Great Hearts Charter Academy Article by DMN

Tuesday | December 3, 2013

Dear Friends,

The following is an editorial from The Dallas Morning News published November 27, 2013 about Great Hearts Charter Academy. I support this Charter because it emphasizes a classical liberal arts curriculum, focusing on the Great Books and the Socratic teaching method.

Limiting School Options
North Texans lose out on choice of charters

Call us confused.
One year ago, the State Board of Education approved an application for Great Hearts Academies of Arizona to open a charter school in San Antonio. But last week that same panel denied the same charter organization the right to open campuses in North Texas.

What was that flip-flop about? And did the nine dissenting board members consider that their flip-flop might give pause to other out-of-state charter operators who might have something to offer Texas?

On Friday, the elected education panel denied Great Hearts an opportunity to open four North Texas schools. The organization’s liberal arts curriculum emphasizes the classics, character education and the arts.

Great Hearts also has a proven academic record in Arizona, its home state. The network of public but autonomous schools wanted to bring its rigorous model to Irving, Oak Cliff/West Dallas and Old East Dallas.

Irving’s mayor even invited Great Hearts to locate in her city. Two hundred people turned up for an informational meeting. And some Irving supporters went to Austin to tell board members of their interest. (Similarly, San Antonio leaders and families asked Great Hearts to open a campus last year.)

Irving supports has reason to hope for victory. Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams already had approved Great Hearts’ expansion into North Texas. Plus, a State Board of Education committee last week approved Great Hearts’ North Texas application.

The groundwork was laid, or so it seemed. Great Hearts than lost 6-9 at the full board level.

Opponents cited the organization’s predominance of white students in Arizona as a concern. Great Hearts has 33 percent minority student population across its network.

That may not seem representative of the Dallas situation, but it shouldn’t be a deal breaker. Great Hearts’ minority population has increased as the network has grown.

For example, 75 percent of the students at Maryvale Prep in west Phoenix are either African-American or Latino. Sixty-seven percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunches. Yet, their academic performance has been superb. The school earned an A- grade from the state, plus some of the highest standardized test scores within the network of schools.

Great Hearts was planning to open its first North Texas charters in diverse neighborhoods in Irving and Oak Cliff. Those moves would have followed the San Antonio model, where Great Hearts is opening its first Texas campus. Keep in mind that the operator would have to abide by state rules and have an open admission policy. A lottery would have determined admission.

Some families may not prefer a liberal arts curriculum. But clearly the state will benefit from a broad range of proven charter school operators. That way, parents and students will have a menu from which to select.

Unfortunately, the State Board of Education just took a potentially attractive set of schools off the North Texas menu.

Review the numbers
What is the Great Hearts Academies?
The charter school network was founded in Arizona, where it manages a dozen schools with more than 5,000 students in grades K-12.
The schools emphasize liberal arts curriculum, focusing on the Great Books and the Socratic teaching method.
What results have the academies produced?
Great Hearts’ schools rank in the top 1 percent of all Arizona public schools.
Students in the network’s six high schools outpaced Arizona peers on the state’s 10th grade reading, writing, math and science tests by as much as 13 percent to 37 percent.
95 percent of graduates attend a four-year college
SOURCE: greatheartsaz.org

 

Votes as recorded at Texas Education Agency

Votes as recorded at Texas Education Agency
Veto vote (9)                                       Yes votes (6)
Lawrence Allen (D)                                Tincy Miller(R)
Ruben Cortez (D)                                  Barbara Cargill(R)
Martha Dominguez (D)                          Donna Bahorich(R)
Pat Hardy (R)                                         Marty Rowley (R)
Mavis Knight (D)                                    Ken Mercer (R)
Tom Maynard (R)                                   David Bradley(R)
Sue Melton (R)
Thomas Ratliff (R)
Marisa Perez (D)

 

Respectfully,
Tincy Miller
SBOE, Member Dist. 12
Gtince@aol.com

House Bill 462/Common Core

Tuesday | November 19, 2013

Dear Friends,
A timely and informative letter from the Commissioner Michael Williams to each school district in Texas in regard to House Bill 462/Common Core.

As you consider funding opportunities, especially those offered by the United States Department of Education, I want to remind you of the provisions in a new law prohibiting the adoption or use of the Common Core State Standards.

The 83rd Texas Legislature passed House Bill 462 (HB 462)/Common Core, which contains several important prohibitions relating to curriculum standards. The bill:
prohibits the State Board of Education (SBOE) from adopting Common Core State Standards
prohibits school districts from using Common Core State Standards to meet the requirements to provide instruction in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TELS);
prohibits a school district or open enrollment charter school from being required to offer the Common Core; and
prohibits the Texas Education Agency from adopting or developing assessments based on Common Core State Standards
You may read the full text of HB 462 by clicking here

Chapter 28 of the Texas Education Code requires the SBOE to develop the essential knowledge and skills that Texas schools are required to teach. Additionally, the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) are based entirely on those TEKS developed and adopted by the SBOE.

To the extent that you pursue funding that requires your district to use college and career readiness standards, please remember that the Texas Legislature required the adoption of college and career readiness standards in 2006, making Texas the first state to mandate the development and use of college readiness standards. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board adopted the Texas College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) in 2008, and the SBOE has since embedded the CCRS within the TEKS.

You may review the CCRS by clicking here

# # #

Respectfully,
Tincy Miller
SBOE, Member Dist. 12
Gtince@aol.com

Draft Rules on HB 5 Graduation Program Released

Monday | October 21st, 2013

Draft Rules on HB 5 Graduation Program Released

(Texas Education Agency; October 17, 2013)
TEA News Releases Online

(Austin, TX) Based on direction from the State Board of Education (SBOE), the Texas Education Agency (TEA) today released draft rules to be considered by the SBOE at its November meeting regarding the new high school graduation program under House Bill 5 (HB 5). Passed by the 83rd Texas Legislature, HB 5 revises the graduation program for students entering Grade 9 in the 2014-2015 school year and all subsequent years.

The draft rules represent an initial proposal created directly from State Board member input and processed by TEA staff on the Board’s behalf. The Board is scheduled vote to authorize the agency to file the draft for official public comment at its November meeting. A public hearing on the graduation program is scheduled for Nov. 20.

As part of its process, State Board members have already been accepting public comments regarding the graduation program via email at SBOESUPPORT@tea.state.tx.us. A final vote on new HB 5 graduation program by the State Board of Education is expected in January 2014.

To review the draft proposed rules for consideration by the State Board of Education at its November meeting, visit http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=25769806149.

# # #

Respectfully,
Tincy Miller
SBOE, Member Dist. 12
Gtince@aol.com

Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia Gets Boost from Dyslexia Professionals

October 7th, 2013

Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia Gets
Boost from Dyslexia Professionals

(Press Release written on September 24, 2013)

(Dallas, TX) Five organizations known for their expertise in dyslexia are banding together for a special screening of the movie Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia on October 16, 7:30 p.m. at Angelika Film Center Plano.

“This is the perfect opportunity to give everyone the real picture about dyslexia during Dyslexia Awareness Month,” says Mary Alexander, National Director of Programs for Learning Ally, a cornerstone national and local partner in the movie roadshow project. Other local partners include Dallas Branch International Dyslexia Association, Decoding Dyslexia – TX, Shelton School, and Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children / Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia and Learning Disorders.

The movie, which plays at eight other cities in October, captures the myths, stigmas and truths about dyslexia, and seeks to create a positive culture for dyslexic learners. Directed by James Redford, the movie has been hailed by the New York Times as “busting any preconceptions on what people with dyslexia can achieve.”

The event also features introductory remarks by Andrew Friedman, CEO, Learning Ally, and Geraldine (Tincy) Miller, Representative District 12, Texas State Board of Education. Also included is a panel comprising students, parents, and educators, each with a personal experience related to dyslexia. The panel will engage attendees with conversation following the movie.

“Dyslexia is a learning disability, not an intelligence disability,” says Suzanne Stell, Executive Director at Shelton School. The most important thing we can do with this movie is to expose the creativity and intelligence of dyslexic students, as well as provide help to parents and share the many resources available to educators. We hope to sell out the theater.”

National partners for the project include Learning Ally, Decoding Dyslexia, Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, Eye to Eye, The 1 in 5 Initiative, Literate Nation, and International Dyslexia Association.

Tickets may be purchased
online at http://www.tugg.com/events/5078

Visit http://thebigpicturemovie.com/roadshow
for more information about the national project.

Contact: Anne Hendrick-Thomas, APR
Director Public Relations, Shelton School
(972) 774-1772 Ext. 2241
athomas@shelton.org

Respectfully,
Tincy Miller
SBOE, Member Dist. 12
Gtince@aol.com

Press Release – Geraldine “Tincy” Miller Running for Re-Election

PRESS RELEASE – - September 11th, 2013

Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, a Republican member of the State Board of Education, will seek another term to District 12.

“I’m running for re-election. I will continue to work hard to promote a conservative agenda and to provide the best education in the world for the children of Texas, while being a strong fiscal conservative for the tax payers. I have dedicated my life to education, but there is more work to do” said, Mrs. Miller.

During her tenure in office, Tincy Miller has accomplished many things including helping pass the first phonics based reading curriculum in Texas. She also developed the first dyslexia program for parents, teachers and students in Texas including a handbook. Tincy protected the permanent school fund from being raided by special interest groups. She also saved Texas tax payers millions of dollars by eliminating certain outside consultants. She led the charge to help insure that American exceptionalism and Western cultural values are taught in our History classes.

“The citizens know that I will always fight to protect our children’s textbooks fund, the permanent school fund, from special interest groups. And I will continue to always make sure the Texas tax payer gets the very best return on their tax dollars invested in education in our public school system” said, Mrs. Miller.

State Board of Education District 12 includes all of Collin County and most of North, East and Central parts of Dallas County. The Republican Primary will be held in March 2014 and the General Election will be held in November 2014.

Written by: Hank Clements

Respectfully,

Tincy Miller
SBOE, Member Dist. 12
Gtince@aol.com

TIME CHANGE! • CSCOPE Social Studies Lesson Plans Review • Tincy Miller State Board of Education District 12

September 11, 2013

Dear Friends,

Friday, September 13, 2013 – 9 a.m….CSCOPE Social Studies lesson plans
review by SBOE’s Ad Hoc Review Committee. (Please note the time change!)
Respectfully,

Tincy Miller
SBOE, Member Dist. 12
Gtince@aol.com

CSCOPE UPDATE AUGUST 28 – TEA Reminds School Districts of SB 1474 Provisions

Dear Friends,
The following is a most timely and instructive update on
CSCOPE from the Texas Education Agency August 27, 2013
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at
Gtince@aol.com or 972-419-4000

Respectfully,
Tincy Miller
State Board of Education, District 12

TEA reminds school districts of SB 1474 provisions

AUSTIN – Commissioner of Education Michael Williams today reminded school districts across the state of provisions in a new law relating to the adoption of major curriculum initiatives, including curriculum management systems.
Senate Bill 1474 (SB 1474) – which was passed by the 83rd Texas Legislature, signed by the governor and became effective June 14, 2013 – requires school districts to follow a new process prior to the adoption of any major curriculum initiative.

“A new process established under SB 1474 seeks to balance transparency to local stakeholders with local control over how districts teach the required Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills,” said Commissioner Williams. “Before a district adopts a major curriculum initiative, it must gather input and opinion from both teachers and district employees.”

In addition, SB 1474 (authored by Sen. Robert Duncan – Lubbock) requires a local school board to have a meeting to discuss the proposed initiative and allow feedback from community members. This process provides school districts the opportunity to obtain feedback while deciding if any proposed curriculum meets the needs of their district.

Commissioner Williams also noted that the State Board of Education (SBOE) has reconvened its ad hoc committee to resume its review of CSCOPE social studies lesson plans. The committee’s charge is to provide a resource for districts evaluating individual lesson plans and making decisions in accordance with SB 1474. The review process is expected to be completed sometime this fall.
As a part of its review, the ad hoc review committee will hold a September public hearing in Austin to take testimony from the public. Details of that hearing will be announced soon.
The Texas Education Agency has no rulemaking authority over the provisions of SB 1474. Specific requirements of SB 1474 can be viewed at: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/83R/billtext/pdf/SB01474F.pdf#navpanes=0.

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING ON CSCOPE

As a part of the CSCOPE Social Studies lesson plans review by the State Board of Education’s Ad Hoc Review Committee, a public hearing will be held on Friday, Sept. 13, beginning at 1 p.m. in Room 1-111 of the William Travis Building, 1701 North Congress in Austin, Texas. Testimony from the public will be heard by the Ad Hoc Review Committee and any State Board of Education members who choose to attend.

As the Ad Hoc Review Committee is specifically charged with implementing a process by which the CSCOPE Social Studies lesson plans are being reviewed, those who plan on testifying are asked to limit their comments to specific recommendations pertaining to identified current CSCOPE Social Studies lessons as they appear at either mycscope.us (until August 31, 2013) or thereafter, at texastribune.org/interactive/search-cscope-lesson-plans/.

Due to the large number of testifiers anticipated, a time limit of 3 minutes per speaker will be strictly enforced. Those wishing to testify may register Sept. 3-6 and 9 by completing the registration form at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/Communications/State_Board_of_Education/Public_Testimony_Registration_Instructions_and_Procedures/. Select the State Board of Education option when submitting the form. Written testimony will also be received by the Committee.

SBOE Seeks Input on New Graduation Plans

Dear Friends,

Our State Board of Education is seeking input from
educators and community members as we begin to
restructure graduation requirements as mandated by
House Bill 5 (HB5).

If you have any questions please feel free to contact
me at: Gtince@aol.com.

Respectfully,
Tincy Miller
SBOE, member Dist. 12

Attention board members: This will be released shortly.
Aug. 13, 2013

SBOE seeks input on new graduation plans

AUSTIN – The State Board of Education is seeking input from educators and community members as it begins to restructure graduation requirements to address recent changes in state law.

House Bill 5 (HB5), passed by the Texas Legislature this spring, made substantial changes to the state’s graduation requirements, moving from the current “4×4” graduation plans to a 22-credit Foundation High School Program that allows students to earn endorsements in specific areas of study by completing four additional credits.

The new plan requires the state board to make a number of policy decisions, such as deciding which courses will count as advanced mathematics, English and science courses and determining the requirements for each endorsement area. The endorsement areas are science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); business and industry; public services; arts and humanities; and multidisciplinary studies.

The board will hold a public hearing Sept. 17 in room 1-104 of the Travis State Office Building in Austin to receive input from educators and others about the changing graduation requirements.

“We encourage you to submit specific suggestions as to the course offerings that will give school districts the flexibility mandated in HB5 that is intended to meet all students’ postsecondary goals,” said Barbara Cargill, chair of the State Board of Education.

After the public hearing, Texas Education Agency staff will craft a proposed rule dealing with graduation requirements. The board will consider this draft rule at its Nov. 20-22 meeting in Austin. If the rule receives preliminary approval, it will be posted in the Texas Register and there will be a 30-day public comment period. Comments during this time may be submitted to rules@tea.state.tx.us. A final vote on the changes is expected during the board’s Jan. 29-31 meeting. All board meetings will occur at the Travis State Office Building at 1701 N. Congress Ave. in Austin. Those who wish to submit comments about the graduation changes prior to the beginning of the official rulemaking process may send their comments to sboesupport@tea.state.tx.us through Sept. 10. Because many details about the Foundation High School Program and the endorsements must still be worked out, the new graduation plan will not be in effect for the 2013-2014 school year.

School districts must continue to offer the three existing graduation programs – the Distinguished Achievement Program, the Recommended High School Program and the Minimum High School Program – through at least the 2016-2017 school year when those students who enter high school later this month graduate. However, students who will be sophomores, juniors or seniors during the 2014-2015 school year and are currently following one of the three existing programs will have the option of switching to the Foundation program when it becomes available in the 2014-2015 school year.

As updates become available about the graduation programs, they will be posted on the Texas Education Agency’s website at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/graduation.aspx.

Stay up-to-date on the
latest information
at TincyMiller.com

____________________________

MONTHLY NEWSLETTERS:

MARCH 2013

____________________________

CSCOPE:

July 2013
Secret Curriculum Killed in Texas
Lt. Dewhurst Update
Sen. Patrick Update
May 2013
Sen Patrick Announces End of CSCOPE
From the Office of Attorney General
Attorney General Sends Letter to TESCC
April 2013
Please call in Support of Sen. Patrick’s Bill on CSCOPE

____________________________

VIDEOS:

Tincy Miller speaks on the
PERMANENT SCHOOL FUND

____________________________

TINCY MILLER’S BLOG

____________________________

Contact ‘Tincy’ @

GTINCE@AOL.COM
972.419.4000

Graduation Requirements

Dear Friends,

As a result of HB 5 the legislature has mandated new
Graduation Requirements beginning in the 2014-2015 School Year.
The SBOE will meet on September 18,19, and 20th to hear public testimony
and begin work on the course offerings.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at Gtince@aol.com
or call my office: (972) 419-4000.

Respectfully,
Tincy Miller

Stay up-to-date on the
latest information
at TincyMiller.com

____________________________

MONTHLY NEWSLETTERS:

MARCH 2013

____________________________

CSCOPE:

July 2013
Secret Curriculum Killed in Texas
Lt. Dewhurst Update
Sen. Patrick Update
May 2013
Sen Patrick Announces End of CSCOPE
From the Office of Attorney General
Attorney General Sends Letter to TESCC
April 2013
Please call in Support of Sen. Patrick’s Bill on CSCOPE

____________________________

VIDEOS:

Tincy Miller speaks on the
PERMANENT SCHOOL FUND

____________________________

TINCY MILLER’S BLOG

____________________________

Contact ‘Tincy’ @

GTINCE@AOL.COM
972.419.4000

CSCOPE Secret Curriculum Killed in Texas

Dear Friends,
Another timely and instructive article from the
Education Reporter July 2013 Number 330
Respectfully,

Tincy Miller
State Board of Education

CSCOPE Secret Curriculum Killed in Texas

A controversial online curriculum used by more than 800 Texas School Districts was ditched by state lawmakers in May. Many wonder how CSCOPE statewide lesson plans, which were secret from parents and frequently controversial, came to be taught in Texas schools. Teachers relied on the curriculum for seven years.

CSCOPE was designed and marketed by State Education Service Centers, a nonprofit organization that sold the copyrighted curriculum to school districts. (CSCOPE is not an acronym, just a made-up term.) The curriculum and lesson plans were used to teach math, reading, science, and social studies, CSCOPE strictly organized each day’s classroom topics and provided scripted talking points for teachers.

In violation of state law, lesson plans were not available for parental or public review. This was allegedly due to copyright laws. Unlike the use of textbooks that parents can monitor, online content can remain secret. Parents were outraged when children told them about some of the lessons taught. The tipping point came when Texans saw photos of schoolchildren wearing burkas and other traditional Islamic clothing.

Many teachers are pleased to see the end of CSCOPE, although it means developing alternative curriculum. One teacher told KLTV, “The need for college remedial courses will drop dramatically as CSCOPE lesson plans are removed.” (5-20-13) Many believe CSCOPE diluted student learning in favor of politically motivated activities and stifled teachers’ flexibility in classrooms.

Teachers were required to sign a nine-page nondisclosure form that prohibited them from discussing CSCOPE. Some teachers did speak out against the lesson plans, even resorting to leaking content and complaining at online chat rooms. One math teacher with a doctorate resigned after 40 years of teaching rather than use the CSCOPE material. He claimed that CSCOPE lessons “gutted a quarter of a typical [Algebra I] book’s content.” (Times Record News, 12-16-13)

After parents saw the alarming photos of high school students in Muslim garb posted on Facebook, a district spokesman explained, “The lesson encompassed diversity education so students receive a firm understanding of our world and why people are motivated differently.” There was no concurrent study of Christian or Jewish motivations in the social studies class or the CSCOPE curriculum. (Fox News, 2-25-13)
Another lesson plan equated the pre-Revolutionary War event commonly called the Boston Tea Party with terrorist attacks carried out by Muslim extremists, like those on Sept. 11, 2001. Although CSCOPE officials tried to distance themselves from this lesson, calling it “optional” and “discontinued,” the following narrative, which uses the word “terrorist” three times, was given to students who were afterwards told it described the Boston Tea Party:

A local militia, believed to be a terrorist organization,
attacked the property of private citizens today at our
nation’s busiest port. Although no one was injured in the
attack, a large quantity of merchandise, considered to be
valuable to its owners and loathsome to the perpetrators,
was destroyed. The terrorists, dressed in disguise and
apparently intoxicated, were able to escape into the night
with the help of local citizens who harbored these fugitives
and concealed their identities from the authorities. It is
believed that the terrorists attack was a response to the
policies enacted by the occupying country’s government.

Some in Texas are calling for a review of the operation and intent of Education Service Centers. The legislative action halted an investigation into CSCOPE curriculum that some feel should continue:

CSCOPE will remain an active online guide to Texas state-required K-12 skills, and includes a calendar showing when particular skills should be introduced. Only the curriculum aspect is discontinued.

Use of CSCOPE curriculum in schools sounds an alarm for parents to remain vigilant about what their children are being taught. Texas students were exposed to CSCOPE curriculum for years before outraged parents and citizens forced lawmakers to act.