Pearson Loses Bulk of Texas Student Testing Contract

 

Dear Friends,

A very informative article written by Morgan Smith. Smith reports on politics and education for the Tribune, which she joined in November 2009. She writes about the effects of the state budget, school finance reform, accountability and testing in Texas public schools. Her political coverage has included congressional and legislative races, as well as Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential campaign, which she followed to Iowa and New Hampshire. In 2013, she received a National Education Writers Association award for “Death of a District,” a series on school closures. After earning a bachelor’s degree in English from Wellesley College, she moved to Austin in 2008 to enter law school at the University of Texas. A San Antonio native, her work has also appeared in Slate, where she spent a year as an editorial intern in Washington D.C.

 Pearson Loses Bulk of Texas Student Testing Contract

For the first time in three decades, a new company is poised to develop and administer the state-required exams Texas students begin taking in the third grade. 

The state is in negotiations with Educational Testing Service, or ETS, to take over the bulk of the four-year, $340 million student assessment contract, the Texas Education Agency announced Monday. Company Vice President John Oswald said ETS is “privileged and honored” to land the work. Final contracts are still being negotiated.

The London-based Pearson Education has held the state’s largest education-related contract — most recently, a five-year, $468 million deal to provide state exams through 2015 — since Texas began requiring state student assessments in the 1980s. Under the new agreement, the company would still develop the state’s assessments designed for special needs and foreign students. That portion of the contract is worth about $60 million.  

As the Legislature moved to reduce the state’s standardized testing program in response to widespread outcry from parents and school leaders in 2013, the state’s contract with Pearson became the focus of much criticism. Many lawmakers, including former Senate Education Committee Chairman and now Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, attacked what they viewed as the company’s excessive influence in the policy-making process and called for greater scrutiny of testing contracts. 

In 2013, the state auditor concluded that the state education agency did not adequately oversee the contract with Pearson. At the time, Education Commissioner Michael Williams thanked the auditor’s office for its recommendations, which he said would be put into effect immediately.

Disclosure: Pearson is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

 Comment from Donna Garner

“Now that new tests are to be developed for Texas by Educational Testing Service, the TEA staffers will really have to monitor the development of these new tests carefully. They must follow the Type #1 TEKS adopted by the elected members of the SBOE. Part of the reason why Texas dumped Pearson is because of its very close ties to Common Core which has become a “dirty name” all across America, including in Texas. Hopefully when ETS produces its new set of Texas tests, the test writers will stay completely clear of Common Core.”  

Respectfully,

Tincy Miller

SBOE, District 12

www.tincymiller.com

tincymiller35@gmail.com

Open Letter to Argyle ISD Candidates for School Board from Alice Linahan

 

Dear Friends,

A timely and informative article written by Alice Linahan, a politically-active Texas mom.  Founder of Voices Empower a consulting firm working with for-profit and non-profit organizations nationwide.  Voices Empower works in the trenches of the grassroots movement to break the reliance on the media for news and information. Voices Empower is on track to re-define the meaning of “boots on the ground.” Specifically, by implementing a communication team strategy that gives activists the tools to “ENGAGE” and change hearts and minds vs. just a CLICK “LIKE” mentality on social media

To the Argyle ISD Candidates for School Board.

My name is Alice Linahan and I want to first take the time to say thank you for stepping up and running for our local school board. This position you are seeking is so important and is the best line of defense we have against a fundamental transformation of education in America. Our locally elected school boards have the power to say… “NO” and be a voice for all of us in the Argyle community.

I was the one who wrote the question at the PTA forum asking what your opinion was on technology in the classroom and if you were concerned about data being collected by the state and federal government on our children and their teachers.

I work with an organization called WomenOnTheWall.org, who is working on this issue extensively. I also regularly post on Voices Empower.com.  I want to share with you information you need to know, should you become a school board member.  It is imperative you understand this issue in order to protect all of our children here in Argyle ISD.

There is a fundamental shift occurring in Education across America. The shift is NOT liberal vs conservative. Many liberals as well as conservatives are horrified by what they are seeing in the classrooms. The fundamental shift in education we are talking about is changing from a transmission of knowledge, that parents still expect from our schools, to an emphasis on altering the students world-views, their attitudes, values, beliefs and behaviors.

When education is focused on how students perceive the world, that is known as critical theory or “cultural marxism.” Two great exposes that clearly show the affects of this emphasis in history and literature can be found in these two books by university professors, Keith Windschuttle, The Killing of History and John Ellis’, Literature Lost: Social Agendas and the Corruption of the Humanities.

To understand what is happening, Robin Eubanks, author of Credentialed to Destroy explains how the College Board’s SAT and AP (Advanced Placement) assessments and conceptual frameworks can be described as “Transdisiplinary” in their purpose. Transdisiplinary is when the function of the subject matter, concept themes in the syllabus, and course frameworks are all used to guide how a student views the world. The technical term most commonly used is lenses. Effectively these lenses become the values, attitudes, and beliefs the students are to be taking away from the curriculum.

When you understand the template and the goal is to change the attitudes, values, beliefs and behaviors, you begin to clearly see the danger.

Education is no longer about knowledge which gives a child an opportunity in a free market society.  Education is now about “Equity” based on attitudes, values, beliefs and behaviors.  Then, the question becomes, whose attitudes, values and beliefs?

We have shifted, with the help of elected officials on both sides of the political aisle in Texas, through HB5 to what is a “Workforce Development” education system known as a P-20W (Pre-school through the Workforce) where we are allowing our children to be “Human Capital” in order to control the economy.

An essential element of this transformation is the collection of “necessary” personally identifiable data, which is data that can be gleaned from the captive audience of public-school students.  If ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act)/NCLB (No Child Left Behind) is reauthorized which includes “school choice” language, private and homeschooled children will be impacted as well. Not only will we be handing our child’s private data over to the state and federal government, we will be handing over their freedom to choose what they want to be with they grow up. In this system from preschool on they are no longer being tested on knowledge, they are given formative assessments monitoring their competency for the workforce.

There were three major actions under the Obama administration, without legislative approval, to change two hundred years of traditional public education in the United States.

(1)  The Common Core copyright, which created a national curriculum and national testing mandating that individual students meet individual standards (similar to the Obamacare individual mandate). Please read; Texas Did Not Need Common Core Standards- We Are Ahead of the Curve

(2)  Unlocking data ‘to flow’ through the Family Education Rights in Privacy Act, FERPA, which allows personally identifiable information on our children to flow to outside 3rd party contractors for research and curriculum development to match Common Core. Please read about HB 2103 here…. Republicans Usher In Progressive Education Reform in Texas

(3)  No Child Left Behind Flexibility Waiver, (ESEA, Elementary and Secondary Education Act), that is re-training teachers to teach to Common Core. Please read Formative vs Summative Assessments- HR5 Mental Health Legislation

This allowed ALL children in public school to be funded under Title I by changing the definition of who is poor or educationally deprived to anyone not meeting Common Core/College and Career Ready Standards. (Free and reduced lunch guidelines of 40% school wide were dropped to 0%.)

These three important points control standards and testing, curriculum, and teachers with all public school children being funded under Title I.

‘Obama and Progressive Republican’s Equity in Education Plan‘ for our entire country:

 

• charter schools replace public schools:

• everyone has federal Title I choice funds to go to any school (charter, private or religious   schools)

• every child is taught the same standards:

• every teacher must teach the same standards:

• every test must be aligned to these standards:

• curriculum and software is aligned to standards:

• everything listed here is aligned to government data collection compliance.

 

In understand that this e-mail may be overwhelming and that I may be described as a tinfoil hat crazy mom but……

If I am right, not only are my children going to be impacted, your children will be harmed as well. As an elected school board member you are elected to represent the best interest of all Argyle students. That is why I bring all of this to your attention.

Please feel free to call me with any questions, comments or concerns.

I am here to help.

 

I highly recommend you watch this short video.
Jane Robbins – Workforce Development, Data Collection and the Big Picture of Fed Led Ed

 

Respectfully,

Tincy Miller,

SBOE, District 12

Tincymiller35@gmail.com

www.tincymiller.com