The Smear Campaign Against Charters

Dear Friends,

 An informative article regarding Charter Schools, written by Baker A. Mitchell.  Mitchell is a retired electrical engineer, former university assistant professor, and entrepreneur.  He founded Roger Bacon Academy, which manages four public charter schools in North Carolina that have a combined diverse enrollment of over 2,200 students.

 The Smear Campaign Against Charters

With a new school year ahead, the attacks on charter schools have begun anew. In North Carolina we’re hearing outrageous charges of racism. A public-television commentator claimed recently that “resegregation” was the purpose of charter schools “from the start.”

Meanwhile, parents are voting with their feet. Statewide enrollment in traditional public schools has declined four years in a row. Less than 80% of K-12 students now attend district schools. More than 110,000 are enrolled in charters and 100,000 in private schools. More than 140,000 are being home-schooled.

The suggestion that district schools are being resegregated through “white flight” to schools of choice is nonsense. North Carolina charters today have a slightly higher percentage of black students (26.1%) than district schools (25.2%). And those students aren’t assigned. Parents choose our schools.

It’s “certainly no accident” that critics invoke the Jim Crow era by referring to “segregation,” Lindalyn Kakadelis of North Carolina Education Strategies told me. “The goal is to stop the growth of K-12 education options at any cost.” Charter school critics “do not want families making educational decisions for their children. The system does not want to lose control or money.”

Charges of racism are intended to divert attention from the failure of traditional public schools to educate minority children. According to the most recent Charter Schools Annual Report to the North Carolina General Assembly, published in February, charter-school students at virtually every grade level and in virtually all student subgroups—white, African-American, Hispanic, economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities, and students with limited English proficiency—outperformed traditional public-school students in English, math and science at the end of the school year. The sole exception was high-school math scores, where results were mixed.

The Roger Bacon Academy, which I founded in 1999, oversees four charter schools in southeastern North Carolina that are among the top-performing in their communities. All four schools are Title 1 schools, meaning 40% or more of the students come from lower-income households. One of the schools, Frederick Douglass Academy in downtown Wilmington, is a majority-minority school.

We succeed where others fail because we do things differently. Our classical curriculum, direct-instruction methods, additional instructional hours, and focus on orderliness are a proven formula for successful learning.

I never intended to get involved in education. But after selling a company I founded, I began volunteering as a science instructor at Houston-area elementary schools. I met Thaddeus Lott, principal of Wesley Elementary, a high-achieving school with a predominantly low-income black student body.

I pulled into the parking lot and noticed a 6-foot-high barbed-wire fence around the school. I quickly learned the problems were outside. The students were well-behaved and academically advanced. They read Shakespeare, learned phonics, and memorized multiplication tables. The results were so impressive that Houston school officials accused the school of cheating on tests—then forced the superintendent out when the charge was proved wrong.

Charter schools do not seek to replace traditional public schools, but rather to complement them, providing alternatives to the existing system. Our way is better for some students, not all. Let parents decide.

The “resegregation” attacks are a continuation of a broader smear campaign that began last year. Parents and policy makers shouldn’t be distracted. Charters are doing well—and if they don’t, they lose their charters and are shut down, unlike failing district schools.

Tincy Miller

Former Member SBOE, District 12

Member 1984-2010

Appointed: Chair 2003-2007

Elected: 2013

Re-Elected 2014

Retired January 1, 2019

Texas Sends to Governor Bill Banning Cities from Partnering with Planned Parenthood

Dear Friends,

A very informative article written on Planned Parenthood by Dr. Susan Berry, Dr. Berry is a conservative writer and contributor to, she has a doctorate in psychology. She writes about cultural, educational, and healthcare policy issues. Shared by Donna Garner, a retired teacher and education activist    (

Texas Sends to Governor Bill Banning Cities from Partnering with Planned Parenthood

Excerpts from this article:

The Texas State Senate voted 20-11 Friday to approve a House amendment to a bill that would ban state, county, and local governments from contracting or partnering with Planned Parenthood for any services.

The bill now heads to the desk of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

The Texas Tribune reported on the House amendment to Senate Bill 22:

The bill would prohibit the transfer of money to an abortion provider — but it would also bar the transfer of goods, services or anything that offers the provider “something of value derived from state or local tax revenue.” Abortion opponents worry that any money directed to abortion providers could be used to promote the organization in other important ways, like to finance advertisements or open a new clinic. They criticized Planned Parenthood’s $1-per-year rental agreement with the city for its East Austin clinic, which they’ve railed against as an unfair “sweetheart rent deal.”

“This bill just prevents taxpayer dollars from being used to support or prop up abortion providers,” said State Sen. Donna Campbell, the Republican author of the bill.

…Democrat State Sen. José Rodríguez said the bill would cause lack of access to HIV tests, cancer screenings, contraceptives, and other health care provided by Planned Parenthood.

[Planned Parenthood does not offer women mammograms.  State-run programs such as Healthy Texas Women do offer mammograms plus they have certified healthcare specialists who offer fact-based STD information, comprehensive healthcare, birth control, pregnancy tests, counseling, health screenings and treatment for hypertension/ diabetes/cholesterol, and prenatal care.]

Texas lawmakers, however, have increased funding for state-run healthcare programs such as Healthy Texas Women, which provides free or low-cost family planning services. Supporters of the legislation are seeking to divert women away from abortion clinics and their affiliates for health care and toward the state-run alternatives.

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The Texas House passed another bill Thursday, 84-67, that would penalize abortionists who fail to provide medical care to infants who are born alive following a failed abortion. That measure is also headed to the governor’s desk.

Tincy Miller

Former Member SBOE, District 12

Member 1984-2010

Appointed: Chair 2003-2007

Elected: 2013

Re-Elected 2014

Retired January 1, 2019

“Is Dr. Shormann’s DIVE Online Math and Science Program a Good Choice?”

Dear Friends,

An informative article written by Nakonia (Niki) Hayes. Niki is certified and experienced in journalism, mathematics, guidance counseling, special education, and administration, Ms. Hayes has taught mathematics from the 6th grade through high school to students in special education, gifted education, and regular classrooms. She also worked 17 years in journalism as a news reporter, public information officer, and speech writer for legislators in Wisconsin and Texas.

She is passionate about traditional math education for all groups of children, especially learning disabled students; she is a member of 2012 TX state committee to rewrite K-12 mathematics standards; a member of groups strongly opposed to Common Core standards, especially in mathematics; she is dedicated to bringing honor and recognition to John Saxon’s traditionally-based Saxon Mathematics program.  Shared by Donna Garner a retired teacher and education activist (


“Is Dr. Shormann’s DIVE OnlineMath and Science Program a Good Choice?”

This message is in response to a question I received from a parent about DIVE: Shormann Math, an online mathematics and science program for homeschool and/or private school students that is written by Dr. David Shormann.  

Dr. Shormann, the program creator and director of DIVE (an interactive education website) has based his program on Saxon Math materials and methodology for many years; now he has written his own ONLINE mathematics program called Shormann Math, found on his DIVE website at  It is based in part on the Saxon methodology of incremental learning and continual review but now has integrated materials that he feels are necessary for today’s students to be successful in math and science programs. This includes technology applications, computer math, real-world problems, and non-standard solutions.  Numerous in-depth links with explanations about the program are on his website:

Dr. Shormann ( earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering and a master’s degree in marine chemistry from the University of Texas. His doctorate in limnology (a study of inland waters) is from Texas A&M University. He has an extensive background working with mathematics and science from aerospace engineering to oceanography.

Presently living in Hawaii, Dr. Shormann said he is currently working on a patent-pending design. “It is a biomimetic airfoil based off a humpback whale’s pectoral fins. LOTS of math application going on with that. It’s got everything from Fibonacci ratios to computational fluid dynamics!”  

I contacted him because I had heard he was changing some of the methods used in Saxon Math. This seemed unacceptable to me since Saxon Math is successful when users follow Saxon methods with little to no exception.

 We talked by telephone on Thursday, March 14. This is a summary of that 70-minute conversation:

(1)    Saxon Math unchanged: Saxon Math is still being offered with no changes to its requirement of 30 homework problems and its methodology. Video lectures to accompany Saxon Math are still available in grades 4-12.

(2)    On homework: However, his own Shormann Math materials presently cover Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Advanced Math. These have 100 video lectures and lessons in each subject with 20 homework problems, as compared to Saxon Math with its 125 lessons/30 homework problems per lesson in Algebra 1; 129 lessons/30 homework in Algebra 2; and 125 lessons/30 homework in Advanced Mathematics.  

With 20 homework problems which MUST be worked in each of the 100 lessons, that equals 2,000 homework problems for each course. Dr. Shormann believes this is adequate homework practice. (All homework problems in Saxon Math MUST also be worked.)  

Considering how many schools are limiting or eliminating homework today, and one of the reasons public schools in particular avoid Saxon Math with its demand that all 30 homework problems be solved, I find Dr. Shormann is remaining true to the Saxon philosophy that completion of all homework problems supports a student’s retention and learning of information in daily lessons.

(3)    Struggling by students: I was concerned that students are not being allowed to see the solutions manual until after they had made several efforts to work out a problem. I interpreted that to reflect the progressive philosophy that students learn best by “struggling” through a lesson.  Dr. Shormann explained that with online coursework, the easy answer for students is often simply to look at the solutions manual. He wants to be sure they have made good-faith efforts to work the problems; he doesn’t want students to “struggle,” but he does want them to put in the time to try and reach the correct solution. That made sense to me.

(4)    Non-standard solutions: We discussed the issue of “non-standard solutions,” which is a particularly egregious topic with me for elementary and middle school students. Dr. Shormann said these solution processes are now required on the SAT and ACT. That is, a traditional procedure for finding an answer may need to be supported with alternative procedures to prove the student understands the concept within the SAT question.

I accepted, therefore, that non-standard solutions may need to be taught now at the high school level, but I explained those are being required, as interpreted with Common Core standards by publishers and teachers, in grades 1-8. I believe it is unacceptable to require these unfamiliar, non-standard methods in such early grade levels. For one thing, too many parents cannot help their children with lesson assignments that use such unfamiliar methods. (There are many other reasons against supplanting traditional procedures with these non-standard methods at the K-8 level.) 

(5)    Real world problems: I asked about the use of “real world” problems that Dr. Shormann promotes on his website.  John Saxon hated that progressives used the term “real world” problems simply to promote politically correct ideas within their curriculum. Dr. Shormann’s problems are from “real world”, however, as related to specific occupations, personal interests, math history, etc. That satisfied me.

(6)    Integrated math: I said the description of “integrated” mathematics is a loaded term used by progressives and resisted by many traditionalists. Based on European and Asian math programs that are not separated into distinct subjects such as algebra and geometry, and thus are “integrated” materials, Dr. Shormann believed that Saxon pioneered integrated math in America by integrating geometry throughout the Saxon algebra books and advanced math.  

I explained Saxon did that for only one reason: He said geometry is used here as a “wedge” course to weed out students from advanced math classes. That is, when students take a sequence of Algebra 1, Geometry, and then Algebra 2, the year between the algebra courses causes weaker students to struggle in Algebra 2. He believed that was eliminating many students who could have worked Algebra 2 successfully if they had had continuity with their learning in the subject. By spacing geometry over three courses, Saxon’s goal was simply to provide an uninterrupted access for more students entering higher mathematics and science. 

I’m still concerned that use of the word “integrated” in math education conjures up the weak progressive materials that are not written on the level of European or Asian courses. They are, instead, at fault for much of the failure of math education programs in America.  John Saxon’s precise use of “incremental learning” and “continual review” offers more clarity in describing his sometimes-called “blended” or “scaffolding” methods.

Summary:  Dr. Shormann and I discussed many other topics. At this point I will say that I believe his online program is an excellent one and his heart truly is in the right place for students’ learning. The traditional Saxon Math can be taken or his new Shormann Math with its integrated materials is available.

While my heart will always be with the pure and proven Saxon Math at all levels, I appreciate Christian values that support mathematics, or vice-versa, being available in lessons to non-public school students. Because I had a semester course in the history of mathematics years ago that hooked me on the subject, I am also pleased that Dr. Shormann is incorporating people and topics from that rich history into his lessons. This can help explain how greatly the world of mathematics has always transcended throughout, and thus supported, other subject areas.


Tincy Miller

Former Member SBOE, District 12

Member 1984-2010

Appointed: Chair 2003-2007

Elected: 2013

Re-Elected 2014

Retired January 1, 2019

“Common Core Contributor Blows Whistle on Common Core ‘Reading’

Dear Friends,

A very interesting article about Common Core, written by Alex Newman. Mr. Newman is an American journalist and consultant who writes about economics, finance, banking, business, and politics for diverse publications in the United States and abroad. He studied journalism, economics and political science at the University of Florida. Shared by Donna Garner a retired teacher and education activist (

“Common Core Contributor Blows Whistle on Common Core ‘Reading’

  The reading program in the Common Core national standards is contributing to an escalating crisis in literacy across America because the standards are deeply flawed and not based on science. That is according to Dr. Louisa Moats, an internationally renowned reading expert who actually served as a contributor to the Common Core’s literacy standards. Now she is sounding the alarm.

In an interview with The Newman Report, Dr. Moats explained that insufficient or poor foundational skills including phonics, phoneme awareness, and automatic, fluent word reading in the early years contributes to later literacy problems and failures in children. Another key problem is forcing children to memorize “sight words,” which are mandated under Common Core in Kindergarten.

“My warnings and protests were ignored at the time,” said Dr. Moats, who founded a firm named Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) to help teachers. “I knew from my prior experience that the way it was written, organized, would undo a lot of the progress that we had made during the previous eight years And that’s exactly what happened.”

Despite contributing to it, Dr. Moats realized that the early literacy standards would cause major problems. “I wasn’t pleased with the final Common Core document,” she added. “There’s language in Common Core that’s not based in reality, that doesn’t reflect how children learn to read. We have decades of data on what it takes for kids to acquire fluency.”

The sight word approach seeks to have children memorize whole words using their visual memory. “But this is not how a good reader reads,” Dr. Moats explained. “There is lots of evidence showing this, including studies about what happens in the brain as children learn to read. It is a myth that kids learn irregular words or learn any words ‘by sight.’ They don’t.”

Indeed, the children who are taught using sight words actually learn through the same process as everyone else, but they do it in spite of the teacher and what they are being taught. A good proportion will fall by the wayside, though, “because you can only remember so many words by rote if you don’t understand what the letters represent,” she said, pointing to sounds, syllables, meaningful parts of words, and grammatical features.” They may learn 50 words on flash cards, but then they hit the wall.”

And unfortunately, the problems in the early years cause massive issues later on. “If things aren’t done right early on, it doesn’t matter, by the time they get to high school the show is over as far as whether somebody is going to learn to read,” she said.

Dr. Moats was also surprised by how the Common Core was pushed on states. “When I was invited to work on the foundational section, I was imagining out of my naivete that this document would be floated out by Department of Education or the National Governors Association as a kind of north star or guideline for states wanting to improve their own standards,” she said. “I had no idea that what they were going to do was direct publishers to change everything and to appropriate money for the creation of aligned tests, before people understood and had debated or tried to act on the standards.”

And yet, some people were celebrating. “The next thing that happened after Common Core was published – immediately, the element in the reading field that has never wanted to put any emphasis on these foundational skills sort of came back to life, they were thrilled,” Dr. Moats said. “Some of the leaders wrote how relieved they were not to have to teach phonics, so they could focus on ‘real purpose’ of reading.”

The Newman Report will have more on Dr. Moats’ insights into reading and Common Core next week, so stay tuned.

As this writer and Dr. Sam Blumenfeld documented extensively in Crimes of the Educators, the so-called “reading wars” have been going on since Horace Mann first introduced the “whole word” method in Boston. But unfortunately, the primary casualties in these wars are not the “experts” and bigwigs in the education establishment, but the millions of children being handicapped for life with quackery. It is time for the madness to end.

Tincy Miller

Former Member SBOE, District 12

Member 1984-2010

Appointed: Chair 2003-2007

Elected: 2013

Re-Elected 2014

Retired January 1, 2019

Florida Gov. DeSantis Signs Executive Order To Abolish Common Core

Dear Friends,

An excellent article regarding Common Core. Shared by Donna Garner a retired teacher and education activist (

Florida Gov. DeSantis Signs Executive Order To Abolish Common Core

CAPE CORAL, Fla. (FOX 13) – Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a news conference Thursday he wanted to abolish the Common Core education program, which is part of the state education system’s Florida Standards.

DeSantis cited concerns from parents, he heard while campaigning to become governor, as the main reason for the decision. 

“When you complained about Common Core, I hear you,” the governor said. “I told you I would do something about it.”

DeSantis said he was looking forward to working with Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran to come up with a new set of standards, “which will include eliminating Common Core and the vestiges of Common Core.”

The governor’s executive order will require the commissioner to put together a plan to phase out the Common Core systems while adopting new standards that better serve students, teachers, and parents.

DeSantis also said he wanted testing to be streamlined testing so it could measure success, “but we’re not just teaching to a test.”

“And then, something that’s really, really important to me, identifying ways we can make civics education a priority in Florida,” DeSantis said…

Link to full article:



Tincy Miller

Former Member SBOE, District 12

Member 1984-2010

Appointed: Chair 2003-2007

Elected: 2013

Re-Elected 2014

Retired January 1, 2019

New Evidence Reveals Full Extent of Common Core’s Historic Failure

Dear Friends,

 An informative article exposing new evidence regarding Common Core. Written by Jane Robbins, an attorney and a senior fellow with the American Principals project.  Shared by Donna Garner a retired teacher and education activist.

 “New Evidence Reveals Full Extent of Common Core’s Historic Failure”

Most public schools are still afflicted with the Common Core national standards. Paid advocates such as the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation continue to push Common Core despite overwhelming evidence of the slow-motion train wreck that has resulted – reduced student achievement by almost every metric. Fordham refuses even to acknowledge the bad news, much less try to rationalize it.

That’s why it was refreshing to hear the blunt truth proclaimed at a Heritage Foundation event last week entitled “Rethinking Federal Intervention in K-12 Education.” At this program the authors of a new Pioneer Institute study, “Common Core, School Choice and Rethinking Standards-Based Reform,” explained how Common Core has not only damaged public education but also threatened the independence of private schools. How? By imposing government strings on the curricular autonomy of the schools that accept government funding via school-choice mechanisms such as vouchers. 

Study authors Ted Rebarber of AccountabilityWorks and Neal McCluskey of the Cato Institute advocate restoring genuine diversity in education models by removing centralized government control over K-12 school standards. But the prelude to that argument came from Rebarber, who minced no words in describing the doleful effect of Common Core on education.

“In my view,” Rebarber observed, “[Common Core] is really the worst large-scale educational failure in 40 years.”

Unlike Fordham and its allies, Rebarber offered actual evidence to support his thesis. He demonstrated that U.S. students’ math scores on the National Association of Educational Progress (NAEP) had long been creeping up ever since reliable test results became available in the 1970s. But after release of Common Core in 2010 and full implementation in the fall of 2014, NAEP scores plateaued and then began to decline. 

Rebarber focused on scores of the bottom quartile of students, those who were already behind – “the students that were touted as the target for improvement.” Under Common Core, these students’ performance has fallen.

According to Rebarber, “That’s never happened at a consistent multi-year scale [on] the best test instruments we’ve had since we’ve been able to measure in the 1970s. And so that is historic.”

Higher-performing students have been hurt as well. Rebarber’s graph of recent ACT scores showed that the modest upward trend line flattens upon Common Core release and then begins a decline which accelerates with full implementation. 

Why has Common Core math failed so abysmally? Rebarber observed that rather than increasing the rigor of the math standards as promised, Common Core “just calcified the existing [deficient] rigor of the math program” – teaching algebra I and geometry content two years later than do the top-achieving countries. In addition, the standards “ended up pushing some progressive educational methods or dogmas . . . delaying introduction of standard algorithms and other methods that are enforced through the tests.”  

…And here we are – not only treading water, but actually sinking. Historic!



Tincy Miller

SBOE, District 12

Why Are We Still Teaching Reading the Wrong Way?

Dear Friends,

An informative article written by Emily Hanford. Hanford is a senior education correspondent for APM Reports and the producer of the audio documentary “Hard Words: Why Aren’t Kids Being Taught to Read?” This article is based on her reporting for that project.

Why Are We Still Teaching Reading the Wrong Way?

Teacher preparation programs continue to ignore the sound science behind how people become readers.

Our children aren’t being taught to read in ways that line up with what scientists have discovered about how people actually learn.

It’s a problem that has been hiding in plain sight for decades. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, more than six in 10 fourth graders aren’t proficient readers. It has been this way since testing began. A third of kids can’t read at a basic level.

How do we know that a big part of the problem is how children are being taught? Because reading researchers have done studies in classrooms and clinics, and they’ve shown over and over that virtually all kids can learn to read — if they’re taught with approaches that use what scientists have discovered about how the brain does the work of reading. But many teachers don’t know this science.

What have scientists figured out? First of all, while learning to talk is a natural process that occurs when children are surrounded by spoken language, learning to read is not. To become readers, kids need to learn how the words they know how to say connect to print on the page. They need explicit, systematic phonics instruction. There are hundreds of studies that back this up.

But talk to teachers and many will tell you they learned something different about how children learn to read in their teacher preparation programs. Jennifer Rigney-Carroll, who completed a master’s degree in special education in 2016, told me she was taught that children “read naturally if they have access to books.” Jessica Root, an intervention specialist in Ohio, said she learned “you want to get” children “excited about what they’re reading, find books that they’re interested in, and just read, read, read.” Kathy Bast, an elementary school principal in Pennsylvania, learned the same thing. “It was just: Put literature in front of the kids, teach the story, and the children will learn how to read through exposure,” she said.

These ideas are rooted in beliefs about reading that were once commonly called “whole language” and that gained a lot of traction in the 1980s. Whole-language proponents dismissed the need for phonics. Reading is “the most natural activity in the world,” Frank Smith, one of the intellectual leaders of the whole-language movement, wrote. It “is only through reading that children learn to read. Trying to teach children to read by teaching them the sounds of letters is literally a meaningless activity.”

These ideas had been debunked by the early 2000s. It may seem as if kids are learning to read when they’re exposed to books, and some kids do pick up sound-letter correspondences quickly and easily. But the science shows clearly that to become a good reader, you must learn to decode words. Many whole-language proponents added some phonics to their approach and rebranded it “balanced literacy.”

But they did not give up their core belief that learning to read is a natural process that occurs when parents and teachers expose children to good books. So, while you’re likely to find some phonics lessons in a balanced-literacy classroom, you’re also likely to find a lot of other practices rooted in the idea that children learn to read by reading rather than by direct instruction in the relationship between sounds and letters. For example, teachers will give young children books that contain words with letter patterns the children haven’t yet been taught. You’ll see alphabetical “word walls” that rest on the idea that learning to read is a visual memory process rather than a process of understanding how letters represent sounds. You’ll hear teachers telling kids to guess at words they don’t know based on context and pictures rather than systematically teaching children how to decode.

Many teachers learn these approaches in their teacher preparation programs. Publishers perpetuate these ideas, and school districts buy in. But colleges of education — which should be at the forefront of pushing the best research — have largely ignored the scientific evidence on reading.

The National Council on Teacher Quality reviewed the syllabuses of teacher preparation programs nationwide and found that fewer than four in 10 taught the components of effective reading instruction identified by research. A study of early-literacy instruction in teacher preparation programs across the University of North Carolina system found that instructional strategies based on research were mentioned “in a cursory way, if at all, on most syllabuses.” (Some instructors required students to write their “personal philosophies” about how to teach reading.) Kelly Butler of the Barksdale Reading Institute in Mississippi interviewed more than 100 deans and faculty members of schools of education as part of a study of teacher preparation programs in the state and found that most of them could not explain basic scientific principles about how children learn to read.

It’s not just ignorance. There’s active resistance to the science, too. I interviewed a professor of literacy in Mississippi who told me she was “philosophically opposed” to phonics instruction. One of her colleagues told me she didn’t agree with the findings of reading scientists because “it’s their science.”

There is no excuse for this. Colleges of education have to start requiring that their faculties teach the science of reading. Children’s futures depend on it.

To view article in its entirety:


Tincy Miller

SBOE, District 12

Truth in American Education Common Core, The Great “Leveler”

Dear Friends,

 Article written by Jane Robbins, an attorney and a senior fellow with the American Principals project. Robbins takes most of her comments from Barry Garelick’s book. Garelick is an experienced middle-school math teacher from California.  If anyone knows about what it is like to be “in the trenches” watching students struggle with the ridiculous Common Core Math approach, Garelick knows. Shared by Donna Garner a retired teacher and education activist.


Truth in American Education

Common Core, The Great “Leveler”


This is getting tiresome. Every new round of test scores, whether from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) or some other vehicle, shows either stagnation or decline in reading and math performance of American students. Every time this happens, we write about the now undeniable connection to the Common Core national standards, which began to be implemented in most states in 2010. The recently released and utterly predictable scores from ACT require yet another commentary on the decline of academic performance and college-readiness under Common Core. 

How many times must this cycle repeat before someone in power is shamed into doing something about it?

Let’s look first at ACT’s college-readiness. According to Education Week, ACT correlates scores with students’ likelihood of earning Bs or Cs in credit-bearing college coursework. This year, only 40 percent of test-takers met the benchmark in math – the lowest level since 2004, and down from 46 percent in 2012. Significantly, unlike today’s students, the higher-scoring 2012 students had had little if any exposure to the glorious reforms of Common Core. As for reading, only 60 percent of test-takers met the college-readiness benchmark – the lowest level ever in the 16-year history of the benchmark. 

As for the straight scores, Education Week breaks the news: “The average math score for the graduating class of 2018 was 20.5, marking a steady decline from 20.9 five years ago, and virtually no progress since 1998, when it was 20.6.” And reading? “[T]he scores in English didn’t offer much cause for celebration, either. The average score for the class of 2018 was 20.2, the same as five years ago, and down half a point from the English-score high in 2007.”

But the hits just keep on comin’. Average composite scores fell in all racial and ethnic groups except Asian-Americans. So Common Core has been a great leveler – just not in the way it was promised. 

ACT’s chief executive officer was in a gloomy mood. “We’re at a very dangerous point. And if we do nothing, it will keep on declining,” he predicted.

So what should we do? Anyone with no Gates funding and two brain cells to rub together would conclude that a good start would be ditching Common Core lock, stock, and barrel – every “informational text,” every “close reading,” every “deeper conceptual understanding,” every “Lexile” measure, every “alternative algorithm,” every “real-world problem-solving,” every “rigorous” standard, every delay in standard algorithms, every delay in algebra, every “collaboration,” every “consensus,” all of it. Surely this will happen now.

Or maybe not. The progressive-education reformers have a lot invested in this experiment, and they’re guarding their interests. The immediate past-president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, an organization that bears much blame for pushing the kind of ridiculous math enshrined in Common Core, isn’t giving up the national standards without a fight. As reported in Education Week, this educrat “said that states have made solid progress adopting the good math standards, but the ACT results suggest that schools need to focus on improving curriculum and instructional practice to bring those expectations fully to life.”

Ah yes, that’s the ticket – the standards are great, so if we only improve “curriculum and instructional practice,” our kids may once again learn to read and work math problems.  This is certainly Bill Gates’s position, and after all he’s very rich and so knows of what he speaks. And this is basically the position of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, which recently released a report singing the praises of Common Core. Rarely does such a report get disproven in only a few months. Unfortunate timing for Fordham.

For those keeping score at home, here’s the evidence of the raging success of Common Core:

  • From the 2015 NAEP scores: for the first time in over 20 years, declines in math performance across the board, stagnation or declines in reading performance, and decline in college-readiness benchmarks in both areas.
  • From the 2017 NAEP scores: no improvement from the dismal 2015 scores.
  • From the 2017 NAEP scores: increased “achievement gap” between white/Asian students and other minority groups.
  • From the 2017 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) test: U.S. students tumblefrom 5th in the world to 13th.

The protective edifice that has been erected around Common Core – by the federal government, state education establishments, private foundations, corporations, education consultants, and individual megalomaniacs – has got to go. If these defenders refuse to acknowledge the truth staring them in the face, they are elevating their own interests over those of American children.


Tincy Miller

SBOE, District 12 

Pam Little, Great Candidate!

Dear Friends,

After serving 32 years on the State Board of Education, it is extremely important to me who my replacement is.  That is why I am happy to endorse Republican Pam Little. She is conservative and is committed to protecting The Permanent School Fund, the children’s text book fund, for its constitutional purpose, wants to continue our strong programs for children with dyslexia, and supports our scientific-research-based reading curriculum. She is also strongly opposed to The Common Core education system. I have enclosed her biography below.


What Pam Little Supports:

  • All children learning to ready by 3rd grade
  • Phonics is the way to teach children how to read
  • Continue strong programs for children with dyslexia, helping them to succeed
  • Educating our children to be responsible, patriotic, and productive citizens
  • Preparing our students to be successful with jobs of the future
  • Protecting the Permanent School Fund
  • Local Tax Dollars mean Local Control
  • Teaching Children to learn and think – not to test

Pam grew up in Bryan-College Station, attended Texas A&M, received a degree from the University of Houston in social studies with a minor in business education.

She was a former College Instructor and taught business courses at North Harris County Community College. A Retired Educational Publishing Executive. Pam held various positions in sales and marketing, retired in 2008 as a regional vice president with management and budget responsibilities. During this time she observed the SBOE with regard to creating materials to match the state curriculum and understand their responsibilities. Pam Little started Ace Fence Company with her husband 41 years ago in Houston. Today the business is one of the largest fence companies in the metroplex. She handles the executive financial responsibilities.

Current Community Service

Serves On:

  • Samaritan Inn Board – a homeless facility and program to help willing people regain their dignity through support with career training and financial management classes. It is located in McKinney.
  • Republican Women of Greater North Texas Board as it’s treasurer and have held this position for several years

Member of:

  • Plano Rotary
  • First United Methodist Church

Community Supporter of:

  • Veterans of North Texas
  • Collin County Boys and Girls Club
  • Fairview Youth Theater
  • SPCA
  • Texas A&M University
  • Vickery Meadows Summer Reading Academy

Previous Community Service

Served as:

  • President of Samaritan Inn Board
  • Scholarship Chair of the Texas Federation of Republican Women Board
  • Fairview Town Council Member
  • Member of Allen-Fairview Chamber Board
  • Member of Junior League Advisory Council
  • Member of Finance Committee of First United Methodist in McKinney
  • Treasurer of the Plano Rotary
  • Coordinator of after school garden club program at Caldwell Elementary, a Title One school in McKinney
  • Member of the Economic Development Corporation of Fairview

Notable Achievements

  • Graduate of Allen-Fairview Leadership class 24
  • Received the Spirit of Fairview Award 2016
  • Outstanding Republican Woman 2014
  • Republican Women of Greater North Texas President’s award 2014

Pam and her husband Larry have been married for over 40 years. They have 2 children who were educated in public schools of Plano and McKinney, both have received upper level degrees, associates of arts degree from Le Cordon Bleu and Special Education degree from Texas A&M. Pam and Larry have 3 grandsons and all live in the McKinney area. She and her family have lived in Collin County for over 30 years.



Tincy Miller

SBOE, District 12

DeVos Signs onto Globalist U.N. Education Agenda, Grassroots Parents Call for Her Dismissal

Dear Friends,
A very informative article written by Dr. Susan Berry, Dr. Berry is a conservative writer
and contributor to, she has a doctorate in psychology. She writes about
cultural, educational, and healthcare policy issues. Shared by Donna Garner, a retired
teacher and education activist (

“DeVos Signs onto Globalist U.N. Education Agenda,
Grassroots Parents Call for Her Dismissal”

U.S. Parents Involved in Education (USPIE) – an organization of parents,
taxpayers, and educators who are committed to ending the U.S. Department of
Education, has called for the dismissal of DeVos [Betsy DeVos is the U. S. Sect.
of Education.]

On Tuesday, USPIE sent a letter to President Donald Trump in which the group
called for the elimination of the U.S. Department of Education, per the
Constitution, and the end to federal education programs.

In its letter, USPIE reminded Trump of his campaign promises to eliminate
Common Core and begin dismantling of the federal education department.

“Since her appointment, Secretary DeVos has used the hammer of the Federal
government to broaden its authority and disregard the rights of states and
parents,” USPIE wrote, adding:

Three actions in particular demonstrate this disregard:

  • threatening states abiding by state parental rights laws through the
    ESSA plan approval process,
  • recommending the merger of the Departments of Education and
    Labor fundamentally shifting the purpose of education to “workforce
  • and now, endorsing the G20’s Declaration enshrining the UN’s
    education agenda, which undermines not only parents and states, but
    the fundamental sovereignty of the United States.

“We do not believe these actions are consistent with your ‘America First’ philosophy nor your campaign promises that generated so much enthusiasm,” the grassroots education group told Trump. “Given these concerns, we call for the immediate dismissal of Secretary DeVos and for the appointment of an American education leader who will prioritize the fulfillment of your campaign promises.”


U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has signed onto adeclaration by education ministers of the G-20 countries that calls for putting education “at the center of the global agenda,” an action that has led a national grassroots organization of parents to call for her dismissal.

Twitter Ads info and The declaration, which was produced at this first gathering of the “Education Working Group” of the G-20 governments and dictatorships, was titled “Building Consensus for Fair and Sustainable Development,” and calls for globalization of education, inclusiveness, social and emotional learning, and increasing data collection on students throughout their educations and well into their careers.

In her prepared remarks to the G-20 education ministers in Argentina, DeVos brought forward her goal for workforce development, or government management of the workforce, which the Trump administration has recently stressed in its proposal to merge the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor.

“Indeed, education and the economy are indivisible, especially given the interconnectedness of the world today,” DeVos said, emphasizing that while each child is “an individual,” governments should approach education by acknowledging “the realities of today’s economy, with an eye toward tomorrow’s opportunities.”

“So, students must be prepared to anticipate and adapt,” she said. “They need to acquire and master broadly transferrable and versatile educational competencies like critical thinking, collaboration, communication, creativity and cultural intelligence.”  The secretary also stressed her signature issues of school choice and vocational apprenticeships in her remarks.

The declaration specifically states the G-20 education ministers are “in line with the United Nations 2030 Agenda,” and continues:

It is important that education keeps pace with societal and technological innovations such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Internet of Things. We recognise that changes in the economy and labour markets have profound implications for education and training systems even though many of them remain unpredictable. Acknowledging the autonomy and diversity of national, regional and local governments and contexts, emerging knowledge and 21st century skills should be considered in curriculum development and pedagogical approaches at all levels of education. The curricula should be highly responsive to evidence-based practices, future employment trends, and design in collaboration with key stakeholders.

The education ministers note that while “increased investments in education above certain thresholds do not necessarily entail better outcomes,” the way to achieve their goals is through “strengthening governance, management, monitoring and accountability,” methods that involve greater government control of education.

The G-20 education ministers continue:

We commit to facilitating the internationalisation of education, including the cross-border recognition of qualifications and skills, and the mobility of students, teachers, academic and non-academic staff, trainers and researchers, with a view to improving quality education and research, and in accordance with the respective national laws, rules and policies. We support the promotion of exchange and scholarships programmes among G20 members and other countries, in particular with developing countries around the globe.

“Understanding and appreciating other parts of the world, different religions, cultures, languages and points of view are essential elements of global and cultural competence,” the education leaders say.

In addition to urging “digital literacy,” the education ministers say they will “foster the inclusion of non-cognitive skills such as socio-emotional skills across the curriculum [ SEL].”

Following the summit, DeVos told reporters the declaration is “very consistent with all of the themes that we’ve been talking about,” reported Education Week.

“Ultimately, the meeting resulted in a declaration that calls for putting education ‘at the center of the global agenda,’” the report added. “It says the G-20 nations will work to ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.’”

DeVos said the United States can learn from other G-20 countries, who are making more progress in the area of developing the 21st Century skills.

“There are too many other countries that are further down the path of adopting some of these themes and embracing some of these opportunities,” she said.

Respectfully, Tincy Miller
SBOE, District 12