I’m Confused- Actually, I am not… Just Follow the TPPF Money!

By Alice Linahan

Yesterday after watching the live stream of the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF)’s summit for the Texas Special Session, I wrote the following post on FB.

I am confused.

Why is the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) (a supposedly conservative think tank) supportive of  Gov. Gregg Abbott appointed, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Senate confirmed, Commissioner of Education, Mike Morath?

Commissioner Mike Morath has completely restructured the TEA with federally funded (thru Higher Education Act) Teach For America (TFA) Pro-charter school Democrat community organizers. 

One of the most controversial hires being AJ Crabill, Deputy of Governance of the TEA making $180k a year and whose highest attainment of education is a high school diploma, was a major Democrat community organizer. It looks like he had to change his name due to ethics violations in Kansas City.

New Texas schools official changed his name after leaving Kansas City board

Certainly, if you look at Mike Morath’s career post college, 1998 until 2011, Morath’s entire work experience during this period can be summed up thusly: two failed ventures, and then as an employee for 10 years of a very small software company, Minute Menu Systems.

Whatever happened to a state commissioner of education possessing actual proven experience and legitimate professional credentials? Morath’s highest educational attainment is a bachelor’s degree, his only experience was 4 years on a school board, and moreover, he has no actual managerial experience, much less the qualifications to run Texas’s largest and most important state agency.

Certainly, Morath’s questionable judgment in the hiring of West/Crabill to oversee the Agency’s Governance and Investigations is but one example. See information and documentation here: 


Interesting isn’t it? Republican Governor Greg Abbott appointed and Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Senate confirmed Commissioner of Education Commissioner, Mike Morath’s new deputy commissioner positions, created as part of a sweeping reorganization of the Texas Education Agency have been filled as follows.

Deputy of Governance, A.J. Crabill (Kansas City Democrat Treasurer)  was also known as Airick West makes $180K (with only no education noted on his application)

Teach for America Alumni, Deputy of Academics, (California Democrat) Penny Schwinn – $180K

Teach for America Alumni, Deputy of Educator Support, Martin Winchester – $180K

Teach for America Alumni, Deputy of Operations, (Washington D.C. Democrat) Megan Aghazadian – $160K

Deputy of Finance, Kara Belew is on the comptroller’s payroll already as an Abbott senior policy advisor at 159K as noted in this article. 

Looks like it pays to work for the TEA and it looks like TFA is a recruiting ground for transformational change agents!!

“Teach for America is a $400 million “non-profit” that exists not only to save children, but also to steer public policy, and public dollars, to corporate reformers, primarily through the promotion of market-based solutions: charter district reform, deregulation of teacher education, and merit-based pay.

TFA is also, through its spin-off organization Leadership for Educational Equity, working to place alumni in administrative jobs and in elected positions, utilizing a powerful network of foundations, educational institutions, and related organizations, legislative policy groups, and individuals who are at the forefront of charter school reform efforts.”


After listening to Gov. Abbott, Lt. Gov. Patrick and Sen. Larry Taylor yesterday at the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) summit and hearing just how desperate they are to pass Education Savings Accounts (ESA), (Jeb Bush’s #FakeSchoolChoice, and knowing how Commissioner Mike Morath has restructured the Texas Education Agency and who he has put in key positions, when you read Chuck Baldwin’s post below, the dots really connect. Especially after what a good friend said to me…

“Now replace Insurance companies with charter schools, digital learning platforms, etc. is this not the exact same business model that our state legislators are banking in literally? Isn’t this what Paxton was doing and rallying his colleagues in the state Senate and House to get in on the action?” 


Let me connect just a couple more dots for you…
*  Education Savings Accounts are not an education program. As stated in this video (at the Jeb Bush founded ExcelInEd Conference in 2016) they are a banking product.

  • When I posted the above post about TPPF on FB a friend stated… “I’m not confused. Follow the money.” 

To which I stated…“The woman ( Stephanie Matthews) who idolizes these people on the stage with her makes that very simple. (Timestamp 4:09.35)  Stephanie worked for then-Governor George W. Bush, first on his campaign and then in the Governor’s Legislative Office for 2 Legislative Sessions.” 

Also interesting to note, on the TPPF website

Stephanie Matthews is the Director of the Center for Education Freedom.

Stephanie has spent the majority of her professional career in and around the state Capitol. Prior to joining TPPF, Stephanie served as the Chief of Staff for State Senator Donna Campbell, M.D. A tireless advocate for school choice herself, Stephanie helped Senator Campbell spearhead a wide array of school choice legislation. Stephanie worked closely with the Governor and Lt. Governor staff to ensure passage of several pieces of legislation with statewide implications.

Before becoming a member of the TPPF team, Stephanie was the Director of External Affairs for one of Texas’ largest and most diverse charter school systems, Responsive Education Solutions.

I actually know about Responsive Ed – As I wrote about in the article: Is “Responsive Ed” in Texas aligned to the Common Core Philosophy of Education?

Let’s take a little more in depth look at Responsive Ed in Texas.

Starting with…….

Alan Wimberley, Ed.D. Chief Education Architect Responsive Education Solutions

According to TAB’s (Texas Association of Business) newsletter… 

“Dr. Wimberley is not only passionate about education but proudly sits on the TAB’s Board of Directors. He has been extensively involved in school accreditation, serving on the Texas State Council of AdvancED (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools). He also has led several school districts through the accreditation process including Responsive Education Solutions becoming “one of the first 200 school systems” in the nation to achieve a systems accreditation distinctive (Dr. Mark Elgart, President—SACS).”   

Now that is interesting because Dr. Mark Elgart according to the Advanced Ed website….. 

Currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Knowledge Alliance and Measured Progress as well as a National Advisor for Learning Forward. Elgart also represents AdvancED as a lead business partner with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 10.04.53 AM

This is fascinating because the Council of Chief State School Officers owns the copyright to the Common Core National Standards.  

Oh, but in Texas we said NO to the Common Core right?????

Not so fast!!! 

You see Common Core was merely a tactic to access our children. As are, school choice (ESA)s, Advanced Ed and Responsive Ed. They are all a part of this Global transformation in education. Whether these people involved know it or not.

Some will say the fundamental “SHIFT” occurring in education today is 21st Century Learning. The truth is, there is nothing 21st Century about it. It is the same battle that was fought in the late 60′s and early 70′s and again in the late 80′s and early 90′s. It is what was coined back then- Outcome Based/School to Work education. What pushed it back in the past?


Why, because parents understood just how harmful this is to their child. We do not see our children as “Human Capital” for the state and federal government to control the economy. 

The fundamental shift in education we are talking about is changing from a transmission of knowledge, that parents still expect from our schools, to an emphasis on altering the students world-views, their values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors.

Below is a timeline of Texas’ compliance with this shift, which highlights the co-ordination between Republicans and Democrats alike.

Total Quality Management (TQM)- Texas’ Points of Compliance in the Education System (Updated)

 Please take the time to read,  The Real Reason Our Children are Being Psychologically Profiled at School; ALL Schools, public, private and charter.

* Talking points below… Created by Alison McDowell, author of Wrench in the Gears 
* Global Education Futures Forum agenda
* Big Data vs. Teachers: Slideshare Link
* Digital Classrooms as Data Factories: Slideshare Link
* What is a “Smart” City? Slideshare Link
* Tracking Children Via the Internet of Things: Slideshare Link
* Blockchain and “The Ledger”: Slideshare Link
* How Austerity Generates Data: Slideshare Link
* Reinventing Education for Impact Investing: Slideshare Link
Sign In