Voices Empower


Date posted: June 14, 2013


Photo courtesy of the Texas Tribune


Please contact Gov. Rick Perry and ask him to veto HB 2103.  His contact information is posted here:  http://governor.state.tx.us/contact/  

As of today, 6.14.13, Gov. Perry has not yet vetoed HB 2103, HB 866, and HB 2836. (Please see information posted further on down the page for links to information about HB 866 and HB 2836.)  


To check the list of bills on Gov. Perry’s desk, please go to:  http://www.legis.state.tx.us/Reports/Report.aspx?LegSess=83R&ID=signedbygov



To:  Gov. Rick Perry

Re:  Please veto HB 2103

From:  Donna Garner

Date:  5.31.13





THE PROCESS: How did I decide that HB 2103 needs to be vetoed?  First, I had to figure out which version of HB 2103 had been passed as the final bill by the 83rd Legislative Session.  Next, I read the bill in its entirety, analyzed it, wrote a summary, and included my concerns, trying to capture the most troubling aspects.   


Please bear in mind that I am a staff of one, have no one to verify my articles, and do what I do because I care about the children of our state and nation.  I do not work for anyone and make not one penny from what I do. Whenever I can, I try to include documentation so that readers can verify for themselves the accuracy of my articles.


HB 2103 – Sharing of personal data with entities all across the United States




Villarreal/Branch/Seliger — 



This bill if passed would be a field day for hackers!  Also, liberal-left professors will most likely take over the Centers for Education Research projects; and all of our personal data will be shared among various agencies in Texas and in other states. The data shared can go back 20 years.




Basic Fact of Life:  The further that data gets away from the original source, the less people tend to protect it.



The data can include confidential information that is permitted under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (20 U.S.C. Section 1232g).


In a Washington Post article dated 3.13.13, (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/03/13/lawsuit-charges-ed-department-with-violating-student-privacy-rights/ ), the U. S. Dept. of Ed. Is being sued because of the changes made to the FERPA law under the Obama administration.  Now private companies and foundations under the cloak of “promoting school reform” are allowed to get access to private student (and teacher) information. No parental permission is required, and student ID’s are linked to their private information. 


A database funded by Bill Gates called iBloom, Inc. has already collected personal student data from seven states and will most likely morph into the national database under the Common Core Standards Initiative. 


According to the Washington Post article, tThe information already collected “holds files on millions of children identified by name, address and sometimes social security number. Learning disabilities are documented, test scores recorded, attendance noted. In some cases, the database tracks student hobbies, career goals, attitudes toward school – even homework completion.”



This bill sets up cooperating agencies including the Texas Education Agency (TEA), the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), and the Texas Workforce Commission  (TWC) that will share data. 


Three centers for education research (CER’s) will be set up to conduct research using the data from the TEA, THECB, and TWC that goes back at least 20 years.


The data will be known as the P-20/Workforce Data Repository and will be operated by the Higher Education Coordinating Board.


The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board will establish three centers for education research (CER’s) to conduct studies and share education data, including college admission tests and data from the National Student Clearinghouse. The CER’s must operate for at least a 10-year period of time.


The Commissioner of the THECB will create, chair, and maintain an advisory board over the three research centers that must approve by majority vote all research studies and/or evaluations conducted.


The advisory board will meet at least quarterly and will be live streamed. 


The Advisory Board will consist of:


A representative from the THECB, designated by the commissioner of higher education


A representative from the TEA, designated by the Commissioner of Education


A representative from the Texas Workforce Commission, designated by the commission


The directors of each of the three education research centers or the director’s designee


A representative from preschool, elementary, or secondary education


Research proposals can come from a qualified Texas researcher or from other states, a graduate student, a P-16 Council representative, or from a researcher who says the research will benefit Texas education (Pre-K through 16).


These research centers can be at a public junior college, public senior college or university, a public state college, or a consortium of all.

Data Collection


The data collected by these three education research centers can come from:


cooperating agencies


public or private colleges/universities


school districts


a provider of services to a school district or public or private institution of higher education


an entity approved as a part of the research project


After the three research centers are established, they must be supported by gifts and grants. 


The data agreements are supposed to protect the confidentiality of all information used or stored at these centers and is subject to state and federal confidentiality laws.  However, we know there have been hundreds of hacking incidents and the free sharing of personal information by many agencies. 


Basic Fact of Life:  The further that data gets away from the original source, the less people tend to protect it.


The data is not to be removed or duplicated from a research center without authorization. 


State education agencies from other states can negotiate agreements for these Texas education research centers to share Texas data. 


The research centers can also form agreements with local agencies or organizations that provide education services to Texas students, including relevant data about former students of Texas public schools. 


HB 2103 is to take effect immediately. 

6.12.13 — Alice Linahan Communication Team Conference Call – Hosted by Women on the Wall


Special Guest Merrill Hope – A mad mom who exposes the Common Core Standards and the way it is codified in education codes in California and in other states



6.2.13 – “Gov. Perry, Please Veto HB 866 (the destruction of measuring stick at each grade level in Grades 3 – 8)  and HB 2836 (taking away authority over curriculum standards from elected SBOE member)”  — http://nocompromisepac.ning.com/profiles/blogs/gov-perry-please-veto-hb-866-and-hb-2836-from-donna-garner-6-2-13?xg_source=activity




10.3.13 — “Adults Must Protect Our Country’s Children”  — by Donna Garner —http://educationviews.org/adults-must-protect-our-countrys-children/



“Comparison of Two Types of Education – Traditional/Type #1 vs. CSCOPE/Common Core Standards/Type #2” — http://educationviews.org/2-types-of-education-philosophies-chart/




Link to Texas Education Code: http://portals.tea.state.tx.us/page.aspx?id=920&bc=506


Is Common Core in Texas? You Bet it is. 

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News Conference – Texas Grassroots Leaders Deliver “Open Letter to Governor Rick Perry”

Date posted: September 18, 2011



Photo Courtesy of Gage Skidmore

Contact:  JoAnn Fleming, Chair of the Texas Legislature’s TEA Party Caucus Advisory Committee and volunteer Executive Director, Grassroots America – We the People 


What: News Conference – Texas Grassroots Leaders Deliver “Open Letter to Governor Rick Perry”

Subject: Governor Perry and the Unfinished Business of the Texas Legislature:  Interior Enforcement of Illegal Immigration Laws and Ending Sanctuary Cities

Where: Texas State Capitol, Speaker’s Press Room

When: Monday, September 19th, 11:00 am

At the close of the 2011 regular and special legislative sessions, a broad coalition of local grassroots organizations in Texas signed an open letter calling on Texas Governor Rick Perry to address the urgent unfinished business of emergency legislation personally identified by Governor Perry at the beginning of the 82nd legislative session – namely, a ban on “sanctuary city” policies in Texas.  Since the letter was posted, over 3,000 local activists have signed on to the letter, including representatives of over 100 local tea party, 9-12 and related grassroots groups.  Some of the signers will be present to address media questions before personally delivering the letters to Governor Perry’s office. A copy of the letter will also be forwarded to his campaign for President.

Two of the leaders who will speak at the news conference:

Maria Espinoza, Co-Founder of The Remembrance Project

“My father migrated from Mexico, legally, and became a U.S. citizen. He came to the US because he knew the great opportunities America offered.   Today, things are very wrong in Texas! Our elected officials have failed to serve and protect citizens and legal residents of Texas. They have failed to remove sanctuary city policies throughout Texas. They have failed to enforce the law. They should protect our Texas families and those who protect us – law enforcement officers. Sanctuary city policies have cost the lives of five Houston police officers and left another officer seriously impaired.   It is time our state officials took care of this unfinished business.”  


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Pushback Against Bachmann’s Gardasil Statement

Date posted: September 14, 2011

By Donna Garner

Today’s pushback of Michele Bachmann has come from a writer named Ben Howe who has posted a caustic article on RedState: Bachmann Stayed Quiet on Mandatory Vaccinations While Serving Minnesota

Michele Bachmann did strongly criticize Rick Perry during the CNN Republican debate (9.12.11) for his executive order in 2.2.07 that required sixth-grade girls to receive HPV/Gardasil vaccinations before being allowed to enter Texas ’ public schools. 

Today’s pushback from Ben Howe condemns Bachmann for not speaking out about Minnesota ’s mandate in 1993 that requires Hepatitis B vaccinations without a parental opt-out. 


VIDEO:   Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum take on Rick Perry on HPV Vaccine Mandate during CNN Tea Party Debate 

What has been lost in the innuendo is that Michele Bachmann was not in the Minnesota Legislature in 1993. She did not get elected to the Minnesota State Senate until 2000. 

In 1993, Bachmann had been a tax attorney since 1988 and left that practice to be a full-time mom with five children of her own and numerous foster care children. 

Back in 1993 when the Minnesota legislature passed the Hepatitis B mandate, Bachmann had no “voice.”  She did not have the “microphone” to take a public stand against the Hepatitis B requirement. She was not a politician; she was a busy and involved mother.  

So much for Ben Howe’s misdirected allegations today — 

Gov. Rick Perry was in error when he signed an executive order on February 2, 2007 mandating that sixth grade girls be given the HPV/Gardasil vaccine before being allowed to enroll in Texas public schools. 

At a legislative hearing in that same month, Executive Commissioner of Health and Human Services Hawkins (waiting for confirmation) was asked whether HPV was a true communicable disease.  He answered, “…HPV is not a communicable disease and, in fact, is a sexually transmitted disease that poses no threat to anyone without sexual contact.”  During his questioning of Hawkins , Texas Senator Glenn Hegar also noted that the Gardasil vaccine provides at best only 70% prevention against cervical cancer and only 90% prevention against genital warts. 

Certainly parents are the ones who should make such a serious decision for their children.  HPV/Gardasil vaccinations are tied to the whole concept of abstinence-until-marriage vs. sexual promiscuity on the part of teens. 

Parents who give their 6th graders an HPV vaccination are basically sending a message to their children that they expect them to be sexually active. That can be a deadly message to send to children when caring parents ought to be clearly communicating the abstinence-until-marriage message for many reasons, one of which is so that teens will remain free from a whole host of terribly serious sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS, Chlamydia, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), genital herpes, chancroid, syphilis, and gonorrhea. 

When Gardasil was pushing their well-planned marketing scheme throughout the country in 2006-2007 by manipulating and funneling money through Women in Government (an organization for state and national female politicians), there were already clear-thinking citizens who knew Gardasil had certainly not had time to do any long-term, longitudinal studies done on young girls because the FDA had only approved the vaccine on June 8, 2006.   

The public’s fears were confirmed on 10.4.09 at the 4th International Public Conference on Vaccination (Reston, Virginia) when Dr. Diane Harper, the lead researcher of Gardasil (and Cervarix), stated, “The controversial drugs will do little to reduce cervical cancer rates and, even though they’re being recommended for girls as young as nine, there have been no efficacy trials in children under the age of 15.”  

Dr. Harper went on to say that Merck studied only a small number of girls under 16 who had been vaccinated with Gardasil but did not follow them long enough to conclude that the vaccine produced a sufficient number of HPV antibodies.

Another considerable problem arose for Gov. Perry when the cost of the Gardasil shots was brought to light. A series of three doses would have cost $360 per patient.  Low-income Texans would have had their shots paid for by the taxpayers — $72 Million a year ($29 Million in state dollars and $43 Million in federal dollars).

Some in the Texas Legislature made a concerted effort to get Gov. Perry’s attention (e.g., Hegar, Nelson, Delisi, Keffer, Zerwas).  On 2.9.07, Tex. Rep. Glenn Hegar sent out a press release in which he questioned how the Texas Director of Health and Human Services was going to implement the mandate when Gardasil’s own literature warned against giving the vaccine if the young girls were already pregnant.  Legislators wanted to know what agency would the state use to make sure sixth-grade, low-income girls receiving the taxpayer-paid “free” HPV vaccines were not pregnant before receiving the vaccine.  No state officials stepped forth to answer that question.

Finally on 5.9.07, Gov. Perry sent out a press release (that included a hard-hitting video in support of the HPV mandate) but said begrudgingly that he would not veto HB 1098 in which the Texas Legislature rescinded Perry’s executive order. 

Up until he began his run for the Presidency, Gov. Perry evidently still believed the Merck/Gardasil talking points; and I think he genuinely thought he was helping to spare the lives of women.  Unfortunately, he ignored the documented reports of adverse reactions and deaths from the Gardasil vaccine. 

On 8.15.11, Gov. Perry said he made a mistake when he ordered sixth-grade girls to get the HPV vaccination and that he should have gone through the legislative process. 

9.14.11, 11:00 A. M. — BREAKING NEWS: 

Legislation Introduced to Restore Abstinence Funding

September 14, 2011
Washington DC

Yesterday, legislation was announced on the floor of the House of Representatives that will restore funding for Abstinence –Centered Education by reallocating prevention funds for this purpose.  The Abstinence-Centered Education Reallocation Act, sponsored by Rep. Randall Hultgren (R-IL), is a bill that will put a priority on the sexual risk avoidance message found in abstinence programs. “ Since President Obama chose to eliminate all funding for abstinence education, this bill is a welcome sign that sexual risk avoidance can once again be the primary prevention message that youth will receive in classrooms across America,” stated Valerie Huber, Executive Director of the National Abstinence Education Association( NAEA).

The bill follows a recent HHS study, The National Survey of Adolescents and Their Parents which reported that 70% of parents and nearly as many teens support the abstinence until marriage message. It also acknowledges the recent CDC report that shows teens are increasingly choosing abstinence with 68% of boys and 67% of girls ages 15-17 reporting that they have not had sex. “NAEA applauds the leadership of Rep. Hultgren who has taken legislative action to support these positive trends in the healthy decisions teens are making,” added Huber. “We encourage other Members of Congress to co-sponsor the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act of 2011 and urge the House to quickly approve the federal sex education policy change called for in this bill.”

Click here to read the bill.



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Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott interviewed by Rick Hess

Date posted: September 9, 2011

Photo Courtesy of The Examiner- Austin


By Donna Garner 

It would be a terrible loss for Texas to lose Commissioner Scott; but if he were chosen as the new U. S. Secretary of Education under a Republican President, our entire country would benefit.  

I believe the first thing U. S. Sect. of Education Robert Scott would do would be to cut the power and control of the U. S. Department of Education over those decisions that should be made by states and locals.   

The next thing U. S. Sect. Scott would do would be to put the USDOE on a “fiscal diet.”  Under Gov. Perry and Commissioner Scott, the Texas Education Agency has undergone a complete reorganization and has cut 333 actual jobs — a 32% cut in TEA personnel, yet the Agency is still able to function efficiently.  

Below is Rick Hess’ interview with Commissioner Scott, and I have posted my own comments toward the bottom of the page.  

EducationWeek’s blogs:Straight Up Conversation: Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott


By Rick Hess on September 8, 2011


Robert Scott has been the commissioner of education in Texas since 2007. Before that, he was interim commissioner from 2003 to 2004 and chief deputy commissioner from 2004 to 2007 until he was appointed commissioner. 

Of late, Texas has been in the news for any number of high-profile decisions, including passing on Race to the Top, not signing onto the Common Core state standards, and opting out of the Council of Chief State School Officers. 

Especially with Texas Governor Rick Perry now drawing attention as the newly installed favorite in the Republican presidential field, including some harsh words from the Secretary of Education, I thought it’d be a good time to chat with Scott about his take on things. Here’s what he had to say. 

Rick Hess: As you know, Secretary Duncan recently criticized Texas’s schools, saying that they have “really struggled” under Governor Perry and that “far too few of their high school graduates are actually prepared to go on to college.” He said, “You have seen massive increases in class size” and that “I feel very, very badly for the children there.” Did Duncan get it right? What was your reaction to his comments? 

Robert Scott: I corrected him because he made several glaring errors. He talked about our graduation rates being among the worst in the nation. I pointed out that if you look at the [National Governors Association] rate, which is the rate all fifty governors agreed to, out of only twenty-six states that had reported as of 2009, we were ranked seventh. 

And we have an 84.3 percent on-time graduation rate, which is far better than many other states. And I think this year, when you see other states finally having to report that, you’ll notice a significant increase in Texas’ position nationally. 

I also pointed out the NAEP scores bear out that our African American students tied Massachusetts for number one on the math NAEP, [and in eighth grade science] our Hispanic students were eighth [and] our Anglo students…were second only behind the Department of Defense schools. And so, I simply pointed out that his generalizations were wrong. 

RH: Any idea what prompted Duncan’s remarks? 

RS: I can’t speak to motivations. He might have just called an audible himself and decided he was just going to go off and criticize Texas. The unfortunate part about it was the timing. It was three days before we went back to school. I was trying to focus on back to school as a very positive time for kids and parents, and I think when you send that kind of message out right around back to school it’s counterproductive. 

RH: Governor Perry’s decision to join the Presidential contest has turned the spotlight on Texas schools. What are one or two things you are most enthusiastic about having the nation see? 

RS: I think continually raising standards…and continuing to do that with end-of-course implementation. That will present its challenges, but I think it’s the right thing to do. 

We’re implementing a brand new assessment and accountability system so that we are actually starting to evolve beyond what is just happening on a standardized test. 

Our new accountability system will reward school districts and acknowledge them for high-quality career and tech programs, high-quality fine arts programs. 

Those are the things I’m most excited about. Moving beyond just the core standardized test areas and talking about what else is going on in the school. 

RH: So how does that look in practice? How do you do it? 

RS: We’re putting together teams of educators in each of the areas that we’re going to have a distinction award in. They will come up with the standards that schools are measured by to show what is a high-quality career and tech program, what is a high quality fine arts program. 

We have our state academic competition for the university interscholastically. That may be a component. Making regionals or semi-finals, that might be a standard that we look to for recognition. 

One other thing that we just implemented is called Project Share. It’s a statewide portal where educators and students can go online to access professional development and information. We’ve got ties to NASA, the Smithsonian, the National Archives, PBS. We’ve got about 355,000 teachers and 100,000 students with accounts now, and by the end of the year we’ll have one million students with accounts. And they’ll be able to create e-portfolios of their work. So if they are a career tech student or a fine arts student they will be able to document their successes and their work throughout the school year and throughout their academic career. So it will be about what happens [in schools] on every other day besides the test day. 

RH: And is the plan that those materials can then be shared with their next grade-level teacher, or for college admissions? 

RS: There’s that. And let’s say students get together and design a model of a bridge. The teacher can invite an architect to come in and critique the design. So they can get feedback and encouragement from both educators and professionals. 

RH: What have been the biggest challenges for Texas schools? 

RS: As with many other states, our changing demographics present a challenge. I also think we present ourselves with challenges by continuing to raise the bar. And the end-of-course exams will be a bit of a shock. They will be very rigorous, so that’s a challenge we’ve created for ourselves. And the big point will be where we set the cut score initially and how fast do we raise that over time. 

RH: Some Texas teachers and parents have suggested that budget cuts have had a devastating effect. What do you make of these concerns? 

RS: Well, I think the initial budget cut that was proposed was far different from what actually happened at the end of the legislative session. The supposed cut right now is actually a cut to an increase. It’s an age-old question of government, is a cut to a proposed increase actually a cut? 

What the legislature actually did was provide enough additional revenue to fill the hole left by the absent stimulus fund. So they actually put more for general revenue in and were able to level [school] funding. 

I testified before the finance and appropriations committee that the initial cut was too much, and asked them to restore six billion dollars. I said that was about what you’d need to implement the new assessment and accountability system, and they ended up funding it at that level. 

So I think you’re seeing more districts recognizing the cuts were not as severe as they [were expected to be], and across the state I have seen evidence of districts hiring back teachers. 

RH: So, how big a cut was this? 

RS: For an average district, it is anywhere from three to six percent per year [from what they had anticipated]. So it’s not a monumental cut to the proposed increase, but it’s still a belt tightening exercise for any district in the state of Texas. This is what I know about working in government. Government tends to grow upon itself. And every now and then it is very healthy to prune, just like you would to a tree or bush that’s growing out of control. It is a healthy exercise to occasionally trim back. 

RH: Texas’ stance on Common Core has drawn a lot of attention. Can you say a bit about why you have chosen not to sign on? 

RS: Initially they asked us to sign on the standards that hadn’t been written yet. Having been involved in standards development for over two decades this seemed crazy to me–signing onto something you can’t see. 

And then you look at our law. Our law requires that when we develop standards we include teachers, parents, the business community, and citizens across the state. I could not have fulfilled the requirements of my state law by adopting the Common Core because the people of Texas didn’t get a seat at that table. Parents and teachers and business leaders weren’t at that table to help draft those standards.

I think they have a fine goal…But I also see the downside in that they are going to lock themselves in to a very monolithic system that is going to be very difficult to change and be very costly to change over time. 

In essence they are going to be Microsoft. If so, I want to be Apple. I want to be adaptive, innovative. I told [Common Core supporters] to consider us the control group. I have no malice towards any of them; some of my dear friends are working on this project. I just said we were going to sit it out, and then the [Department of Education] came out and said…we have to do this for Race to the Top, and if you want a waiver for No Child Left Behind you have to do this in some way. So I was skeptical of it and remain skeptical. 

RH: It raised eyebrows when you opted out of both rounds of Race to the Top. Can you say a little about what your thinking was? And whether it was a decision made by you, by the Governor, or whomever. 

RS: It was a decision made by Governor Perry with my full support. And I made the recommendation after reading the application and seeing the things that Texas does really well receiving very little points. And the things we were going to opt not to do, receiving a number of points, including Common Core. It didn’t make sense for us to put that much effort into an application that we would not be favorably viewed upon. And in the end it worked itself out because the only state west of the Mississippi that won Race to the Top was Hawaii. 

RH: You’ve expressed some concerns about the Obama administration’s School Improvement Grants strategy. Can you elaborate? 

RS: Well, the four turnaround models are basically the same four models we have been using in Texas for years. In some cases they’ll work and in some cases they won’t. The key is flexibility. 

In one case in Houston we had a campus that went from five years low performing to the second highest rating you can get in our system within one year. That certainly worked. The key to that, I think, was the change in the atmosphere and climate on the campus. But also having someone in the central office who can cut through the bureaucracy.

And we’ve learned that [it doesn’t necessarily work] when you try to lock in a model and say, “This is the model and to implement this model you have to fire the principal no matter what.” We look at that and say, “What if the principal just got there last year? Or we’re seeing pretty significant growth?” 

RH: Broadly speaking, why does it seem that you’ve been so resistant to federal initiatives like RTT and SIG? 

RS: Having worked in DC I understand firsthand what it feels like. You have access to enormous amounts of information, and I think over time people tend to mistake access to massive amounts of information for wisdom.

And they tend to get that “inside the beltway” mentality. And I think my resistance has been that innovation begins at the local and state level. And I don’t think you can innovate from Austin, Texas, in a school district any more than you can in Washington, DC. I think you have to have local buy from your teachers and parents in order to really affect long lasting education reform. 

RH: It sounds like you don’t have a particular problem with the Obama administration’s approach so much as efforts to drive reform from Washington more generally. 

RS: That’s right. I even told [Duncan] this, the first time I met him, which was right after he took office and he laid out his four education reform priorities. And I walked up to him and said, “You are right on target, these are exactly the things I want to be working on.” My difference with the administration is how we get there. I think their target was right on for education reform; I just disagree on how we get there. 

RH: Last question. During your time as commissioner, are there any big lessons that stand out? 

RS: The big thing that stands out for me is that there is no such thing as a magic bullet in education. Anyone that tells you this one thing will change the course of your education system is either delusional or is lying to you. The other idea is that true reform is something that takes place over time and it has to be built upon and it isn’t something that happens overnight. Standards based reform is something that is a destination and it takes a long time to get there. But you have to be patient when you do it. You can’t just say we’re going to pass a ninety percent passing standard in year one and then scrap everything in year two when you don’t get there. You try to build over time. You try to meet the kids where they are today and then raise standards over time and push the system along as you go.





DONNA GARNER - Educator for 33 years, appointed by President Reagan, Now Activist Writer


As I have said earlier, it would be a huge blow to Texas to lose Commissioner Scott; but I believe the U. S. Department of Education would look completely different under his leadership as Secretary of Education.   


Because I have been highly involved with the standards movement for some time (particularly in Texas), I know the type of leadership that Scott has given to our state.  It was after Gov. Perry appointed Robert Scott as Texas Commissioner of Education that our state began its intentional trek into authentic education reform.


Texas now has the best English / Language Arts / Reading (ELAR), Science, and Social Studies standards in the United States.  Math standards are in the pipeline.


The new ELAR textbooks are making their way into our public schools, and the new supplementary Science materials and Social Studies textbooks are coming very soon. 


The newly developed STAAR/End-of-Course exams built upon the new knowledge-based, academic, grade-level-specific, and explicit curriculum standards will be administered statewide in Spring 2012.


Texas now requires 4 x 4 graduation requirements of almost all high-school students (4 years of ELAR, Science, Social Studies, Math plus foreign languages, P.E., Fine Arts, Speech), but the students can choose the remainder of their classes (5 ½ credits) from a wide range of Career and Technology electives. 


I support Gov. Rick Perry and Commissioner Robert Scott’s education philosophy. They believe that students who graduate from Texas’ high schools must be well grounded with four rigorous years in the core academic curriculum; but the exciting and innovative thing is that high-school students in our state now get to choose from a wide range of electives for their other 5 ½ high-school credits.  


By taking the electives of their choice, our Texas students have the opportunity to experiment with different career/technology fields; and these experiences will help them determine the direction they want to take in the future.


Gov. Perry and Commissioner Scott believe that all students need to be well educated and informed citizens and that all high-school students need to pass their four years of core curriculum and accompanying end-of-course tests. 


This is a very different philosophy from the one being espoused by Marc Tucker and those behind the Common Core Standards (CCS).  Their philosophy is to have students take twoyears of high school and then head on off as 16-year olds to what is called “community college” courses and/or career/technology schools instead of taking those last two years of rigorous capstone high-school courses.  


(Remember that our Texas public schools have new-and-rigorous requirements that freshmen through seniors must satisfy; and to meet the graduation requirements, students must take a full school day of courses during each of the four years in high school.)


Under the Common Core Standards, what kind of citizens and voters will these 16-year olds make who have not been required to take the rigorous capstone courses in their freshmen through senior years? 


What if a student decides in the midst of his “dumbed down” CCS plan that he actually wants to go to a top-tier university?  He will have missed those all-essential four years of rigorous courses that will help him get admitted to and be successful in a top-tier university.  The student will be shackled into a CCS vocational choice that will limit his horizons for the rest of his life.  


More importantly, what kind of American citizens and voters will masses of these “dumbed down, CCS” students make?


What kind of judgment will these CCS “graduates” demonstrate in the life-altering decisions that affect the future of the entire United States?   


If Congress would vote tomorrow to cease funding for the Common Core Standards, Race to the Top, the national assessments, and the national database, then all states could set about building new academic standards for their public school students; and states could choose to follow the 4 x 4 rigorous model that has been implemented in Texas under Gov. Rick Perry and Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott.     


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Agenda Wise – Ascension Name ID rising

Date posted: September 8, 2011

Agenda Wise.com as “NEW MEDIA” is doing work that the “OLD MEDIA” will not. Take Ascension as a Perfect Example.

“Knowledge is Power” and as we move into election season there are issues we must be aware of before the crisis occurs so we can be better prepared to hold our elected officials accountable.

Ascension - Agenda Wise Reports.com

The media has begun to write about ascension, the process by which Rick Perry and David Dewhurst are replaced if they win in 2012.

Photo courtesy of Note and Point

This wasn’t the plan. Normally, the insiders in the Austin lobby and media keep Texans in the dark and do what they want, living by the old maxim “it is better to ask forgiveness than permission”.

The days of keeping Texans in the dark are coming to an end thanks to new media outlets and activists reporting on things that are ignored by the media and stifled by the lobby.

Weston Hicks first wrote about ascension in early August and filled out a series of scenarios for Texans, including many things that still haven’t become part of the discussion and likely won’t until later.

Insiders are now shifting around in their seats.

A week ago the Fort Worth Star wrote that if both Perry and Dewhurst won, “two statewide officeholders would have to be replaced simultaneously.” This is not completely accurate since each would take their new positions in D.C. at different times in January and in this case that’s important.

This week Austin “insiders” began picking their winners. They will try to end the debate before Texans have a chance to be educated or engage in the selection process.

Perhaps Senators will make a pledge, like State Reps do for House Speaker, so they can morally bind themselves to a bad choice. This gives them an excuse to constituents who can’t figure out why a far-off vote, the most important one, is predetermined to contradict consituents’ wishes.

Here’s a hint to Texans on these “pledges”: they smell wrong because they are wrong.

Texans needed to know about ascension possibilities sooner rather than later. We also need to know about the games that will be played to keep citizens out of the process. Insiders only monopolize things that stay unknown. Ascention needs to become dinner table conversation in Texas.

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Daniel Greer

Daniel Greer is Executive Director of AgendaWise. Previously, Daniel worked for Empower Texans, a non-profit direct advocacy group focused on fiscal policy in Texas. He holds a B.A. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin. A native Texan, Daniel is a member of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, played baseball at St. Edwards University, and lives in Austin with his wife Karen and their two dogs. You can reach him at dgreer@agendawise.com.
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