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Texas Teacher Survey Has Ties to Education Progressives

Texas Teacher Survey Has Ties to Education Progressives

Last Spring, Breitbart Texas reported on a new teacher climate survey pushed through the 83rd legislative session called “Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning” or TELL Texas. In August, Texas Education Agency (TEA) statistics revealed that only about 20 percent of teachers, principals, assistant principals, school counselors, psychologists and social workers participated. On November 24, the TEA released another round of results for superintendents. Participation was dismally low, too.

The survey was administered by the New Teacher Center (NTC), a recipient of generous grants from progressive education reformers including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

NTC is a national organization headquartered in Santa Cruz, California. They have conducted similar surveys in other states. It is led by education bureaucrat Ellen Moir, who is championed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In fact, the Gates Foundation and the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation were NTC’s top two contributors, each pumping $10 million-plus into the organization.

Microsoft mogul Bill Gates has a very vested interest in Fed Led Ed. His personal foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has footed “upward of $170 million” into the development and implementation of the Common Core State Standards, Breitbart News reported.

Meanwhile the Northern California-based Hewlett Foundation supports liberal causes and has donated generously to Achieve, which has done much to bring the Common Core to life. They also provided funding to the Linda Darling-Hammond led 2013 Criteria for High-Quality Assessment through Stanford University’s Center for Opportunity Policy in Education.

The white paper examined the “five major features that define the elements of assessment systems than can fully measure the Common Core State Standards and support the evaluation of Deeper Learning.”

Breitbart Texas reported on Darling-Hammond’s instrumental role in an advisory capacity with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) which, along with the National Governor’s Association (NGA) are the founding Fed Led non-profit education partners who hold the copyright to the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

She has also consulted for Common Core test provider AIR and nudged along federally mandated equalization in the classroom.

In Texas, Darling-Hammond was on the CSCOPE professional development team. Breitbart Texas reported that pal, William Ayers, 1960’s radical turned professor and now Empathy Educates partner, petitioned President Obama to oust current Education Secretary Arne Duncan and put in Darling-Hammond. Another friend, Diane Ravitch, promoted a similar petition from the Coalition for Justice In Education.

Last year, Hewlett also granted Stanford cash for more Darling-Hammond Opportunity Policy Education Center research on standards and metrics on more for more Common Core assessment related “higher-order thinking and performance skills”.

Conducting surveys to assess teacher and administrator level satisfaction makes sense but what does not is the peculiar track-record that Texas K-12 education has in running to the belly of the Big Education beast to meet its needs in a non-Common Core state.

As for those latest survey results to become available, only 322 or 27 percent of school superintendents responded to the survey. The TEA press release stated that a third of them had more than a decade of experience as a superintendent.

Superintendents were asked to respond to specific statements regarding: time allocation; facilities and resources; community support and involvement; managing student conduct; teacher leadership; and school leadership in their district over the past two years, according to the release. Among theresponse highlights, they found:

  • 99 percent agreed or strongly agreed that school environments in their districts were safe.
  • 94 percent agreed or strongly agreed the “central office has streamlined procedures to minimize educators’ time on non-instructional tasks.”
  • 94 percent agreed or strongly agreed that teachers are actively involved in district decision-making about educational issues.
  • 88 percent agreed or strongly agreed that class sizes were reasonable affording teachers the time to meet student needs.
  • 87 percent agreed or strongly agreed that parents and guardians are “influential decision makers in their school districts.”
  • 82 percent agreed or strongly agreed with that their district’s internet reliability and speed were sufficient to support instruction.
  • 77 percent agreed or strongly agreed that the schools in their district had “sufficient numbers of licensed staff to meet their students’ educational needs”.
  • 75 percent agreed or strongly agreed that non-instructional time provided for teachers in their districts was sufficient.

The mandate for the TEA to develop and administer an online, anonymous school conditions survey for teachers, principals, counselors and other school-based professional staff to allow districts to a snapshot to review to improve planning was the brainchild of House Bill 2012 author Rep. Mike Villareal.

It was written so that administrators were required to give it but teachers were not required to take it. Being voluntary may well account for low participation even though ATPE (Association of Texas Professional Educators ), the largest educator group in the state with more than 100,000 members, urged members to “use their voice.”

Progress for TELL Texas houses the previous teacher results by district. Only 83,103 educators participated. It broke down to 75,400 teachers (91 percent of respondents), 1,431 principals, 1,416 assistant principals and 4,856 in the category of other education professionals (such as school counselors, school psychologists or social workers).

Follow Merrill Hope @OutOfTheBoxMom

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