Texas’ District of Innovation Initiative is NOT what you think…….
The District of Innovation concept, passed by the 84th Legislative Session in House Bill 1842, gives traditional independent school districts most of the flexibilities available to Texas’ open-enrollment charter schools.
RED FLAG!!! What this should tell you is, this is a push by the “Schools of Choice” movement, on both sides of the political aisle.
It is no surprise that HB 1842’s author is none other than Jimmy Don Aycock along with Rep. Harold Dutton Jr., Rep. Dwayne Bohac, Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, and Rep. Marcia Farney and sponsored by Senator Larry Taylor.
This is a bi-partisan push to collapse our traditional public school system and remove the power of locally elected school boards.
The description of HB1842 states… “Relating to public school accountability, including the intervention in and sanction of a public school that has received an academically unsuccessful performance rating for at least two consecutive school years and the designation of a school district as a district of innovation.”
Now, let’s look at the marketing of ‘Districts of Innovation’ by the Texas Association of School Boards.
“For years, Texas school board members and administrators have complained about the ever-increasing number of state mandates and prescriptive laws and bemoaned the continual erosion of local control. Now there is a realistic process for districts to do something about this. Take advantage. Investigate the possibilities and potential of becoming a district of innovation”.
James B. Crow
Executive Director, TASB
Potential benefits of becoming a District of Innovation include:
- Local control: Districts decide which flexibilities best suit their local needs.
- Customization: Districts can create an innovation plan for a level of school (e.g., only high schools), grade level, or a single campus.
- Autonomy: Districts must submit a district of innovation plan to the commissioner of education, but approval is not required.
- Flexibility: Districts will have the flexibility to implement practices similar to charter schools, including exemptions from mandates such as:
- School start date
- 90% attendance rule
- Class-size ratios
- Site-based decision-making processes
- Certain student discipline provisions
- Use of planning and preparation periods
- Teacher appraisal requirements
So, on one hand, HB1842 is about public school accountability, including the intervention in and sanction of a public schools. And, on the other hand, it is marketing that school districts can get out of state mandates and around the Texas Education Code (TEC) to give back local control.
BEWARE!! How is that possible?
Have you ever heard the concept of “Shared Learning”?
According to the non-Profit education organization “Raise Your Hand” (which Jimmy Don Aycock’s daughter, use to be a lobbyist for, an which was started by Mike Moses and former Lt. Gov. and State Senator Bill Ratliff, the father of former SBOE member and Microsoft Lobbyist, Thomas Ratliff, “Shared Learning” is key to the District’s of Innovation model of education.
“Decades ago, in his classic study of why American high schools fail, respected education scholar Ted Sizer
documented the following phenomenon: If you run a school like an old-fashioned factory, where the principal,
teachers and students are hemmed in an on all sides by dozens of rigid one-size-fits-all rules and structures, “You
will get uneven goods.
Now that does not sound like an education of excellence and equal opportunity, this sounds like “Force Equity” and an education of “Equal Outcomes”.
Here is a little insight. Linda Darling Hammond is a key player in the Education Reform movement as Dannette Clark has clearly documented, who they are, and what their agenda is. In her article Name Names….
Linda Darling-Hammond, who served as education advisor to President Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, is currently developing assessments for our new national curriculum, the Common Core State Standards.
Darling-Hammond is a long time advisory board member to the National Equity Project, formerly known as the Bay Area Coalition of Essential Schools and the Bay Area Coalition for Equitable Schools (or BayCES). The National Equity Project/BayCES opened in 1991 as a regional office for Theodore Sizer’s Coalition of Essential Schools (CES).
Yes, Theodore Sizer of CES is the same Ted Sizer mentioned in the Raise Your Hand document.
Through an organization she co-founded called the School Redesign Network, and through the National Equity Project/BayCES, Darling-Hammond has worked closely over the years with socialist, Deborah Meier, communist, Bill Ayers, and several ultra-liberal organizations, including the crooked and recently de-funded ACORN, to open new progressive schools and transform existing public schools into progressive indoctrination centers. This reform effort was once widely known as the ‘small schools initiative’ or ‘small schools movement’.
By the way, former Texas Lt. Governor Bill Ratliff sits on a National Board “Parents for Public Schools” with both Linda Darling Hammond and Deborah Meier.
Call me crazy, but, I am a little skeptical of the “Districts of Innovation” initiative.
As Anita Hoge has warned us over and over again…..
Wouldn’t you know, upon reading HB1842.
So, if the unelected Commissioner of Education Mike Morath, has all the power to intervene and revoke the DOI status of a district, based on assessments and accountability still yet to be established, does the local school board ultimately have control of the district?
Remember, Mike Morath is the same guy who is advocating that the Next Generation of Assessments and Accountability Commission recommend that Texas develop non-cognitive character standards into the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).
Just listen in his own words……