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Keep Texas Strong~ What do you think Memorial Day was all about? Texas Legislature

Date posted: May 29, 2013

Now is not the time to give in~ The Texas Legislature has gone into a Special Session and now is the time to Fight to KEEP TEXAS STRONG!! 

JoAnn FlemingAs JoAnn Fleming said in her latest call to action…….

It’s time to make your voice heard…again!  Folks, we have to fight until there are no more options available.  Do not just sit back and let this happen without a whimper!  To those who are “exhausted,” remember that George Washington and his rag-tag group of patriots were tired, had no shoes, barely any clothes or weapons, and were up to their waists in snow…and they fought on. 
What do you think Memorial Day was all about?  Do you think the American Soldier gets tired?  If we are to keep Texas strong, we must take action.  If some of us can work unpaid and spend our household money to stay in Austin when we’d rather be home with our families, and spend countless hours reading these bills, studying the budget, arguing with legislators, and sending out these calls to action, you can make a phone call!
Texas Legislature’s Wild Spending Spree Passes…26% increase!
 Over the Memorial Day weekend, the GOP-controlled Texas legislature passed appropriation bills and a 2014-2015 budget that combine to increase spending 26%!
No matter how the state Republican Party and the House and Senate leadership spin it, they’ve increased spending 26%.   In 2011, lawmakers spent a grand total of $84 billion (this does not even include dedicated or federal funds). In the 2013 regular session which just ended yesterday, your legislature spent more than $106 billion

The record vote has not yet been certified, but the unofficial record shows 29 legislators voted against the budget (Senate Bill 1) and HB 1025 (big spending supplemental bill that also raids the Rainy Day Fund).  For the budget bill, there were 28 Republicans voting no and one Democrat casting a no vote.  On the giant spending supplemental HB 1025, there were 29 Republican no votes, and 11 absences – many Republicans.  Bottom line – only about 1/3 of the Republicans voted against the spending spree.  When the record vote is certified, we will send out the list of how your legislators voted.
Major conservative and local grassroots liberty groups have united and are calling on Governor Perry to veto the budget and a major supplemental spending bill that raids the state’s Rainy Day Fund – HB 1025.    The groups are calling on the Governor to bring the legislators back to a special session to cut spending.  
Please do our your part by calling Gov. Perry now to say:
1) you don’t support a 26% increase in spending.  In the 2012 Republican Primary, 94% of voters voted for the Proposition that called for government to cut spending! (The 26% spending increase covers all the new appropriations bills AND the budget, when combined and compared to last session. These numbers have been verified by Texas Public Policy Foundation and Grassroots America.)
2) veto HB 1025 which raids the Rainy Day Fund and the budget (SB 1);
3) bring the legislature back to the drawing board to cut spending and fully fund your proposed tax cut of $1.8 billion.  Texans don’t need, don’t want, and don’t deserve wild, liberal spending like this!  Governor Perry has the power to stop it, and he should!
Gov. Perry’s numbers:  (512) 463-2000  and (512) 463-1782 and (800) 843-5789
[Online form for written feedback: http://governor.state.tx.us/contact/assistance.aspx]
Call now!  The Governor is signing bills as we speak.
Fight for a Strong Texas…Speak UP now!   Thank you…JoAnn & the TEA Party Caucus Advisory Committee.
Need a picture?  See The Budget Truth Spending Chart, courtesy of Chuck Devore & the Texas Public Policy Foundation:

Spending and Tax cut copy

“God save Texas from vain, corrupt politicians and from the apathetic who sit back and let them rule!”- JoAnn Fleming Executive Director (volunteer), Grassroots America – We the People  www.gawtp.com 


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

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“The Worst Legislative Session Ever on Education”

Date posted: May 8, 2013

By Donna Garner 

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."

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.

Please take the time to read these articles that explain how the Texas Legislature is deliberately dumbing down our Texas public schools.  If this trend by the Legislature continues to completion, this 83rd Legislative Session will go down in history as the Session that destroyed authentic education reform in Texas, resulting in an increase in poorly educated citizens, college students, and employees.   


5.6.13 – Commentary by William McKenzie, Dallas Morning News:  


Excerpts from this commentary:

…That’s precisely why Texas legislators need to think back through a number of their decisions this session that would lessen expectations for students. They are passing bills that will set up less rigorous high school degree plans. And they are trying to deconstruct how the state assesses students and their schools.


The latest troubling move is the Texas House’s decision last week to end the state’s writing exam for fourth- and seventh-graders. If HB 2836 becomes law, Texas students will move through elementary and middle school without ever taking a state writing achievement test. The first time they would take a state writing test would be in ninth grade.


…But do we really want to wait until ninth grade before knowing whether students are proficient in writing, especially since barely half of Texas ninth-graders passed this year’s STAAR writing exam on the first try?


Writing, after all, is fundamental to critical thinking. Steve Graham, an Arizona State University professor, studies its impact on student development. Here’s his take:

“Good writing is a complex process involving skillful planning, evaluation and revisions as well as the mastery of a host of writing skills including handwriting, typing, spelling, grammar, and sentence and paragraph construction. Students must acquire these fundamental writing processes and skills in order to create clear, compelling, and engaging text that persuades, informs, or tells a good story.”


A recent essay by Graham makes clear that he also is worried about what will happen if the Senate passes HB 2836:

“If this becomes law, students will face a single high-stakes writing test to graduate high school, without the benefit of earlier low-stakes tests to inform parents, teachers, and students of their progress towards writing proficiency.”


…Being able to communicate is a prerequisite to moving ahead after college or high school.Research from the National Writing Project, Graham says, shows 93 percent of white-collar and 80 percent of blue-collar workers contend that writing well is essential to their careers.


Yet here we are in Texas, ready to take writing out of our early testing loop. This could set up our kids for failure.


I just don’t see how this is a good thing, any more than the Legislature walking away from demanding high school degree plans. Not when education is so central to getting Texas’ future right — as well as that of the United States.



 Texas Senate Votes To Roll Back High-Stakes Testing in High School”


Austin Bureau

Excerpts from this article:


AUSTIN — High-stakes testing of high school students would be rolled back sharply under legislation that the Senate approved Monday.


Students would have to pass only five end-of-course tests to graduate — instead of the current 15 — under the Senate bill, which also revamps graduation requirements.


The legislation is similar to a bill the House has already endorsed, and differences will have to be negotiated with just three weeks left in lawmakers’ session.


But the bills set up Texas students for another sweeping change in school standards. It comes as a response to teachers’ and parents’ complaints about too much testing but also raises criticism that the state that pioneered tough accountability measures is pulling back.


…Under the Senate proposal, high school students would have to pass exams in English I and II, Algebra I, biology and U.S. history to receive a diploma. Ten other exams that students must now pass — such as English III and Algebra II — would no longer be required.


Although Gov. Rick Perry had voiced support for keeping more of the end-of-course tests, the best he could do was retain the English III and Algebra II exams as optional for school districts. The Senate bill would make the exams diagnostic. Students would not have to pass them to graduate, nor would they count in school performance ratings.


The Senate bill also would replace current graduation requirements with a new system under which students would select one of multiple paths to graduation, called “endorsements.” They include arts and humanities, business and industry, science and math, and distinguished achievement.


All students would have to take at least four years of English and three years each of math, science and social studies for the basic “foundation” diploma. Students would take additional math, science and social studies depending on their graduation path. But they could also take the minimum course load, if their parents approved.


Currently, most students take four years of study in English, math, science and social studies.


Texas Association of Business president Bill Hammond criticized the Senate bill, saying the weaker requirements will “doom generations of students to a mediocre education and low-wage jobs.”


…Senators approved more than two dozen amendments before passing the bill, including the option for school districts to use the English III and Algebra II end-of-course tests. The two exams are considered strong indicators of college readiness, but they would no longer have to be passed by students to graduate.


“This will give school districts important feedback on the college readiness of their students,” said Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, who offered the amendment. If districts choose to use the exams, the cost will be covered by the state.


Another change would drop an earlier plan to rate all individual campuses with letter grades instead of the current designations — exemplary, recognized, acceptable and unacceptable. But school districts as a whole would receive letter grades…


COMPARISON: Two versions of bill

Major provisions in the House and Senate education bills:



House: English II reading, English II writing, Algebra I, biology and U.S. history

Senate: English I, English II, Algebra I, biology and U.S. history



House: 24

Senate: 26 



House: Switch to letter grades for both districts and campuses

Senate: Switch to letter grades only for districts; campuses keep current ratings of exemplary, recognized, acceptable and unacceptable



House: Arts and humanities, business and industry, science and math, distinguished achievement, public services and multidisciplinary studies

Senate: Leaves out public services and multidisciplinary studies


5.2.13 – “Dumbing Down Communication Costs Lives” – by Donna Garner —  http://educationviews.org/dumbing-down-communication-costs-lives/


4.30.13 – “Texas Legislature Mucking Up Education” – by Donna Garner —http://nocompromisepac.ning.com/profiles/blogs/texas-legislature-mucking-up-education-by-donna-garner-4-30-13?xg_source=activity

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Date posted: January 31, 2013


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Capitol Extension, E1.028

8:30 a.m.


Photo Courtesy of Times Record News


I. Call to Order

II. Committee Business

III. Opening remarks from Chair and members

IV. SB 135 Patrick

Relating to the use of a public school student’s performance on an end-of-course assessment instrument in determining the student’s final grade for the course.

IMG_7114V. CSCOPE Review

Panel 1:

• Dr. Linda Villareal, Executive Director, Region 2 ESC

• Dr. Terry Smith, Executive Director, Region 13 ESC

• Dr. Wade Labay, Ed.D., Director, State CSCOPE

 Panel 2:

• Ms. Mac (Jeanine McGregor), Education Researcher, K-12 Teacher (GT& Special-ED), Author

• Mary Bowen , Educator

• Dr. Stan Hartzler, Educator

• Peggy Venable, Director, Americans for Prosperity-Texas

• Carlos Charlie Garza, Former Member, State Board of Education, District 1Principal

Panel 3:

• Dr. Doug Killian, Superintendent, Hutto ISD

• Dr. Marc Williamson, Superintendent, Fredericksburg ISD

• Dr. Susan Simpson Hull, Superintendent, Grand Prairie ISD

Panel 4:

• Barbara Cargill, Chair, State Board of Education

• Patricia Ann Hardy, Texas State Board of Education, District 11

• Holly Eaton, Director of Professional Development and Advocacy, Texas Classroom Teachers Association


VI. Public Testimony  [This hearing may go for many hours because if the full Senate is called into session, this Senate Ed. public hearing will be delayed.  We have been told that every person who wants to testify will be heard.  — Donna Garner]

VII. Recess

The issue of CSCOPE is very important and Donna Garner does an exceptional job of explaining the history of CSCOPE and why it is so important that we push back against it. 




WBTM Women On The Wall Radio with Donna Garner


You can find out HERE if your district is using CSCOPE! 

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Charter schools, public risk, political gain

Date posted: June 29, 2012

by Michael Hight

 Charter schools, public risk, political gain

Excerpts from this article:

Stunning, jaw dropping hypocrisy! The conservative Republican Texas legislature, in Senate Bill 1, passed in June, will guarantee the bonds sold by the private owners of charter schools. Privately owned charter schools, for example, Harmony Charter Schools, will be authorized by the state of Texas to sell bonds to construct new school buildings.

The state will guarantee them by giving charter schools access to the Permanent School Fund. Isn’t this the Wall Street model …. privatize the profits and socialize the loses. Newly minted AAA rated financial instruments will be bundled to hedge fund managers and other “investors.” Hundreds of thousands of dollars will be made by bond rating agencies and financial institutions that put these bond offerings together.

…The Texas taxpayer will now be on the hook for this private sector school financing scheme. The relevant section of SB 1 states, “Senate Bill 1. Sec. 45.052.  GUARANTEE. (a)  On approval by the commissioner, bonds issued under Subchapter A by a school district or Chapter 53 for a charter district, including refunding bonds, are guaranteed by the corpus and income of the Permanent School Fund.

There is more. Harmony Charter Schools is the largest charter school chain in the state boasting of 36 schools. Don’t let them tell you charter schools are public schools, they are not. Public schools don’t have the luxury of “encouraging” a child to leave because they might jeopardize the school’s test scores. Charter schools game the system by inflating their successes through a process called “dumping”. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) acknowledges that Charter schools “dump” low performing students and students with special needs. They push these students out of their school. Dr. Ed Fuller has been quoted saying, “It’s not hard to be ‘exemplary’ if you lose all the kids who aren’t performing”.

Harmony schools “lose” an extraordinarily high number, about 50 percent, of their students in grades 6 through 8 according to Fuller, a University of Texas-Austin researcher….Charter schools that have closed still owe the state 21 million dollars because they exaggerated their enrollment numbers.

Besides their “dumping” policies, Harmony Charter schools have been associated with the Gulan Islamic movement. Harmony does not teach Islam in the schools, but their Gulan associations are undeniable according to University of Oregon’s Joshua Hendrick, Ph.D. His research extensively studied the Gulanists and their worldwide operations.

Under the radar of the American public, the Gulan Islamic movement has been quietly advancing its presence in the United States through the establishment of charter schools by their acolytes. Texas politicians are well aware of this movement.

Gulanists continue to build their political cover by targeting, influencing, and giving gifts and trips to Turkey to our politicians.

Fethullah Gulen on 60 Minutes

Fethullah Gulan, left Turkey under threat by the Turkish government for his attempts to establish an Islamic government and some consider him the contemporary Islamic version of American evangelist Billy Graham.

The Gulan movement goes beyond charter schools. Their public relations strategy incorporates the establishment of “cultural centers” and “interfaith dialog” centers. They are extremely well funded and politically connected.

Cosmos Foundation, Inc., owners of Harmony Schools hired Jennifer Sarver, of BursonMarsteller, one of the world’s largest public relation firms. Karen Hughes is Global Vice-Chair of BursonMarsteller. This is a very expensive and high powered public relation effort. Followers of the Gulan Movement operate banks, educational institutions, media, and business networks in more than 100 countries around the world.

The Cosmos Foundation, Inc. which operates the Harmony schools filed for 1,157 visas applications (H1-Bs) since 2001. It has brought 731 administrators and teachers from Turkey using H1-Bs surpassing all other secondary education providers nationwide. Immigration of teachers from Turkey under the H1B visa program is allowed if a qualified American teacher cannot be found.

Questions abound regarding the qualifications of these Turkish teachers as well as Harmony’s sincerity in attracting and hiring qualified American teachers. All the principals of Harmony schools just happen to be Turkish men.

Contracting, maintenance, and a plethora of vendor contracts (food service, uniforms, books, furniture, etc.) which by law should go to the lowest bidder are in question. It has been reported that local Texas businesses have been shut out and bids awarded to Turkish owned firms.

Large capital improvements and new building construction projects will be financed by Harmony bond initiatives, awarded to Turkish construction firms, and insured by the state, meaning … you. These contracts represent tens of millions of dollars.

…Let me be clear. I am not in any way against privately funded faith based schools. However, Harmony Charter Schools and other charters, funded by taxpayer’s dollars, by their own doing, have raised serious questions about their practices at many levels not the least of which is the promotion of a particular religion and culture directly or indirectly.

Finally, the Texas taxpayer should not bear the risk associated with the creation and issuance financial instruments for the private sector…. never, never, never.

Michael Hight

Michael Hight is a retired pharmaceutical executive. His education includes a Bachelor’s degree in microbiology, with graduate studies in political science and additional courses in business management abroad.

For more information please see articles referenced below

8.1.11 — “Protest Rally — Gulen Political Science School in Austin, Texas, on Aug. 30, 2011” by Donna Garner


7.22.11 — “Wrong Person Takes the Fall — Another Gulen Situation”  by Donna Garner


List of Gulen Charter Schools in the United States


7.17.11 — “Another Turkish Charter School in Trouble” by Donna Garner


7.14.11 — “How Blind Can People Be?” by Donna Garner


7.10.11 — “Is a Changed Muslim Kosher in a Taxpayer-Funded Texas School” by Peyton Wolcott


6.29.11 – The Texas House General Investigating & Ethics Committee has begun its investigation of the Gulen Turkish charter schools (Cosmos Foundation, Harmony Schools, Rainbow Turkish House, etc.).



7.10.11 — “Are Taxpayers Paying for Free Trips to Turkey?” by Donna Garner


6.19.11 – Austin American-Statesman article by Laylan Copelin and Mike Ward, “Some Texas Lawmakers Have Second Thoughts about Turkey Trips” —


6.29.11 — Texas Legislature Investigating Gulen/Cosmos Foundation/Harmony Schools: by Donna Garner



6.30.11 — “Personal Accounts: Gulen Harmony Schools” by Donna Garner



7.14.11 — “Harmony Science Academies Tied to Gulen Charter Schools” by Donna Garner



“The Gulen Movement – How It Operates in Turkey and in the U. S.” –  Parts 1, 2, 3 — YouTube

Part 1:  

Part 2:  

Part 3:  



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