Imagine my surprise when, while online, I came across a post attempting to link Ken Paxton with Bennett Ratliff and Wendy Davis. This post, by Alice Linahan, I found to be full of innuendo and assertions based on a mix of campaign rivalry, desperation and errors. But in all fairness, Linahan did state, at the very end of her post, that it was her ‘opinion’. I am referring to “Identity Politics – Ratliff and Paxton~ Next Generation Learning Standards in Texas” http://www.voicesempower.com/identity-politics-ratliff-and-paxton-next-generation-learning-standards-in-texas/
Let’s chat about the infamous vetoed bill HB 2824. In my review of HB 2824, it did not appear to meet the assertions set forth by Linahan. And, to be fair, I do not defend Bennett Ratliff on anything, but after reading this bill, I understand the facts.
Here are the facts on HB 282:
TEXAS HIGH PERFORMANCE SCHOOLS CONSORTIUM
The Legislature in 2011 enacted the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium, to inform policymakers on improving student learning through the development of innovative, next-generation learning standards and assessment and accountability systems. Essentially, the consortium is designed to serve an R&D function as education moves into the digital age.
The Commissioner of Education invited 23 school districts to participate. The consortium in December 2012 provided a report that identified statutory changes to allow the consortium districts the ability to innovate. HB 2824 incorporates many of these recommendations, including:
In-Depth Teaching. To transform teaching in schools, the bill allows consortium campuses to focus on the essential “readiness” standards of the TEKS that students need for success. Currently students also spend a great deal of time on “supporting standards” (those introduced in the subject and grade but emphasized in a different subject or grade). Some subjects include a myriad of supporting standards, forcing teachers to dilute quality (covering the most important topics at depth) in favor of quantity (covering all “mile wide” standards at sufficient depth in case they happen to be assessed). By teaching all the standards but concentrating on the readiness standards, teachers will be able to use projects and other in-depth teaching methods in which students can gain long-lasting knowledge of the important subjects.
R&D Innovation. The effectiveness of closing achievement gaps on readiness standards and an evaluation of teaching high-priority standards in depth would be studied for reports in 2014 and 2016. The State Board of Education, which approves the TEKS, would be added as a report recipient. The report also would address the effectiveness of various methods, including digital learning, the use of multiple assessments that provide more precise, useful, and timely information, and reliance on local control that enables greater community and parental involvement.
Targeted Assessments. Starting with the 2013-14 school year, consortium campuses would be evaluated by a third-party evaluation on STAAR for readiness standards; grades 3-8 would take STAAR in reading and math; and grades 5 and 8 would take STAAR in science (14 rather than 17 STAAR tests). If allowed by federal waiver, a campus may administer fewer STAAR tests or may offer college preparatory tests in 8th grade in lieu of STAAR. High school EOCs would be limited to 10th English, math, and science or a college preparatory test if allowed. TEA would issue “report-only” ratings, allowing the consortium space to innovate.
The connection Linahan makes between Ratliff and Paxton is due to Ratliff being an author and Paxton a sponsor of HB 2824. Going by Linahan’s innuendo, that categorically ipso facto (POOF) makes Paxton a wretched Common Core, lobbyist loving, conspirator? I think the summary above clearly shows that not to be the case.
Linahan asserts that Paxton ignored his responsibilities as the sponsor of HB 2824 by being absent from the vote. Granted I am not well versed in the goings on in our TX House and Senate, but I do know that a Representative may be working on another committee on a separate piece of legislation, or perhaps be on the floor while a bill is being laid out in committee. Too, that it is not uncommon for another member of a committee to lay out a bill for another committee member. By no means does this mean that Davis had anything to do with this bill. I suppose, following Linahan’s line of innuendo, if Senator Paxton sat next to Senator Davis that means he supports her?? Not sure?? I can assure you that comparing Paxton to Davis is like comparing Ted Cruz to Obama. (Not even close) This is overtly obvious by the plethora of endorsements Paxton has received by conservatives all over our great state: http://kenpaxton.com/endorsements/
Let us not forget, HB 2824 was vetoed and is not current law. Vetoed because HB 5 did much of what was happening already in this bill. Here is the proclamation from the governor for the veto http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/scanned/vetoes/83/hb2824.pdf#navpanes=0
In the debate of pro-public school vs. school choice, I firmly stand with school choice. Texas has National Merit Scholars that have never taken a STAAR test and they have a full ride to college. Paxton’s son happens to be one of those children. Children are never one-sized fits all and parents should have the right to choose the needs for each individual child. School choice is the definition of liberty. Therefore, to me, Linahan’s anti-school choice position is baffling.
Linahan also alleges HB 5 is Common Core. I assert HB 5 is not Common Core. View the language of the bill, those who voted and how via this link: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB5 HB 5 is a larger version of the vetoed HB 2824. It was passed unanimously – that means all of our ubber conservatives were in complete agreement.
Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, supported by Linahan and myself in his re-election for Lt Governor, also promoted and supports HB 5. Even parents and teachers across Texas were in full support of reducing testing and allowing more local control for our children’s education.
On data collection: We have research studies all the time gathering information, which in later years, show us the positives and negatives within the study.
Without a doubt, I oppose our children’s data being collected and shared with the Federal Government. However, I do not see a problem with research information being collected for the purposes of bettering our children’s education.
Additionally, I feel it is quite a stretch to assert the collection of data for research purposes thereby means there is a conspiracy by all of our Texas Legislators to supply personal information to the Federal Government.
In Linahan’s post, she attacked Paxton’s actions in the Speaker race. There are tons of innuendos & assertions vs. fact throughout. Let’s review some solid details: Paxton was the only man who was not afraid to stand against members of his own party to challenge the wrong happening. Thirty out of 100 Republicans had the courage to stand with Paxton on the closed first vote. Straus made it clear what he would do to those that opposed him as Speaker. Rep. Hughes was threatened before the session started that Straus would draw his district out from underneath him –which he did. Hughes lost all but 25% of his former district, yet through vigorous campaigning, Hughes was reelected. Others were not so fortunate. Erwin Cain and David Simpson were put in the same district and we lost Erwin. None received decent committee assignments.
Paxton knew supporting him would put a bulls-eye on more of his fellow Republicans and courageously stepped out of the race.
I recall a few days before Paxton formally announced his campaign for Attorney General, a few of us were discussing our plans to attend Paxton’s big event. Linahan promoted Paxton as the fighter we need. (Paraphrasing her post) She ‘knew’ this because she had seen him fight in the Speaker Race. So, again in Linahan’s opinion, is Paxton the fighter we need or he’s not now because it simply does not fit with Linahan’s ‘narrative’of the week? Thankfully we Texans hold our right to choose our candidates close and respect one anothers right to do the same.
I pray we all will do our own homework and not stand with innuendos, assertions and acknowledged opinion.
Regarding Senator Ted Cruz, I feel it would be obtuse to allege his true stance regarding Ken Paxton. I believe all Texans should focus on what Senator Cruz said regarding Paxton.
or watch Senator Cruz here:
Finally, I must say it is extremely alarming the lengths some will go to promote their candidate over others. I think my friend Terri Hill conveys the sentiments of a lot of Texans recent views in this post: