ESC’s Exposed-Part 4: Teacher Training

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Texas education is at an all time low. Why?Location of the 20 different ESCs in Texas.

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) thinks first-year teachers may not be receiving effective professional development.

Q1. How will TEA determine if first-year teachers are receiving proper training?

A1 TEA knows that the state Education Service Centers (ESCs)  provide the majority of the professional development programs for teachers. But instead of evaluating the ESC’s face-to-face as well as online professional training programs, TEA is preparing a mandatory survey for campus principals across the state of Texas.  The survey will collect data regarding the performance of first-year teachers and the effectiveness of educator preparation programs in preparing first-year teachers to succeed in the classroom.   For more information about this ludicrous data collecting survey click Here.

FYI: Know that superintendents and school boards are responsible for any and all professional development of their school district’s staff. How many principals will report that the professional development programs approved by their superintendent and school board are bad?

TEA isn’t trying to make improvements in education.  A survey?? REALLY? The survey will provide data for some report that means nothing. Most data collected has no purpose–just smoke and mirrors to divert the public away from the fact that no one is in control. In other words, the Texas legislature pours millions of dollars into education programs, but doesn’t require TEA or the Education Service Centers to be accountable for this money.

Q2. TEA is trying to figure out why Texas education is so bad. OK, let’s concentrate on the professional development programs for teachers. The 20 Texas Education Service Centers were given $150 MILLION dollars to develop professional developments programs specifically about the new revised TEKS. What did they do with this money?

A2. ??? Where did this money go? Some of the $150 Million dollars from the Rider 42 grant was spent training people to be trainers. There was some material and a few TEKS workshops presented. There was no Rider 42 new revised math materials developed. Only a very small percent of Texas teachers were even aware of these TEKs workshops.

Some of the Rider 42 grant of $150 Million was spent training Ervin Knezek, an employee of ESC 13,  and over a thousand others from around the state  to present the Rider 42 TEKs Professional Development workshops. A large percent of those trained, including Ervin Knezek, never present the free Rider 42 TEKS professional development to Texas teachers. They just had a paid holiday for a few days. Knezek resigned from ESC 13 soon after the Rider 42 TEKS professional development training. Knezek established an out- of -state company called, “Lead4Ward.”

Q3. Why are the ESCs hiring Knezek’s Lead4Ward company to present revised math professional development and charging teachers $150 to attend?

A3. This is something the ESCs need to be asked.
The ESCs were paid $150 million dollars to prepare professional development programs for math, science, social studies and ELAR. ESC 13 was responsible for writing the Rider 42 Professional Development materials for the new revised math. As far as I know it was never prepared.

Q4.  How effective are the ESC online professional development training courses?

A4. The best way to determine the value of an online training course is to sign up for the course. This is exactly what I did. I paid $150 to ESC 13 for the online Chemistry training course. The description of the course sounds great.

This course is intended for new and experienced teachers who want to review key concepts, principles and strategies for teaching Chemistry in 7-12 classrooms. This course is aligned with the Chemistry 7-12 Texas educator standards/frameworks and can serve as preparation for taking the TExES certification examination.

This 32 credit hour course focuses on:

  • content development of Chemistry concepts,and principles in grades 7-12
  • instructional strategies for Chemistry in 7-12 teachers
  • activities and assessments that cover TEKS-based concepts, principles, and strategies for students.

It’s hard to know where to start in describing just how ineffective ESC 13’s online chemistry course is. I want every teacher to know that it is a waste of money. ESC13 took chemistry terms and wrote a short intro and then listed website links. Anyone can Google terms and find a list of website and save $150 dollars.

The chemistry course has no science instructor to contact,  no assignments, and the one assessment for the course contains 15 multiple choice questions. Some of the test questions have two correct answer choices and some questions have no correct answer choices.  It didn’t matter about errors on the test because the test can  be taken again, and again, and again, and so on until the answers accepted as correct are selected. Once I chose the answers that were accepted as correct, I had the option of printing out a certificate for passing the chemistry course. Instead of printing a certificate, I emailed ESC 13 and requested a refund of $150.00.

Q5. Why do Texas School Superintendents and School Board Members pay for the ineffective professional training from the ESCs?

A5  Its been difficult to find the starting point of the intertwining network between the ESCs, school superintendents, and TASA (Texas Association of School Administrators).
  • School superintendents and other school administrators use school taxes to pay their personal membership dues to the private organization called TASA.
    Teachers must pay their own membership dues to Teacher Organizations.
  • TASA promotes the ESCs.  It appears that school superintendents, as members and even directors of TASA, promote professional development and purchase the products sold by the ESCs. Why?  
In a nutshell: Many school superintendents in Texas retire and then work for the ESCs. School superintendents who promote without questioning the ESC professional development programs, products and services are feathering their ESC retirement nest.
FYI: A large percent of Texas school administrators, including superintendents were athletic coaches. Thus, athletic coaches who have the least training in curriculum become administrators in charge of selecting and approving the instructional materials used in Texas public schools.
When these coaches/superintendents retire and become ESC directors they control the content of the instructional materials used in our Texas public schools, such as the CSCOPE lessons, professional development and online training for teachers.
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick promised to improve Texas education. Requiring the ESCs to be more accountable would be a good starting point.
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