Texans Deserve Great Schools is a collaborative effort among leading foundations, policy experts and civic leaders to raise awareness about the most successful education policies from around the nation that – if implemented together – will vastly improve student achievement in Texas.
What is missing from this? Any mention of teachers, for one thing. What is here: an emphasis on student achievement. Here are the key elements of their "bold" (their word) proposal: "Innovation. Rigor. Transparency. Empowerment. Flexibility. " Translation? Waivers, charter schools, online classes with unlimited enrollment (MOOC, anyone?), credit by exam instead of taking a course. That is just point #1. The laundry list of what they propose is a nightmare of charters, district based management, VAM, local pay scales, approval of teacher ed programs based on performance of the students of those graduating from the programs, rating schools on a scale of A-F (just like the wonderful schools in Florida).
And this is what is being proposed to "fix" education in Texas. There is plenty of data here, too (see yesterday's post for more about data). Data that shows that only 20% of Texas high school grads achieve a certificate or higher ed degree within 6 years (do not even get me started on this) and that 80% of jobs require some post-high school leaning. Worst, of course, is that we rank 24th internationally on education attainment in the ages 24-35 category.
Lots of figures, plenty of faux facts, and a soupçon of fear-mongering and alarmist and reformist propaganda. Do Texans serve great schools? You bet! Will this organization ensure that happens? Not a snowball's chance. You can read all about it here: http://www.texansdeservegreatschools.org. What you will NOT see here are any names of those individuals or organizations involved in this reformist group. They are not to be found on the web site.
Beware of Texans bearing gifts, folks. These packages are deceptive: nice wrapping on the outside but killer contents.