Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Dumbing Down of Texas Education

Well the governor despite letters - emails - phone calls from across the state chose to sign HB3 into law on Friday June 19th. Health and freshman speech teachers will have to work to keep their jobs as their is no longer a requirement to teach either.

Now a student has to understand and choose to take the college prep route. Students can completely fill a schedule with music art and drama while preparing little for college. Vocational programs benefit from the CTE parts of the bill but still fall short of funding or enough teachers to go around.

In a rush to give the students free to desires instead of needs, we will have students graduating into a technology driven workplace that have never been required to work with technology or take a technology class regardless of whether was Microsoft Office training , basic Web Design, Animation, Video Production, Desktop Publishing or even Computer Programming.

Couple this with the number of middle schools eliminating GT math and science classes and the result is college prep students who milk their schedule will still be anywhere from 6 to 9 hours less college credit upon high school graduation than the seniors were 5 years ago.

Lets see - less credits earned- Yes- this qualifies as dumbing down even the GT kids.

Yes you read it right - there are multiple middle schools across the state dumbing down and eliminating any type of advance /honors/Gt classes in grades 6-8. This is not what is coming - this is what has already happened. To protect sources, I will simply say I know of multiple schools where GT in the middle school is GONE. Administrators not wanting to have to work out a schedule - have turned back to all core subject classes being a one size fits all. Not a great idea when you are preparing students for high school and are lowering the standards to the lower students when there is a fast approaching spell of state mandated subject level tests. In some middle schools - the word is lower the expectations across the board and get as many of them through as possible to High School. (pass the buck)

Some of these same middle schools have administrations telling them to take the technology classes and let the kids have fun - treat it like PE - if they show up give them 100. Yea - I am sure that is what the TEKS say. And they wonder why freshman struggle at the high school level.

Well lets see- they have dumbed down the material making the GT kids restless. Now those kids enter high school expecting to cruise through classes like they did in middle school - and when they hit a GT English or Math class - well - its like running their train into a brick wall. Then the entire group of freshman are in a situation where they may sign up for high school computer classes and then are upset when it is not a time for fun and games and playing on the internet.

Sounds to me like not only a lower level of education - but a higher risk of frustration, acting out , behavior problems and more.

Also leads to teachers leaving the profession as I witnessed directly when a medium size school lost an experience teacher in a core subject. The teacher did not get the support they deserved and a group of 10 or 11 students were allowed to run wild to the point the teacher left the profession. No administrator thought it through about breaking that core of 10 or 11 kids and holding the STUDENT accountable. No - the administrators saw this as a failure on the teacher's part despite her previous years record of a very high percentage of her students passing the state mandated test. Anyone who spent time with this teacher knew of their passion for teaching as well as their success at both high school and junior college level. Sadly that is a teacher lost now- in a critical subject area. The school lost out as well as the students who face that state test each year to come.

I know this - Austin needs someone to shake the stupidity out of the legislature. In 2010 - I intend to help vote some of it out of office - including the governor. Maybe a turnover in large numbers will remind those people.... They work for us.... Time to quit working against us.

So be prepared Austin - teachers are not going to go quietly into the night. Parents should read up and be aware of how education is going the wrong direction.

Thursday, June 18, 2009





Saturday, June 13, 2009

Lets Talk Numbers - Revised

Maybe this will help people visualize the impact of this bill. Based on UIL alignment brackets there are approximately 1200 public high schools not counting alternative schools.

Between the Health , Freshman Speech , and Tech Apps classes there are approximately this many teachers involved based on this ratio.

1A schools-1.5 teachers per campus to cover these 3 fields.
(291 schools * 1.5 = 436 positions based on averaging 100 students)
2A schools-2.5 teachers per campus to cover these 3 fields.
(229 schools * 2.5 = 572 positions based on averaging 250 students)
3A schools-3.5 teachers per campus to cover these 3 fields.
(183 schools * 4.5 = 824 positions based on averaging 600 students)
4A schools-9 teachers per campus to cover these 3 fields.
(229 schools * 9 = 2061 positions based on averaging 1500 students)
5A schools- 11 teachers per campus to cover these 3 fields.
(254 schools * 11 = 2794 positions based on averaging 3000 students)

These are rough estimates - but put a number to what is happening.

This means a total of approximately 6687 teachers that face consolidation / elimination.

Bill does require that Tech APs classes be taught however does not require the other two classes be taught. TEA is locked out by this bill and can not alter the requirements.

Local schools CAN make local requirements - but if push comes to shove - parent could keep a kid out of said classes. Small schools can offer BCIS and filter the other Tech APs teachers out claiming financial strain and decreasing numbers.

As a high percentage of health teachers are coaches - this strikes into the oft maligned world of "messing with athletics".

Maybe someone needs to start telling Freshman Speech and Health teachers about being dropped as well.

Who would have thought - academics and athletics battling as allies against the common foe of HB3. This might lead to some new lines of communication on many campuses state wide.

So.... go ye therefore and wake up the coaches- It is not too late to call Governor Perry and tell him ...... VETO!!!!!

Please do this ASAP: 512-463-2000.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Will Governor Perry Listen to Microsoft?

Received this from a teacher in Houston. Read and see how this bill is a problem not just with teachers.

Dear Governor Perry:

I am contacting you to request you to strongly consider a Veto of the recently passed House Bill 3, as it contains provisions (pages 30-31) that would eliminate the High School graduation requirement of a Technology Applications course.

On behalf of the Academic Relations Group at Microsoft Corporation, and in conjunction with discussion with teacher members of the Texas Computer Educators Association (TCEA), I believe that in eliminating this requirement, this bill will:

1. Disserve the students of Texas who will graduate into an intensively competitive job market that will put a premium on technology skills

2. Undermine the competitive ability of Texas businesses who will depend on technology skilled workers to compete with other businesses throughout the world.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics continues to project technology-based occupations as among the fastest growing in the next decade. And in the recently revised report from the National Academies, “Rising above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future”, a clear and conclusive case is made for the fundamental need of a technologically educated and proficient workforce.

While I cannot speak to the many other provisions of the bill, I do feel strongly on the potential harm this particular provision can have on the citizens and businesses of Texas and the United States and again encourage you to consider not passing this bill as it stands.


James K. Pinkelman, Ph.D.

Senior Director of Academic Relations

Microsoft Corporations


Thursday, June 11, 2009


Since this bill was sent to the governor in the last 10 days of session, he has 20 days to veto it before it comes law. According to the bill's dating - he received it on June 3rd.

That makes June 23rd the date it can become law with no signature.

We are lucky that this was in the last 10 days otherwise it would have become law this Saturday.


VETO HB3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Texas Legislature Sends Education Backwards

Welcome !

This blog is designed to combat the backwards move of public education in the United States with a focus on Texas.

The incredibly arrogant...misguided Texas legislature just sent the governor a bill (HB3) to sign..

Letter below is addressed to the entire Texas legislature who passed this bill unanimously.

In a technology driven society, you voted in favor of a bill that leaves the burden on schools to teach technology classes yet removes the requirement that even 1 student must take the class to graduate. As a technology teacher this decision makes me want to scream. I have former students whose skills learned in high school tech classes helped them get jobs to play for their college education. These former students are everything from elementary teachers to engineers.

Colleges are wanting students that take more technology classes and you just set that back with your vote of YES on HB3.

Texas has a pregnancy rate that is exploding. Your vote for HB3 - removed the required health class in public high schools. Please explain the reasoning for this.

In the 2 years since your election - Public Education funding is still a joke as you steal from those with money to lower us all.

Currently the United States trails the world in college graduates in the areas of Computer Science and Software Engineering. Forecasts are a shortage at the least...of 1 MILLION jobs that will be outsourced in order to be filled.

Most graduates in these areas in US universities are students who were exposed to some technology classes in their high school education.

And what does Texas do - votes that NO students need to take a technology class in high school.

And the insult to public schools - you are required to teach these classes- buy this equipment - hire these teachers- but NO sutdents are required to take the classes.


CALL THE GOVERNOR - 512-463-2000