Voices Empower

Not So Fast, CSCOPE: Resources for Learning is the Worm in the Apple

By Donna Garner- Graphics by Alice Linahan


Photo Courtesy of Times Record News

ACTION STEP: REP. STEVE TOTH’S HB 760 — The CSCOPE Transparency Act To Ensure Consistent Oversight of Public School Curriculum – Please read Rep. Toth’s HB 760 posted toward the bottom of this page and then look at the list of House members who are joint authors and/or co-authors. We must have literally hundreds of House members sign on to this bill in order to get it out of the House Public Education Committee and to the House floor for a vote. This will take all of us contacting our House members and insisting that they support HB 760.   CSCOPE HAS CONTRACTED WITH RESOURCES FOR LEARNING TO REVIEW SCIENCE MATERIALS

During the Texas Senate Education Committee hearing on CSCOPE last Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, one of the CSCOPE staffers mentioned that TESCCC/CSCOPE has contracted with Resources for Learning (RFL) to do an independent review of CSCOPE Science.  Phase 1 of the RFL report was released on 11.29.12 (http://www.cscope.us/RFLReportSci.pdf ), and Phase 2 (the review of the actual CSCOPE lesson content) was begun in January 2013.

I would imagine that CSCOPE Science will only be RFL’s first contract and that they will be chosen to perform a similar review of the ELAR, Social Studies, and Math CSCOPE curriculum  in the near future.  

If TESCCC/CSCOPE is going to choose Resources for Learning to help to legitimatize the CSCOPE curriculum, then we need to know more about RFL.  Are they a credible organization to do an independent review of CSCOPE, or do they have deep ties to Type #2 proponents? 

 (Please see the following article to get a clear understanding of the two types of philosophies of education – Type #1 and Type #2: 


When you get through reading the following information, you will see that RFL isNOT an independent nor qualified choice to review CSCOPE and that what we need is the elected members of the Texas State Board of Education to be charged with the responsibility of putting CSCOPE through the complete textbook (i.e., instructional materials) adoption process. This process involves the public release of all CSCOPE content (except tests and keys before they are administered) so that concerned citizens can submit their evaluations through public hearings.  The next step after that is for the SBOE members to prepare a list of errors/inappropriate content that the CSCOPE publishers must correct or pay a big penalty fine.


RFL is the Worm in the Apple

RFL is the Worm in the Apple


 Who is on the Resources for Learning team? http://resourcesforlearning.net/about/staff.php


Linda Wurzbach is the President of Resources for Learning. She used to work for the Council of Chief School Officers which is closely tied to Obama’s Common Core Standards.  She graduated from the University of Texas, taught in the Austin ISD, and worked for the Texas Education Agency (TEA).  Remember that it was some of the TEA staffers back in 1997 that pushed for the Type #2 curriculum standards.  I would imagine it is Wurzbach’s ties to a few  of the TEA staffers that got her foot in the door with TESCCC/CSCOPE.



Judy Jennings is the Director of Assessment for Resources for Learning.  She is working for Northside ISD and Region 20, has worked at the TEA and at Evaluation Software Publishing. Her field is statistics and psychometrics.  Nothing in her bio posted on RFL indicates that she has ever taught Science in the public schools.

This is the information that I found about Judy Jennings when she ran for the Texas State Board of Education. What this shows is that she is a leftist who has an ax to grind with the conservatives on the SBOE who worked so hard to adopt the new Type #1 ELAR, Science, Social Studies, and Math TEKS.

How can Judy Jennings do an independent review of CSCOPE curriculum when she obviously does not support the Type #1 TEKS?  In fact, she says that she would like to rescind the Type #1 TEKS. 

It is obvious from Jennings’ statements that she wants evolution taught as fact.  The new Type #1 Science TEKS require that students be taught not only the strengths of evolution but also the weaknesses and that evolution be taught as a theory – not as a fact. 

Jennings also does not support American exceptionalism in the new Type #1 Social Studies TEKS nor its emphasis on the heroes and heroines who make such good role models for our students.

The fact that Texas Freedom Network strongly supported Judy Jennings for the SBOE seat should give everyone pause.  To find out more about Texas Freedom Network, please go to: http://educationviews.org/2012/04/20/texas-freedom-network-has-lost-face-in-texas/


From Texas Freedom Network – 4.18.12 – SBOE Candidate: Judy Jennings —   http://tfninsider.org/2012/04/18/sboe-candidate-judy-jennings-2/

Statement by TFN:  Because of redistricting, all 15 seats on the Texas State Board of Education will be up for grabs in the November 2012 elections. The results of those elections will determine whether the religious right’s corrosive influence over public education will weaken or grow as the board considers what the next generation of public school students in Texas will learn about sex education, social studies, science and other subjects.

Extremists at the Wheel
A ultra-conservative Republicans on our Texas State Board of Education have rewritten the curriculum according to their own political agenda. Based on the advice of political extremists, they have muddled up the teaching of history, science, sex education … even math! But there is hope. Democrat Judy Jennings, a curriculum specialist, is running to bring rational decision making back to the board. She’ll take politics out of the classroom and make sure that teachers and experts are making sound curriculum decisions so our children


5.22.10 – From Judy Jennings’ own pen when she was running for the SBOE seat:

First of all, thank you to everyone who sent emails, signed petitions, spoke at the State Board of Education meeting, and did whatever they could to help save education in Texas. Unfortunately, the Board chose to ignore the pleas of thousands of historians, parents, and teachers to Put Our Kids First. Instead, they chose to make further ideological changes to the social studies curriculum. On Friday, the Board passed a curriculum that included amendments characterizing global organizations as “efforts to undermine U.S. sovereignty” through “forced redistribution of American wealth to third world countries.” They also required that students be taught about “the solvency of long-term entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare”…

The SBOE voted Friday to adopt Texas social studies standards that include their extremist agenda. The next two years provide additional opportunities for the State Board to make decisions based on ideology or on sound educational practice: science textbooks are scheduled for approval and adoption in 2011, social studies textbooks in 2012, and Career and Technology standards as well as Technology Applications standards will be approved in 2011. With your support, I plan to win the election this November to add one more voice of reason to the Board on behalf of the 4.7 million school children of Texas.

When I am elected to the Board I will insist on accuracy in the science and social studies textbooks that will be approved. I will also work to rescind the standards approved Friday. That will delay the implementation of the new curriculum and textbooks for a year while we go back to the standards originally proposed by the curriculum teams, and hold new public hearings. The current standards have been in place for ten years, and while I hate to delay one more year, I cannot let the students of Texas be subjected to personal ideology in the place of real history…


4.16.10 — “A Direct Conflict of Interest:  Judy Jennings and the Texas State Bd. of Ed.” — by Donna Garner

Judy Jennings (Democrat) is running against Marsha Farney (Republican) for the District 10 spot on the elected Texas State Board of Education.  The general election is November 2, 2010.

Judy Jennings has a Ph.D. in educational psychology which she receivedwhile working at the Texas Education Agency.

She is presently working for the Northside ISD, the Regional Education Service Center 20, and helped to manage the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) Texas High School Redesign and Restructuring Grant Program.

According to the Texas Education Agency’s online checkbook register,Resources for Learning (the company for which Judy Jennings is the Director of Assessment) was paid $1,170,619.18 from 2007-2010.

I believe the public deserves to know this information since Judy Jennings is running for a spot on the SBOE.  In my mind, Jennings is a type of vendor; and it is troubling to me that an education vendor tied to the TEA might be elected to the SBOE.  Both the TEA and the SBOE have either direct or indirect contact with multi-million dollar contracts.  Jennings and her company represent a definite conflict of interest.

Texas Education Agency Online check Register:   


Resources for Learning, LLC   $482, 437


Resources for Learning, LLC   $343,836


Resources for Learning, LLC   $220,152


Resources for Learning, LLC   $124,190
  TOTAL — 2007 – 2010 $1,170,617


Democrat Judy Jennings is what is called an “education establishment” candidate.  She is opposed to the voter-block on the SBOE that has put our Texas schools on the road to authentic education reform by rewriting the standards in English / Language Arts / Reading, Science, and Social Studies. 

If Jennings had been on the SBOE during these rewrites, she undoubtedly would have voted with the liberal SBOE members who have tried so hard to obstruct progress. 

As you read through the various education ties that Judy Jennings and the other staffers at Resources for Learning have, please consider how many of these ties could directly relate back to contracts from the TEA and to decisions made by the SBOE. 

How much objectivity could Judy Jennings give to her decisions on the SBOE when so many of her consultant ties would directly be impacted by her decisions? 

I do not believe a person with such conflicts of interest should be elected to the Texas State Board of Education.



8.30.10 – An article about Judy Jennings when she ran against Marsha Farney for the SBOE seat — http://wilcoconservative.blogspot.com/2010/08/desperate-democrats-smear-marsha-farney.html

Desperate Democrats Smear Marsha Farney: Updated

Wow, Democrats working for Judy Jennings, left-wing ideologue for State Board of Education, must be getting desperate.  Recently, they launched another push poll on the SBOE 10 race in which they ask if voters know that Dr. Marsha Farney “attended a white-supremacist rally” last Summer…  

These lefties are hoping that voters won’t ask which ‘white-supremacist rally,’ since they are actually referring to a Williamson County 4th of July weekend TEA Party Rally that was attended by U.S. Congressman John Carter,  and Texas House candidates Dr. Charles Schwertner and Larry Gonzales.  According to the Austin American Statesman, about 1,200 folks attended, and nary a white hood was in sight.




Tracy Laughlin is the Senior Project Manager for Resources for Learning.  She is the TEA’s project manager for Best Practices Clearinghouse. According to her bio, her fields are creative writing, communications, and program management/data analysis. She used to work for the Dana Center in Austin, Texas.  Nothing is mentioned in her bio about her ever having taught Science in the public schools.



Amy Guadagnoli, Director of Creative Services for Resources for Learning, has expertise in graphic design, web site development, and visual arts. Nothing is mentioned in her bio about her ever having taught Science in the public schools.



Emily Sartain is the Resource Associate for Resources for Learning. She is completing her BA at the U. of Texas.  Her field of expertise is sociology and preparing reports on evaluation and assessment projects.  Nothing is mentioned in her bio about her ever having taught Science in the public schools.  



Christy Cox is the Communication Specialist for Resources for Learning. Her area of expertise is in communications, customer service, and marketing. Nothing is mentioned in her bio about her ever having taught Science in the public schools.



Caryn Cavanaugh is the Director for Professional Development for Resources for Learning. Caryn is a former teacher, literacy supervisor, and assistant principal in an urban school district in New Jersey; but her particular expertise is in Balanced Literacy (Type #2) which is another term for whole language/guided reading that has been discredited by the NIH reading research. Texas’ new ELAR curriculum standards are built upon phonemic awareness/decoding skills and not upon balanced literacy/whole language/guided reading.  



By:  Rep. Steve Toth                                                                                            H.B. No. 760



relating to State Board of Education oversight of regional education service center services and products concerning student curriculum.


SECTION 1.  Subchapter B, Chapter 8, Education Code, is amended by adding Section 8.0531 to read as follows:

Sec. 8.0531.  STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION OVERSIGHT OF CURRICULUM-RELATED SERVICES AND PRODUCTS.  (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this subchapter or Section 8.001(c), the State Board of Education shall maintain oversight and direction of the activities of a regional education service center, acting alone or in collaboration with one or more other regional education service centers, concerning any service or product related to student curriculum.

(b)  A regional education service center, either alone or in collaboration with one or more other regional education service centers, may not develop, administer, or provide or authorize the development, administration, or provision by a public or private entity of a service or product related to student curriculum without State Board of Education approval, including approval of the form and content of the service or product, regardless of whether the service or product is provided online, in print, or in person.

SECTION 2.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2013.

Primary Author Date Filed  
Toth 01/28/2013  




Joint Authors Date Signed On  
Riddle 01/29/2013  
Bohac 01/30/2013  
Harper-Brown 01/30/2013  
Kolkhorst 01/30/2013  




Coauthors (21) Date Signed On  
Bell 02/01/2013  
Burkett 02/01/2013  
Capriglione 02/01/2013  
Fallon 02/01/2013  
Fletcher 02/01/2013  
Isaac 02/01/2013  
King, Phil 02/01/2013  
Klick 02/01/2013  
Laubenberg 02/01/2013  
Leach 02/01/2013  
Lozano 02/01/2013  
Miller, Rick 02/01/2013  
Paddie 02/01/2013  
Perry 02/01/2013  
Raney 02/01/2013  
Sanford 02/01/2013  
Simmons 02/01/2013  
Springer 02/01/2013  
Stephenson 02/01/2013  
White 02/01/2013  
Zedler 02/01/2013  

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Alice Linahan

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