S. citizens).

 

  • The names of school board members must be listed on the school’s website.

 

  • The Texas Attorney General can sue for fiduciary misapplication of public funds.

 

  • The school superintendent’s salary must be posted on the school’s website.

Link to SB 2 —

SECTION 32. Section 12.120, Education Code, is amended by adding Subsection (a-1) to read as follows:
(a-1) Notwithstanding Subsection (a), subject to Section 12.1059, an open-enrollment charter school may employ a person:
(1) as a teacher or educational aide if:
(A) a school district could employ the person as a teacher or educational aide; or
(B) a school district could employ the person as a teacher or educational aide if the person held the appropriate certificate issued under Subchapter B, Chapter 21, and the person has never held a certificate issued under Subchapter B, Chapter 21; or
(2) in a position other than a position described by Subdivision (1) if a school district could employ the person in that position.

SECTION 33. Subchapter D, Chapter 12, Education Code, is amended by adding Section 12.1202 to read as follows:
Sec. 12.1202. REQUIREMENT FOR MAJORITY OF MEMBERS OF GOVERNING BODY. A majority of the members of the governing body of an open-enrollment charter school or the governing body of a charter holder must be qualified voters.

SECTION 34. Subchapter D, Chapter 12, Education Code, is amended by adding Section 12.1211 to read as follows:
Sec. 12.1211. NAMES OF MEMBERS OF GOVERNING BODY LISTED ON WEBSITE. An open-enrollment charter school shall list the names of the members of the governing body on the home page of the school’s Internet website.

SECTION 35. Subsection (a), Section 12.122, Education Code, is amended to read as follows:
(a) Notwithstanding the applicable provisions of the Business Organizations Code [Texas Non-Profit Corporation Act (Article 1396-1.01 et seq., Vernon’s Texas Civil Statutes)] or other law, on request of the commissioner, the attorney general may bring suit against a member of the governing body of an open-enrollment charter school for breach of a fiduciary duty by the member, including misapplication of public funds.

Sec. 12.129. MINIMUM [TEACHER] QUALIFICATIONS FOR PRINCIPALS AND TEACHERS. A person employed as a principal or a teacher by an open-enrollment charter school must hold a baccalaureate degree [high school diploma].
Sec. 12.136. POSTING OF CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER SALARY. An open-enrollment charter school shall post on the school’s Internet website the salary of the school’s superintendent or, as applicable, of the administrator serving as educational leader and chief executive officer.

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DILEMMA FOR HARMONY AND IDEA CHARTER SCHOOLS – TOOK RACE TO THE TOP FEDERAL FUNDS

Here is the reason that thinking parents should not put their children into the Harmony or Idea Charter Schools.

What will the Turkish Gulen Harmony Charters and the Idea Charters do? They each received almost $30 Million of federal funds when they were chosen by the U. S. Department of Education to receive the RTTT-D grant funds — Texas Tribune, 12.11.12 — 

The RTTT–D grant funds were sent directly from the U. S. Dept. of Ed. to the Harmony/Idea Charters without the purview of the state education agency. These RTTT-D requirements basically mean that Harmony/Idea Charters are compelled to follow the Common Core Standards Initiative (i.e., national standards, national curriculum, national assessments, national teacher evaluation system tied to individual student scores, and national database).

DILEMMA FOR HARMONY AND IDEA CHARTER SCHOOLS

The 83rd Legislative Session passed HB 462 — .

HB 462 became effective on 6.14.13 and bans local public school districts (and the Texas State Board of Education) from utilizing Common Core Standards (CCS) and national CCS assessments.

How are Harmony and Idea Charters (considered to be public schools because they take public dollars) going to live up to the RTTT-D that requires schools to follow the Common Core Standards Initiative (Type #2) while at the same time Harmony and Idea Charters must follow Texas law in HB 462 that bans the Common Core Standards Initiative in Texas public schools? All public schools in Texas, including charters, are mandated to teach the SBOE-adopted curriculum standards (TEKS) which are Type #1. (Type #1 vs. Type #2 — http://educationviews.org/2-types-of-education-philosophies-chart/ ).

How can children effectively learn Type #1 curriculum that emphasizes correct, fact-based answers while at the same time they are learning subjective, opinion-based, project-driven, group-think, Type #2 curriculum that emphasizes the process over right answers and seeks to indoctrinate children into the social justice agenda?

Bottom line: No thinking, caring parent should put his/her children into the Turkish Gulen Harmony Charter Schools or the Idea Schools because the students in those schools will be indoctrinated into the Common Core Standards.

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Race to the Top District Competition (RTTT-D)

Finalists:

U.S. Department of Education Announces 61 Applications as Finalists for $400 Million Race to the Top – District Competition

NOVEMBER 26, 2012 “Today, the U.S. Department of Education announced that 61 applications have been selected as finalists for the Race to the Top-District (RTTT-D) competition. The 2012 RTTT-D program will provide close to $400 million to support locally developed plans to personalize and deepen student learning, directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness, close achievement gaps, and prepare every student for success in college and careers.”

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Race to the Top District Competition Draft

Eligibility Criteria

1. Eligible applicants include only individual local educational agencies (LEAs) (as defined in this document) and consortia of LEAs.

2. Applicant(s) must annually serve a minimum of 2,500 participating students (as defined in this document). (For a consortium, this minimum number may be met by annually calculating all participating students across all participating LEAs.)

3. At least forty percent of participating students across all participating schools (as defined in this document) must be students from low-income families, based on eligibility for free or reduced-price lunch subsidies under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, or other poverty measures that LEAs use to make awards under section 1113(a) of the ESEA. If an applicant has not identified all participating schools at the time of application, it must provide an assurance that within 100 days of the grant that its participating schools (as defined in this document) will meet this standard.

4. Applicants must demonstrate a track record of commitment to the core education assurance areas (as defined in this document), including, for each LEA included in an application, an assurance signed by the LEA’s authorized legal representative that–

a. The LEA has, at a minimum, designed and committed to implement no later than the 2014-15 school year–
i. a teacher evaluation system (as defined in this document);
ii. a principal evaluation system (as defined in this document);
iii. a LEA superintendent evaluation (as defined in this document); and
iv. a LEA school board evaluation (as defined in this document).
b. The LEA has a robust data system that has, at a minimum,–
i. An individual teacher identifier with a teacher-student match; and
ii. The ability to match student level P-12 and higher education data.
c. The LEA has policy and regulatory protections in place that ensure Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) compliant privacy and information protection while enabling access and use by stakeholders.

__________________________________

Executive Summary

The Race to the Top District competition (RTT-D) will build on the lessons learned from the State-level competitions and support bold, locally directed improvements in teaching and learning that will directly improve student achievement and teacher effectiveness.

As importantly, they will create opportunities for students to identify and pursue areas of personal passion– all of this occurring in the context of ensuring that each student demonstrates mastery in critical areas identified in college- and career ready standards.

Eligibility Criteria:
(listed above)

College- and career-ready standards:
Content standards for kindergarten through 12th grade that build towards college- and career-ready graduation requirements (as defined in this document) by the time of high school graduation. A State’s college- and career-ready standards must be either (1) standards that are common to a significant number of States; or (2) standards that are approved by a State network of institutions of higher education, which must certify that students who meet the standards will not need remedial course work at the postsecondary level.

Core educational assurance areas:
• Adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace and to compete in the global economy;
• Building data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals about how they can improve instruction;
• Recruiting, developing, rewarding, and retaining effective teachers and principals, especially where they are needed most; and
• Turning around our lowest-achieving schools.

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