TEA Facilitates Failure

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Why do Texas students not have textbooks?
Twisted Neck of a Giraffe

Why does the Texas Education Agency promote the CSCOPE instructional material sold by the Educational Service Centers (ESCs)? The ESCs originally sold CSCOPE as being a replacement for textbooks.

The mission of the Texas Education Agency is to provide leadership, guidance and resources to help schools meet the educational needs of all students and prepare them for success in the global economy.

The head of the TEA is the Commissioner of Education, who is supported by a hierarchy of a chief deputy commissioner, a deputy commissioner, associate commissioners, division directors, and agency staff. The TEA Organizational Chart (PDF, 18 KB) illustrates agency hierarchy. This organizational Chart is shown below. One would think with all the people on the state payroll, quality help would be provided to Marlin ISD, a school that has had poor leadership for no less than a decade. Students have been scoring very low on the TAKS and STAAR tests, but what caught TEA’s attention was the extraordinary number of special education students. When this was not corrected, TEA sent a conservator to twist a few heads around turn around the school. Elizabeth Rowland, a retired special education director for ESC 11, was the conservator sent to dictate plans to improve student grades throughout the school district. Ms. Rowland mandated that Marlin ISD purchase the CSCOPE instructional materials from the local ESC, Region 12.

In November, 2011 the CSCOPE director at Region 12, Becca Bell and the Marlin supervisor, Marsha Ridlehuber and the district instruction  director, Jamey Johnson informed me that the 5th grade science book, Harcourt Science, 2000 was so outdated that it could not be used to prepare students for the STAAR test. A new superintendent and elementary principal were hired to start the 2012-2013 school year. I asked these new administrators to give students the outdated science books. Any book is better than no book. The CSCOPE/TRS materals continued to be mandated by the TEA conservators. Since Jamey Johnson remained as the district’s instructional director, she continued to keep all textbooks stored. Students were never given textbooks, thus the 5th grade students continued to fail the STAAR tests.

Recently I was allowed to have a copy of the Harcourt Science (2000) textbook for 5th grade. I read this science textbook and found every 5th grade science TEKS for the TAKS tests as well as the new TEKS for STAAR.

The TEA conservator and the Marlin administration purposely DID NOT provide adequate TEKS instruction materials. The science textbooks are still stored.   After three years of inadequate leadership and guidance from TEA conservators, in 2014, Marlin Elementary ranked worse than 99.7% of elementary schools in Texas.

I reported this to the past Commissioner of Education, Robert Scott and continued reporting problems to the acting commissioner, Michael Williams. Neither of these men ever responded to me. I get auto replies from Williams. I reported problems to Monica Martinez at TEA. The results was that Elizabeth Rowland was replaced but there have been no changes. Even with such a low ranking, TEA conservators give Marlin ISD good reports and now the district only has a monitor. TEA conservators and the turn around program is one big joke on tax payers. School taxes are used to pay the TEA workers a handsome fee to turn things upside down and collect their fees as long as possible. When the TEA workers leave, most of the quality teachers have left because TEA conservators do not work with teachers–instead they control teachers.

The 2014-2015 Marlin ISD teaching staff has little experience. Thanks TEA for Facilitating the Failure of Marlin students and encouraging veteran teachers to find jobs where CSCOPE is not mandated.

TEA Chart of Employees

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  1. to Scott from a teacher says:

    Your comments about our students being so far beyond textbooks is laughable. Do you honestly think that students in other countries around the world have burned all of their textbooks? Really? Sadly, only our American students are expected to learn without good textbooks. Without a solid textbook how is a mother or father supposed to help a child at home in the evening? So you think our students benefit by having their parents rendered impotent in aiding them with their homework. Your commentary is very egocentric as if you have determined that the only factor responsible for learning is when the child sits in your classroom, when allegedly, they are sitting around “Google-ing” answers instead of learning. I have seen my students on many occasions flip through their textbook with its fantastic pictures and interesting features. It engages them. More important to me, when they are stuck on a project they run to their book to reference important information. If I were unable to send them to pages in their textbook when they are stuck I would have to verbally tell them everything myself. Why? Why can’t they use the text to become independent, self assured learners.? I am hardly a lazy teacher. In fact, my classroom is so dynamic that teachers who come in to assist often comment that they don’t want to leave. Technology can give fast answers, but it can also deliver wrong answers to students who are not critical readers. This is especially true in science. It sounds like you are brainwashed by the Gates foundation who wants to sell our kids out so they can make a profit. One last question: If your students are so beyond textbooks and they can just Google everything, I am curious why they need you? The can just go home and Google everything!

  2. The reason for the failure in Marlin lies in your statement, “the Marlin teaching staff has little experience”, the end – period. Textbooks are so 17th century. Anyone can hand a student a textbook and have them read and do worksheets. The student will not learn! Students today are so beyond leaning in this way. We are living in an age when anyone with a smart phone can google the answer to any question conceivable. The last thing students need to be is bored out of their minds by sitting and looking through a book they don’t read for an answer that they have hunted and pecked for. Teachers that need a textbook to teach in my opinion are too lazy to find a more relevant alternative and would rather sit back and let the “book” teach for them.