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Looks like SBOE Vice Chairman Thomas Ratliff is a little Testy over CSCOPE

Date posted: June 14, 2013

Looks like SBOE (State Board of Education) Vice Chairman Thomas Ratliff is a little testy today. Interesting isn’t it? Please see the press release below that came out today by Ratliff. Although, before I get to that please let me connect a few dots for you with the Education Bureaucracy in Texas. The Ratliffs are the Education Clan of Texas.

Listen to this audio and then keep reading….

 

Let me introduce you to Daddy Ratliff – Ex-Texas Senator Bill Ratliff

Raise Your Hand AdBill along with Ex-Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Moses founded the “Raise Your Hand” non-profit back in 2007 which raised eyebrows because they had a history in Education that many will not forget. Below are excerpts from Donna Garner’s 2007 article Raise Your Hand for a Hand Out”

NEW SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP FORMED

Ratliff and Moses are continuing to swill from the education trough by forming a new organization called Raise Your Hand to pressure the people for more tax dollars for Texas’ public schools.  Have these two gentlemen any credibility on the subject?   

William Murchison said it best in the 2.16.07 Lone Star Report, “…keep a country mile away from Raise Your Hand, and from Bill Ratliff, and from Mike Moses, whose solution for dealing with a sinking boat is to pour some more water in the gunwales.”

Before we citizens put our trust in Raise Your Hand, let’s do a quick study of its leaders, Ratliff and Moses. 

RATLIFF: ROBIN HOOD, LOSS OF LOCAL CONTROL BY TEACHERS

Not only did Ratliff author the failed and oft-maligned Robin Hood Plan, but he also drafted SB 1 in 1995 which stripped local teachers of control over what they taught.  

RATLIFF: LOSS OF CONTROL BY LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS

As the author of SB 1, Ratliff is also responsible for taking the authority away from elected local school boards and placing that power into the hands of unelected superintendents. 

No longer do locally elected school board members have any real control over the all-important issues of personnel hiring and district curriculum decisions.

Local school board members’ duties have basically been reduced to (1) hiring and firing the superintendent, (2) buying and selling property, and (3) setting board policy (e.g., those items which involve board members themselves – elections, vacancies on the board, travel and reimbursement policies, etc.).  

RATLIFF:  LOSS OF CONTROL BY ELECTED SBOE

At the state level, Ratliff tried for years to replace the elected State Board of Education (SBOE) with an appointed one.  Appointed boards really do not care what voters want. They will do the will of whoever appoints them and of the lobbyists who orchestrate from a distance.    

 Ratliff’s SB 1 reduced the authority of the elected SBOE and enhanced the power of the unelected Texas Commissioner of Education who at the time was Ratliff’s joined-at-the-hip ally, Mike Moses. 

 Ratliff always pretended that the SBOE had lost control over textbook content; and until Attorney General Greg Abbott’s 2006 opinion, the SBOE was shut out of fulfilling its lawful responsibilities.  For eleven years the Board labored under Ratliff’s false interpretation; and during that time, numerous inferior textbooks were placed in front of our Texas students.   

Because of Ratliff’s influence on SB 1, elected SBOE members cannot even elect their own chairperson; the Governor appoints one.  

RATLIFF: TAXPAYER-ENRICHED OPPORTUNIST

Ratliff is a registered lobbyist (http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/dfs/loblists.htm) and has made large sums of money from a number of clients including the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB).  Having retired from the Texas Senate in 2003, he began representing TASB on May 10, 2004.  That year he received up to $99,999.99 from TASB, and again in 2005, and 2006.  

We taxpayers paid Ratliff’s rich lobbying fees because the membership dues that education entities pay to join TASB come from our taxpayers’ dollars. 

Because the TASB dues come from public funds, we taxpayers are actually paying TASB to lobby Legislators for more school funding so that our taxes will increase.  We are paying to lobby ourselves!

It just so happens that Bennett Ratliff the youngest brother in the Ratliff clan is a Freshman State Representative that the infamous Speaker of the House Joe Straus appointed to the Education Committee. Wow isn’t that a coincidence. Oh by the way the chair of the House Ed. Comm., Rep. Jimmy Don Aycock, has a daughter who is a lobbyist for Raise Your Hand as well.  No wonder Senator Dan Patrick believed there was no way that Rep. Steve Toth’s bill which gave the SBOE over-site of CSCOPE would ever pass in the house.  Thank goodness for Texas Mom Kara Sands who worked the bill  through and got it passed with tenacity and conviction.

THE RATLIFF CLAN AND THEIR COHORTS 

“Unfortunately, the Ratliff family (Bill, Thomas, Bennett, Shannon) are heavily vested in Raise Your Hand and in other political entities that have managed to influence our Texas Legislators, particularly during this 83rd Session.”

So let’s get to Thomas Ratliff and why he may be a little testy. You see Thomas Ratliff; Bill’s son -you know the one who was ruled by the Attorney General to be on the State Board of Education illegally because he is a paid lobbyist for Microsoft,  yea that one. He had a press release that came out today… see below.

He is not very happy that CSCOPE has been brought under the microscope and lessons have been pulled. Connect this dot – The RATLIFF’S  ARE TIED TO BILL GATES AND MICROSOFT

You know the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that is the lead funder for the transformation of Education in America called Common Core.  It has been reported that “a Gates Foundation-funded project  is storing an unprecedented amount of personal information about millions of students in a $100 million database that cannot guarantee complete security.”

Even in Texas a state that rejected Common Core just passed HB2103. This bill is sitting on Gov. Perry’s desk for his signature. HB2103 sets up three P20 education research centers that in the name of education research have access to private data on both students and teachers.  Please listen to this short audio explaining it. https://soundcloud.com/alice-linahan/donna-garner-hb-2103

CSCOPE in Texas was the testing ground for the platform that is to be used in other states.

From Texas Mom Colleen Vera’s article here are Three examples from their business models:

  • CSCOPE uses public funds to run a private non-profit corporation to hide its operations from the public
  • CSCOPE started as a simple service to local school districts and spread to over 800 districts statewide with plans of expanding out of state.
  • The legality of CSCOPE’s actions are highly suspect, access local tax dollars to give to a private non-profit corporation instead of distributing the funds directly to the ISDs  as dictated by Texas Education Code 18.14.

So now the light is being shined and the Ratliff Clan is not happy. After listening to the recommendation of SBOE Thomas Ratliff for districts to download CSCOPE lessons and then listening to Sen. Dan Patrick’s response linked here. I would suggest we all call Attorney General Greg Abbott and let him know it is time for the Ratcliff clan to be held responsible. Let’s start with removing Thomas Ratliff from the SBOE. 

Contact the Attorney General Greg Abbott to the following addresses: greg.abbott@oag.state.tx.us or public.information@oag.state.tx.us 

Greg Abbott Campaign Office: 512.477.2002

You can tweet the AG at @GregAbbott_TX or post in the comments section on his FB Attorney General Greg Abbott

 

See Thomas Ratliff’s press release today – “WHAT A BULLY”

Thomas Ratliff

P.O. Box 232        State Board of Education        tel:  (903) 717-1190

Mt. Pleasant, TX 75456        Vice-Chairman        www.thomasratliff.com

 

NO BULLYING POLICIES AND BURNING BOOKS

By Thomas Ratliff, Vice Chairman, Texas State Board of Education

Our country was founded on a “no-bullying” policy when our founders stood up to an English King who tried to bully us. Our military has helped other countries stand up to bullies throughout history. Even today, every Texas public school has a “no bullying” policy for protection of their students.

It’s time for parents, educators, and school board members to stand up to another bully. Senator Dan Patrick. To be fair, there are some things he has done to help public education. However, the majority of his efforts are designed to bully all of us to agree with him on things like vouchers, taxpayer savings grants, charter schools, and finally CSCOPE. Senator Patrick, who has no schools who use CSCOPE in his district, first set out to “improve” but ultimately destroyed a tool used by 80% of the school districts in Texas. I have referred to his effort as a “21st century book burning.” Let me explain.

In 1933, the German Student Association proclaimed a nationwide “Action against the Un-German Spirit”, which was to climax in a literary purge or “cleansing” by fire. The students described the “action” as a response to a worldwide “smear campaign” against Germany and an affirmation of “traditional German values.” In a symbolic act, the students burned upwards of 25,000 volumes of “un-German” books, presaging an era of state censorship and control of culture. At the meeting places, students threw the pillaged and unwanted books into the bonfires with great joyous ceremony.

Let’s fast-forward 80 years. Earlier this year, Senator Patrick held Senate hearings intended to grill supporters and creators of CSCOPE about a variety of issues. Some of the issues were legitimate, others contrived, exaggerated or taken out of context. He later went on Fox News to talk about the hearings and there was a banner below the Senator’s face that read, “Texas Lawmakers hold hearings into allegedly anti-American curriculum.” Then, just last month he held a press conference celebrating the “end of the CSCOPE era.” You could even call it a joyous ceremony. At the press conference, Senator Patrick even said, “What the legislature has learned…is we have to monitor what is being taught in our classrooms before the fact very closely with the same scrutiny as we did with our textbooks in the past.”

Back to 1933. The burning of the books represented a culmination of the persecution of those authors whose verbal or written opinions were opposed to a particular ideology. Many artists, writers and scientists were banned from working and publication. Their works could no longer be found in libraries or in the curricula of schools or universities. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

Who were some of the persecuted authors? Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Earnest Hemingway and Upton Sinclair. Not exactly radicals.

I think a quote by Upton Sinclair clearly describes what is happening here. His quote, “It’s difficult to get a man to understand something when his paycheck depends on his not understanding it.” If you substitute the word “paycheck” with “re-election” “conservative rating” or “number of Facebook friends,” you start to understand the motive behind Senator Patrick wanting to eliminate CSCOPE lessons.

Censorship is censorship, regardless of who’s calling the shots. This is a core belief of our country and we shouldn’t stand for it.

To be clear, of the 1,300 lessons in CSCOPE, there have only been a small handful of “controversial” examples talked about. Is CSCOPE perfect? No. I would doubt any curriculum of any school, public or private, is perfect. But, in an effort to get rid of the few lessons he didn’t like, Senator Patrick threatened the Regional Service Centers who created CSCOPE to pull it down or he would take his bullying to the next level.

But, apparently even after CSCOPE agreed to pull down the lessons, Senator Patrick still isn’t done. Now he is asking people to “report” school districts that want to continue to use CSCOPE lessons that they helped develop. He says he will “share” that information with the Attorney General for some sort of enforcement action I guess. This looks like the Social Studies police, or SS for short. What’s next? Will the state start barging in the door of a teacher’s room to destroy or confiscate her “controversial” lesson plans. Where does it stop?

Join me in standing up to this kind of bullying. Texas has more than 7,000 locally elected school board members who are responsible for overseeing their local INDEPENDENT school districts. We don’t need more state sanctioned censorship of our classrooms. We need the state to set reasonable standards and then get out of the way and let our local public schools do their job. We need tools like CSCOPE to be available as options for teachers to choose, not forced upon them or taken from them by a bully. 

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Is Common Core in Texas? You Bet it is. 
 

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Knowledge is Power and together we can make the difference!!

Alice Linahan

Follow @AliceLinahan on twitter and Facebook 

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Stop CSCOPE

Ask the question…..Education- who is taking control over our children using our tax dollars? 

 

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“Texas Legislators: Determining Students’ Fate”

Date posted: May 14, 2013

by Donna Garner 5.14.13

*Do not miss the short response that I wrote back to Sen. Dan Patrick – posted at the bottom of this e-mail.

Today HB 866 and HB 2836 will be debated in the Senate Education Committee. If passed, both bills would destroy the writing skills of our Texas public school students.

Torin Halsey/Times Record News Fifth grader Ryker Beasley pays close attention to a problem being solved on the board in math class at City View Elementary. City View teachers are the rare teachers in North Texas who do not use CSCOPE. "We'd worked so hard at what we are doing, we didn't want to dump it in the trash and jump on a new system," said City View testing director Maureen Talbott. "What we're doing seems to be working. We have teachers who are working their tails off but are pleased with what they're doing."

Photo Courtesy Torin Halsey/Times Record News

I would hate to be in these Texas Legislators’ shoes and leave behind the legacy from the 83rdLegislative Session as being the one that destroyed students’ chances to live fulfilling lives, both hindering their future choices and limiting  their opportunities in life.

 

TEXAS LEGE ON WRONG TRACK

 

On 4.30.13, the Texas House passed unanimously HB 2836.  This bill removes STAAR testing of Writing in 4th and 7th grades, the only two grade levels below high school in which Writing is tested on the STAAR.  

Writing is communication. When done well, good communication occurs. When done poorly, communication breaks down.

If HB 2836 and HB 866 were to make it out of the Texas Legislature, the public accountability for teachers in K-8 to teach children to write well would be lifted.  The end result: 

“What gets measured gets treasured.”  

“What gets tested gets taught.” 

“What doesn’t get tested does not get taught.”

 

IMPORTANCE OF GOOD COMMUNICATION SKILLS

Written communication involves two different factors: (1) clearly worded content in English and (2) grammar/usage/spelling/punctuation in English that clearly communicate the writer’s message.

Yes, good writing is an important communication skill for a multitude of reasons.

However, guess what the weakest score on the 9th grade STAAR/EOC’s given last year was…Writing.  

 

STAAR/EOC TESTS: WRITING IS WORST

On 1.29.13, the Texas Education Agency announced the STAAR end-of-course test results from last year’s 9th graders.  Below are the percentages (cumulative) of students who failed the Spring 2012 STAAR/EOC’s: 

 

  • English I Writing  — 27.4%
  • Algebra I  — 15.3%
  • English I Reading — 18.8%
  • Biology  — 9.0%
  • World Geography — 15.2%

 

Also released on 1.29.13 were the Grades 4 and 7 STAAR Writing results:

29% (cumulative) of all Grade 4 and 7 students failed the STAAR Writing test.  

 

TEXAS LEGE MUST NOT DUMP ACCOUNTABILITY FOR GOOD WRITING SKILLS

It is the lack of college-ready and workforce-ready skills in written communication among our Texas high-school graduates that frustrates employers and college professors the most.   

Our Texas public school students desperately need to improve their abilities to communicate in writing. 

All the way from K through Grade 12, our Texas students need teaching and accountability in both aspects of composition: (1) clearly worded content and (2) grammar/usage/spelling/punctuation that clearly communicate the writer’s message.

These skills are not going to improve over night; we cannot wait until 9th grade to hold students accountable for good written communication skills. 

The new curriculum standards in English / Language Arts / Reading (ELAR-TEKS) adopted by the elected members of the Texas State Board of Education in May 2008 carefully lay out grade-level-specific writing elements that teachers need to teach and students need to learn. These ELAR/TEKS grow in depth and complexity from one grade level to the next, and the composition requirements do the same.  

The slow, steady progression of rigor in composition skills along with the public accountability on the STAAR/EOC Writing tests is what will result in Texas high-school graduates who can communicate well in writing.  

 

*HB 5 which also passed the House does not require students to take the STAAR/EOC in English III.  This is a capstone grade level.   The STAAR/EOC in English III is meant to hold students (and their teachers) accountable for sophisticated composition skills.  

As students progress through school, their composition skills will improve if it is evaluated for both (1) content and (2) grammar/usage/spelling/punctuation.  

To dump 4th and 7th grade STAAR Writing tests will send a message to both students and teachers that written composition is not important; and, therefore, other subject matter tested on the STAAR tests will supplant an emphasis on quality composition skills.    

 

GREEN, YELLOW, AND RED PEOPLE:  CATEGORIES IN EDUCATION

 

CSCOPE and the Green Yellow and RedGenerally, I believe there are two different types of philosophies of education; and nearly all educators, curriculum, vendors, organizations, and advocacy groups fall into one of these two categories.  (3.3.13 — “Type #1 and Type #2 — Two Completely Different Philosophies of Education” –

Next, there are also three different types of individuals involved; and we can see this all across America.

 

The “green” people are those who go-along to get-along; they go with the status quo and are content to follow whatever teaching fad is in vogue at the present time. These people are not bad people but are easily deceived by those who have ulterior motives (e.g., drive-by media, national educator organizations, left-leaning politicians, CSCOPE, Common Core Standards).

 

The “yellow” people are those who are driven by greed, money, power, and fame. Many of these people are vendors, lobbyists, or school employees who look past the egregious content of their products so long as they themselves are benefitting.  Into this group fall some CSCOPE/TESCCC/ESC employees, Thomas Ratliff, Mike Moses, Pat Jacoby, TASA, TASB, etc.

 

The “red” people know exactly what they are doing. They have long-term goals to change America, and they realize that the best way to do this is to indoctrinate this and succeeding generations of school children in their classrooms.  Into this group fall such people as Obama, Arne Duncan, Linda Darling-Hammond, Bill Ayers, the National Education Organization, and many other left-leaners.      

 

Politicians can come in all different colors – green, yellow, and red. Those who blindly follow are green. Those who seek fame, fortune, and/or control for themselves are yellow. Those whose aim is to change America from a capitalistic, free-market Republic into a Socialist, Communist, Marxist country are red.  

 

I do not believe that very many of our Texas Legislators fall into the “red” category, but I do believe many of them do fall into the “green” or “yellow” categories.

 

Guess whose daughter is a lobbyist for Raise Your Hand…Rep. Jimmy Don Aycock’s, the chair of the House Education Committee. He has even been known to stop the proceedings on the House floor to call Raise Your Hand to get their “blessing” on education issues.  I wonder who Aycock called!

 

Guess which organization is totally committed to preserving the “yellow” people…Raise Your Hand which is led by Bill Ratliff, Mike Moses, and the education establishment (TASA/TASB, etc.).

 

Is it any wonder that this session’s legislators are giving the ed establishment every wish they could possibly ever desire?

MY COMMENTS BACK TO SEN. DAN PATRICK ON 5.11.13

I have written extensively about the importance of keeping the New Plan in place. What you and Aycock as the education leaders in the legislature are doing is destroying the progress that we conservatives have worked for well over 10 years to put into place – Type #1 TEKS, Type #1 STAAR/EOC’s, individual accountability for both teachers and students through having grade-level-specific goals, a graduation plan that would, if allowed to be fully implemented, eventually elevate the college and career readiness of our high-school graduates.

 

What you and the other legislators are doing is going to throw us back into the  same 1997 – 2007 mess our public schools were in for ten years, thus allowing Type #2 to continue to do its damage.  Without the public accountability at each grade level to grade-level-specific Type #1 curriculum standards, there will be no incentive for teachers to teach the new Type #1 TEKS; and they will go right on teaching their Type #2 curriculum units.  Without the STAAR/EOC’s at each grade level, the parents will have no measuring stick to prove whether their children have been taught Type #1 or Type #2.

I have tried over and over to explain to non-educators what it is like in the public schools; and by now after going through this CSCOPE mess (largely created because of SB 6), you should understand how vicious and hard-nosed the education establishment can be.  The only way to force them to change direction from Type #2 to Type #1 is to hold them publicly accountable individually. 

Without the STAAR Writing tests being given from K to 8,  English teachers are simply not going to teach students grammar/usage/spelling/cursive writing/expository/persuasive/research and will fall back to the same Type #2 holistic scoring that has turned out the type of graduates we have right now. 

By not requiring all students to take World History and World Geography, irreparable harm will be done to students’ grasp of America’s place in the history of this world; and we will see low-information voters fall for any charlatan who comes along. 

Not requiring at least Algebra II for all students will allow many students to take the path of least resistance while they are young and immature; and many of them when they arrive in their senior year of high school will suddenly realize that they are unprepared for their future choices.

Students need four rigorous years of high school. The New Plan requires students to spend four rigorous years of high school – no more sloughing off the junior and senior years.  The idea of basically allowing students to choose a career pathway early in their high-school career and then de-emphasizing the 4 x 4 rigor of the junior and senior years is indeed the Marc Tucker plan.

 

The following article (and enclosed links) says it best:

http://educationviews.org/duped-through-ignorance-or-intent-texas-legislators/ 

__________________________________________________________
 

Knowledge is Power and together we can make the difference!!

Alice Linahan

Follow @AliceLinahan on twitter and Facebook 

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Texas Teachers and Parents Beware~ Ratliff “Raise Your Hand” Non-Profit is buying Ads

Date posted: April 8, 2013

I had an inquire about who the “Raise Your Hand” organization is that  put out a full page ad in the Ft. Worth Star Telegram. 

It is interesting what I discovered. Below is the ad incase you ran across it in your neck of the woods. It is interesting to note the family connection. Bill Ratliff is the father of Thomas Ratliff illegal SBOE elected official  and Bennett Ratliff the freshman State Representative who is now on the Education committee during this legislative session. Looks like the family business is doing well and intrenched in Texas Education and Politics. Also interesting to note it was in the Ratliff families district that CSCOPE was first implemented. 

Raise Your Hand Ad

Below is an article by Donna Garner from February 18th, 2007 who I thank God for everyday for helping us to connect the dots. 

“Raise Your Hand for a Hand Out”

by Donna Garner

February 18, 2007

Ex-Texas Senator Bill Ratliff and Ex-Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Moses must believe that Texas citizens are all brain dead. These two men evidently think we have forgotten their role in Texas’ public school problems.  

NEW SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP FORMED

Ratliff and Moses are continuing to swill from the education trough by forming a new organization called Raise Your Hand to pressure the people for more tax dollars for Texas’ public schools.  Have these two gentlemen any credibility on the subject?   

William Murchison said it best in the 2.16.07 Lone Star Report, “…keep a country mile away from Raise Your Hand, and from Bill Ratliff, and from Mike Moses, whose solution for dealing with a sinking boat is to pour some more water in the gunwales.”

Before we citizens put our trust in Raise Your Hand, let’s do a quick study of its leaders, Ratliff and Moses. 

RATLIFF: ROBIN HOOD, LOSS OF LOCAL CONTROL BY TEACHERS

 

Not only did Ratliff author the failed and oft-maligned Robin Hood Plan, but he also drafted SB 1 in 1995 which stripped local teachers of control over what they taught.  

Due to SB 1, Texas teachers have lost control over their day-to-day instruction and instead must follow the poorly constructed Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards. 

The English / Language Arts / Reading TEKS are particularly egregious because they are not explicit, measurable, or specific for each grade level; and the curriculum requirements listed in the ELAR/TEKS are much too numerous for a teacher to cover thoroughly in a year’s time.  Therefore, teachers flit from one TEKS element to the next, never really having time to make sure students gain mastery.   

It is these poorly written standards (the opposite of back-to-the-basics curriculum requirements) upon which the much-despised TAKS tests are based.

 

RATLIFF: LOSS OF CONTROL BY LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS

As the author of SB 1, Ratliff is also responsible for taking the authority away from electedlocal school boards and placing that power into the hands of unelected superintendents. 

No longer do locally elected school board members have any real control over the all-important issues of personnel hiring and district curriculum decisions.

Local school board members’ duties have basically been reduced to (1) hiring and firing the superintendent, (2) buying and selling property, and (3) setting board policy (e.g., those items which involve board members themselves — elections, vacancies on the board, travel and reimbursement policies, etc.).  

RATLIFF:  LOSS OF CONTROL BY ELECTED SBOE

At the state level, Ratliff tried for years to replace the elected State Board of Education (SBOE) with an appointed one.  Appointed boards really do not care what voters want. They will do the will of whoever appoints them and of the lobbyists who orchestrate from a distance.    

 

Ratliff’s SB 1 reduced the authority of the elected SBOE and enhanced the power of theunelected Texas Commissioner of Education who at the time was Ratliff’s joined-at-the-hip ally, Mike Moses. 

 

Ratliff always pretended that the SBOE had lost control over textbook content; and until Attorney General Greg Abbott’s 2006 opinion, the SBOE was shut out of fulfilling its lawful responsibilities.  For eleven years the Board labored under Ratliff’s false interpretation; and during that time, numerous inferior textbooks were placed in front of our Texas students.   

Because of Ratliff’s influence on SB 1, elected SBOE members cannot even elect their own chairperson; the Governor appoints one.  

RATLIFF: TAXPAYER-ENRICHED OPPORTUNIST

Ratliff is a registered lobbyist (http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/dfs/loblists.htm) and has made large sums of money from a number of clients including the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB).  Having retired from the Texas Senate in 2003, he began representing TASB on May 10, 2004.  That year he received up to $99,999.99 from TASB, and again in 2005, and 2006.  

We taxpayers paid Ratliff’s rich lobbying fees because the membership dues that education entities pay to join TASB come from our taxpayers’ dollars. 

Because the TASB dues come from public funds, we taxpayers are actually paying TASB to lobby Legislators for more school funding so that our taxes will increase.  We are paying to lobby ourselves!

MOSES: HIT-AND-RUN ARTIST

As Texas Commissioner of Education, Mike Moses oversaw the creation of course standards (TEKS) which have proven dysfunctional, particularly in English / Language Arts / Reading (ELAR).  Now the Texas State Board of Education and the Texas Education Agency are trying to undo the damage by rewriting these TEKS. 

MOSES: THE TAKS MONSTER

The public tends to vent its wrath against the TAKS tests, but TAKS tests are based on the faulty TEKS.  If the foundation (TEKS) is weak, then the house (TAKS) built upon that foundation cannot stand.

Mike Moses was directly responsible for the entire TEKS process, thus making him responsible for the TAKS.  Students, parents, and educators dislike intensely the unfair accountability system built on these tests. 

Parents, students, and educators are obsessed with the TAKS –TAKS units, TAKS practice tests, TAKS preparation tools, TAKS information booklets, TAKS activities, TAKS projects, TAKS data, TAKS testing strategies, TAKS benchmarks, TAKS tutors, TAKS tests. 

This constant emphasis on the TAKS is destroying teachers’ creativity and students’ interest in school, thus contributing to the drop-out problem.  According to Jamie Story, education policy analyst at TPPF, “Every hour of every school day, 93 students drop out of Texas public schools.” 

It is disingenuous of Moses to expect the taxpayers to pour more money into the public schools to fix the mess that he helped to create. 

MOSES:  TAINTED ADMINISTRATION IN DALLAS ISD

The Dallas Morning News has found multiple dubious behavior patterns during Mike Moses’ watch as Dallas ISD superintendent.

Allegations have surfaced about out-of-control spending with school credit cards, lost dollars for health plans, abuse of federal e-rate funds, irregular technology vendor contracts, misspent federal bilingual education funds, costly deals with Kinko’s, apparent conflicts of interest involving Voyager Expanded Learning, contributions by computer vendors, questionable bond sales, multiple teacher grievances, eyebrow-raising private consultancies, lucrative Coca-Cola contracts, and special privileges for vendors participating in the Education Research and Development Institute (ERDI) conferences.  

MOSES: GOLDEN PARACHUTE


Meanwhile, Moses received the highest superintendent’s salary in the nation ($340,000 per year, excluding benefits) even though eleven school districts in the country were larger than Dallas ISD. 

When the DISD problems began to surface in 2004, Moses resigned and walked away with an additional $480,850.  Along with his ongoing and lucrative superintendent search business, he now receives a yearly TRS pension of $224,400 per year.  Note that Moses’ wealth comes from taxpayers’ dollars.

MY RECOMMENDATION 

Instead of expecting the taxpayers to pour more millions into our public schools, why not expect the schools to live within their means. 

Before the last legislative session, Texas was already spending over $10,400 per public school student (http://www.governor.state.tx.us/priorities/education/facts_figures), and those figures have increased substantially since then.  I agree with Peggy Venable of Americans for Prosperity who has said, “Texas schools do not have a funding problem. We have a spending problem.”  Case in point:  The education dollars heaped upon Ratliff and Moses by our state —

MY QUESTION TO RATLIFF AND MOSES

Sen. Ratliff and Dr. Moses: Before we taxpayers decide to support Raise Your Hand with you two altruists at the helm, how about disclosing your lobbying contracts (and benefits) with the companies who stand to profit if more taxpayers’ dollars are given to the public schools? 

 

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Women On the Wall  takes on the issues that matter. Sharing information and updates on our weekly radio show on Monday mornings at 10 am CST. You will not want to miss this show. We will have up to date information on CSCOPE  and guests who are the experts on education and other issues that are effecting our children and grandchildren.

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Alice Linahan

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