ESC’s Exposed-Part 5: Negative Effects

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According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), only 14 percent of fourth-graders knew that it is easier to stay afloat in salt water than in fresh water and could explain why.

Q. Why are Texas students less educated with all the available technology than they were in the past with no technology?

A. In Texas, the use of technology in  many school districts amounts to a room with computers and laptops on a cart checked out of the library.

The 20 Texas Education Service Centers in Texas promoted the CSCOPE Curriculum as being an online program. CSCOPE was the introduction of technology in the Texas public schools. The only thing related to technology about CSCOPE was it was obtained from a secure website that teachers could assess if they signed a non-disclosure contract. This contact threatened teachers with legal action if the content of the CSCOPE instructional materials were disclosed to anyone, including parents.

Thomas Ratliff, a lobbyist for Microsoft, promoted CSCOPE because it is an online product. Thomas Ratliff is a member of the State Board of Education even though he is a lobbyist.Ratliff promised the school districts in his region that he would make CSCOPE available to them no matter the decision of the Senate Education Committee. Ratliff’s only concern is to have online instruction materials regardless of the quality of the product.

According to the State Attorney General, is not legal for a lobbyists to be on the State Board of Education. Why is Ratliff a state board of education member? It is my understanding that our state representatives are suppose to identify this illegal action and do something about it. Ask your state representative why a lobbyists is a member of the state board of education.

You  can find your state representative and senator HERE.

FYI: CSCOPE is now technically called the TRS Systems, but schools are referring to it as “Scope and Sequence.” The truth is that Scope and Sequence is the same CSCOPE instructional materials. The ESCs gave Texas schools the CSCOPE lessons and continue to sell the schools the remaining parts of the CSCOPE instruction materials. CSCOPE or Scope and Sequence, Neither provides interactive technology for students.

Q. What negative effects have the Texas Education Service Centers had on Texas Education?

A. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) , the Texas Commissioner of Education, the Texas legislature, and the State Board of Education have promoted and allowed the 20 Education Service Centers (ESCs) to govern themselves. Thus, the Texas ESCs with no oversight, have more  control over Texas education than other state agencies and have negatively effected Texas Education because:

1. The ESCs are forbidden to write CSCOPE lessons, but are allowed to write the  content of most of the professional development for teachers, administrators and school board members.

If the ESCs are not allowed to write CSCOPE lessons for Texas schools. Why are the ESCs allowed to write professional development  programs for teachers, administrators and school board members?

Ervin Knezek was one of the ESC directors who designed and wrote CSCOPE lessons and instruction materials. Why is this previous ESC CSCOPE director now charging teachers for professional development programs held at ESC facilities?

2. The ESCs are not allowed to write CSCOPE lessons, but are allowed to write instructional training materials to certify  teachers, principals, superintendents and school board members.

The online chemistry teacher training course from ESC 13 is described as having content to prepare for the state TExES science certification test. This online course cost $150 and is little more than an introduction to different chemistry concepts with a list of website links where the information about the concept can be discovered. This must be an example of the new Discovery Method. The course has no instructor, no assignments, no contact information other than to report technology problems. There is one test containing 15 questions to assesses the entire course. FYI: Some of the questions have more than one answer and some of the answer choices are incorrect. All students can pass the course because the only assessment may be taken again and again and again until the answers that are accepted as correct are chosen.

3. The ESCs are not allowed to write CSCOPE lessons, but are allowed to  interpret the state standards call the TEKS and sell this information to Texas School Districts.

The ESCs call this “Unpackaging” the TEKS, which means to explain the TEKS. The interpretation of the TEKS by the ESCs has become so valid that teachers are forced to teach only this and nothing more. If it isn’t written in the ESC’s interpretation of the TEKS  don’t get caught teaching it because your teacher evaluation will reflect this indiscretion. This is why Texas students have such a limit understanding of concepts. While the State Board of Education (SBOE) claims the TEKS are a guide, the chairperson of the SBOE supported the ESCs when CSCOPE was brought before the Senate Education Committee.

4. The ESCs are banned from writing and selling CSCOPE lessons, but are allowed to write the instructional materials used to train leadership coaches that school districts hire to supervise their teachers. Leadership coaches may or may not have taught at the grade level they are supervising. High School teachers become leadership coaches for 5th grade science. The coaches are trained by the ESCs to dictate what, when, and how the TEKS are to be interpreted and taught.

The ESCs are again controlling what is being taught (interpretation of the TEKS), when it is being taught (Scope and Sequence), and how Texas teachers are instructing their classes.

 According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), only 10 percent of eighth-graders knew why eating potato salad made with mayonnaise that has been left out in the sun could cause food poisoning.

Q. Why don’t Texas students know more than just what is written in the state standards, the TEKS?

A. Because the Texas Legislatures voted in Senate Bill 6, which allows school superintendents to purchase any instruction material instead of textbooks. Thus, our Texas school superintendents purchased CSCOPE. Their excuse was because it was inexpensive.  Teachers were required to teach the CSCOPE material, which contains the ESCs interpretation of the TEKS.

Not one state legislature has requested the ESCs to provide verification that the person(s) interpreting the TEKS being sold to our Texas School Districts are qualified to do this. 

The State Commissioner of Education, Michael Williams has never confirmed that the people holding different positions at the ESCs are qualified for the job.

FYI: The Directors of the ESCs have elevated themselves and given themselves the power to create new job descriptions for people that please them. They also create new job descriptions for people that do not please them. The later may not affect the salary of the person, but instead of being the director of a department, their new job description includes answering a phone and being a “goffer.”

Thus, the ESCs have unqualified personnel in positions that affect instruction of Texas students.

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), only 26 percent of twelfth-graders could figure out how to use a sieve, a magnet, water, and a filter to separate a mixture of steel pellets, copper pellets, iron filings, sand, and salt.

Q. Why don’t Texas students know more about science discovery methods?

A.  The science discovery method is suppose to be how Texas students are taught. This is just part of the reports and data that over paid ESC instructional coaches, school curriculum directors, ESC instructional directors, etc…….. prepare.

The truth is that there is no time for students to have hands-on-science investigations. This is because the Texas Education Agency, the state legislatures and the Commissioner of Education seems to be more concerned about collecting test data than educating students.

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