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Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Ratliff’

SBOE defers new textbook decision

They’re funny even when they’re not trying to be. After an afternoon spent wrangling over the proper definition of jihad and the influence of Moses on the Founding Fathers, it was Common Core that ultimately derailed the State Board of Education’s initial vote on giving a stamp of approval to new social studies textbooks Tuesday. […]

Ratliff and Patrick spar over CSCOPE

Sounds like fun. The state curriculum system known as CSCOPE — little known until recently — can now add two hours of lively and at times testy debate to a long list of public appearances that includes State Board of Education meetings, legislative hearings and the Glenn Beck Show. On Saturday evening, SBOE member Thomas […]

CSCOPE still in scope

Every once in awhile, whether they intend to or not, the SBOE does something worthwhile. The State Board of Education concluded its July meeting without providing further guidance as to whether Texas school districts continued to use lessons from CSCOPE, the controversial state-developed curriculum system. “It’s not up to the state board,” chairwoman Barbara Cargill, […]

Patrick versus Ratliff

TFN Insider: Texas State Board of Education Vice Chairman Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, has already made clear his disgust over the political witch hunt that forced the state’s Education Service Centers to stop writing lesson plans in their CSCOPE curriculum management system. In May, for example, he tore into Senate Education Committee Chairman Dan Patrick, […]

Some sanity on STAAR

This is a welcome development. A requirement that the state exams count toward 15 percent of a student’s course grade sparked a backlash last spring over the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, among parents whose ninth-graders were the first to take the more rigorous exams. A statewide parent group emerged out […]

Texas Freedom Network’s guide to the SBOE elections

The Texas Freedom Network has put out a useful little voter’s guide to the 2012 State Board of Education elections, which covers a range of topics from creationism and climate change to bullying and SBOE procedures. You might look at the answers that the candidates who responded submitted and think “Hey, cool, everyone is basically […]

Who sets the standard for science?

I don’t get the fuss over this. Many say students need to be science literate so they can innovate, compete and maneuver with the latest technology. If the United States wants to compete on the world stage, teachers and science lessons must evolve, too. It’s largely with this agenda in mind that the National Research […]

GOP results, statewide

Full, though not necessarily the most up to date, results, are here. The Trib and the Observer have good roundups as well. – Mitt. Yawn. He was at just under 70% statewide, with Ron Paul getting 11% and Rick Santorum 8%. You have to wonder what might have been if Santorum had held on through […]

Three primary stories

TX Trib: 4 Democrats Vying to Replace Hochberg in HD-137 Observers say the winner of the contest for HD-137 is likely to be decided in the Democratic primary, whose four candidates are former Capitol staffers Joseph Carlos Madden and Jamaal Smith, Harris County prosecutor Gene Wu and Alief Independent School District board member Sarah Winkler. […]

The “Moneyball” approach to public education

Via Lisa Falkenberg on Facebook, SBOE member Thomas Ratliff uses the philosophy from Moneyball to analyze the accountability system for Texas public schools. The book says, “One absolutely cannot tell, by watching, the difference between a .300 hitter and a .275 hitter. The difference is one hit every two weeks.” In Texas public schools, you […]

A look ahead to SBOE races

Regardless of what happens with the other maps, the one map that was precleared and is set for the next decade is the SBOE. With all 15 members up for re-election (like the Senate, everyone has to run in the first election post-redistricting), there are already some hot races shaping up. This Trib story from […]

We need better information about our schools

SBOE member Thomas Ratliff makes a lot of sense about school accountability ratings and how little they really tell you about a given school’s performance. Many people across the state are familiar with the terms “exemplary,” “recognized,” “academically acceptable” or “academically unacceptable” when reading about our public schools. Unfortunately, the majority of people have no […]

Cut education now, pay later?

That’s the question for Republican legislators, isn’t it? GOP legislators didn’t budge this session from their commitment to reduce Texas’ education spending even in the face of protests, negative ad campaigns and reams of criticism. The outcry didn’t faze them because it wasn’t coming from within their party. That might change, some Republicans say, once […]

A few facts about education employment

State Board of Education member Thomas Ratliff brings some numbers to the debate. When you hear the discussion about the increase in the number of “non-teachers” in our schools, consider the following facts. These numbers represent full-time equivalent employees to account for part-time and/or contract employees. Campus administration employees account for 2.8 percent of the […]

By the way, our social studies standards still suck

So says a conservative think tank. In a report [released Wednesday], the Thomas B. Fordham Institute gives the Texas social studies curriculum standards a “D” while accusing “the conservative majority” of using the curriculum “to promote its political priorities, molding the telling of the past to justify its current views and aims.” “Biblical influences on […]

The SBOE and charter schools

Some members of the State Board of Education want to get into the charter school business. Representatives for Texas’ 460 independent charter schools asked the State Board of Education on Wednesday to tap into the state’s education trust fund and for the first time provide them classrooms and facilities for their students. The charter school […]

More on the SBOE

The Texas Freedom Network does a victory dance over the defeat of wingnut SBOE member Don McLeroy, noting that overall the forces of good did much better than the far right did. “Don McLeroy was right when he said this election was a referendum on what the board has done over the past four years,” […]

Election results: McLeroy loses!

The second-best news of the evening is that wackjob SBOE member Don McLeroy lost to Thomas Ratliff, thus making the state’s worst elected body at least somewhat less dysfunctional. The board’s balance of power is delicate. Though it’s had ten Republicans and five Democrats serving, seven socially conservative Republicans formed a reliable voting bloc that, […]

Endorsement watch: Statesman on the SBOE

The Statesman makes some recommendations in SBOE primaries in hopes of getting a better, or at least a slightly less dysfunctional, Board for the coming year. In the District 5 Republican primary, Tim Tuggey, 54, gets our endorsement. Tuggey, running against incumbent Ken Mercer, is a lawyer and lobbyist from Austin who graduated with honors […]

Endorsement watch: DMN for Ratliff and Kinky

The Dallas Morning News has a couple of endorsements of interest, one good and one puzzling. In the good one, they endorse challenger Thomas Ratliff in his GOP primary race for the SBOE against wingnut Don McLeroy. McLeroy, a board member since 1999, undoubtedly cares about education. But this panel could use Ratliff’s more practical […]

Endorsement watch: ParentPAC for Thomas Ratliff

I’m very glad to see that the Texas ParentPAC is getting involved in the SBOE primaries. Here’s their press release for the District 9 GOP race: The bipartisan Texas Parent PAC today announced its endorsement of Thomas Ratliff for election to District 9 State Board of Education, which includes all or part of 29 counties […]

The SBOE slate

Martha has a great rundown of the slate of candidates for the State Board of Education, along with some partisan index numbers for the districts, which you should check out. The best part about this is that with Michael Soto replacing Rick Agosto in District 3, the Board is assured of being at least a […]

Let’s make this a bad year for Don McLeroy

Don McLeroy is a wee bit concerned about losing one of his allies on the SBOE. State Board of Education former Chair (and current member) Don McLeroy wasn’t too concerned about losing Democratic swing-vote Rick Agosto. At least not at first. “The big impact will be if I depart,” McLeroy said over the phone. […] […]

SciencePAC

Chad Orzel mentions an idea by Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum from their book Unscientific America. Why not form a nonpartisan science political action committee, or PAC, devoted to funding candidates who are either scientists themselves or who make science a strong priority and have good records on science issues? With adequate fundind, the PAC […]

Five for SBOE 10

I think it’s safe to say the State Board of Education elections aren’t going to be the obscure affairs they’ve historically been any more. We know that now-former SBOE Chair Don McLeroy has drawn a high-profile primary challenger, and one of his chief cohorts in Crazytown, Cynthia Dunbar, has collected a total of five opponents, […]

McLeroy gets a challenger

Paul Burka breaks the news that Thomas Ratliff, son of former State Sen. and Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff, will challenge Don McLeroy, the now-former chair of the State Board of Education, for his seat on the board next year. From the press release, which Burka quotes in full: On the heels of a legislative session […]