Link to previous pages: 7/21/2011
Lusterless career of Terry Grier 6/10/2011
For non-profit "Stand for Children" school reform means union-busting and profiteering at the expense of kids & public schools
This heinous group Stand for Children has an active Houston chapter
by David A. Love
What Stand for Children is really about: busting teacher unions in Illinois Stand-for-Children-Co-founder-describes-Illinois-take-down-of-teachers-and-their-unions-YouTube.flv
This is one of those stories that shows how far some people will go in America to make a buck—even if it means profiting at the expense of children, or exploiting the legacy of the civil rights movement.
Stand for Children is an unassuming name for an organization. Just taken at face value, one would conclude that the Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit aspires to accomplish what the title suggests. Their website says SFC is “an innovative, grassroots child advocacy organization. Our mission is to use the power of grassroots action to help all children get the excellent public education and strong support they need to thrive. Our members believe we need to stand up for our children now – particularly for their education from pre-school through high school – to create a better future for America.”
Read rest of article: my.firedoglake.com/davidalove/2011/07/28/profiteering-and-union-busting-repackaged-as-school-reform/
Grier's decision to delay TNTP implementation is one he should have made months ago; now it's just craven politics
Palace on W. 18th Street springs a terrible leak today: Somehow the truth escaped despite the $10 million P.R. departmentRead chronicle take on direction change: blog.chron.com/schoolzone/2011/07/hisd-considering-delay-in-new-teacher-evaluation/
HISD TO PUT ANTI-TEACHER TNTP EVALUATION PLANS ON HOLD; TREMENDOUS WASTE OF TAX PAYERS DOLLARS; PHILANTROPHIC COMMUNITY SAID TO BE REELING - WHY DID GREIR SUDDENLY HAVE A CHANGE OF HEART?
Will President Obama and Ed. Sec. Arne Duncan phone Grier to express their "extreme disappointment?"
What's really at stake?
houstonisdwatch.com along with its many readers opposed the head-first implementation of The New Teacher Projects punitive teacher assessment plan. HFT has been opposed to the hurky-jerky implementation as well. We all knew that value-added assessment was coming in some form or fashion. NYC schools will be doing a slow-implementation/trial run this upcoming school year and LA Unifed Schools also approved implementation.
HISD was seen by both corporate sponsors and the high level million dollar donors as a paragon of dedication to student achievement. Grier wouldn't tolerate discussion. He brow-beat seven school board members into supporting TNTP. He's spent a million dollars and more on implementation of the plan even advertising for staff in Craigslist.
But today the news is out. Grier is reconsidering. Does he look even more like a jackass now after stating publicly HISD would not deviate from TNTP implementation? What few conversations he conducts with parents often were about TNTP and HISD's dedication to equity in achievement. What's Bill Gates thinking about HISD today? John Arnold, how could he be pleased by today's announcement? All the groups that claim to be non-profits who have networked with the district - what are they thinking about Grier and HISD.
The really big question has nothing to do with TNTP as an education tool. The really big question is what motivated Grier to make this sudden decision.
To those regular readers of houstonisdwatch.com you probably are thinking what I have been thinking for the past hour. Politics. Plain and simple politics. Grier's ass is on the line this fall. If Paula Harris and/or Manuel Rodriguez lose in their upcoming elections Grier is history. He will be terminated on a 5-4 vote.
Grier has been through this boondoggle before many times. Look back at previous HISD school board elections. The strongest opposition opponent has come from HFT. Is Grier engaging in a quid pro quo here that is so vast it threatens the national reputation of HISD?
You decide why this startling news to delay the implementation is announced on Thursday, July 28, 2011, a vacation day for many in the HISD community. You decide why Grier suddenly changed his mind with the Sept. 7 deadline looming in his face. Sept. 7 is the date by which opposition candidates need to declare.
You decide if it is pedagogy or the realization that his hasty plan was doomed to fail that motivated Grier to put HISD's status in jeopardy. That Grier is a horrible financial manager and throws taxpayers' dollars away is already fact. Today we see another example of contracts given to TNTP staffers who will essentially hang out for the year.
As you judge these events, include this tidbit: Manuel Rodriguez has an opposition candidate. No, it has not been announced in the local media but he has one. This candidate is pulling Rodriguez's support away. This candidate is close enough to Rodriguez to know all of his contractor buddies. Manuel Rodriguez's opposition in 2011 is the real deal. And Grier knows it too.
The TNTP plan should never have been an option. Looking at the inevitability of value-added assessment, especially now that NYC schools will begin a slow implementation of it and Los Angeles Unified School District is also going to use value added assessment, it was bound to come to HISD. Grier wanted to run through people to make it happen this coming school year...that is until this week......
United States declares war on its teachers
NYC Mayor Bloomberg declares automatic teacher tenure over: Number of tenured teachers cut in half
by Sharon Otterman:
Under tougher evaluation guidelines that the city put into effect this year, 58 percent of teachers eligible for tenure received it, the mayor said at a news conference at the Department of Education. A decision on tenure was deferred for 39 percent of eligible teachers, up from 8 percent a year ago. Three percent of eligible teachers were denied tenure outright in both years.
Five years ago, roughly 99 percent of eligible teachers — those who had completed their third year on the job — received tenure, mirroring statistics in school districts around the nation.
Read rest of article: www.nytimes.com/2011/07/28/nyregion/tenure-granted-to-58-of-eligible-teachers-in-city.html
Comments from houstonisdwatch.com reader:
check out moral liberals website. Wow-when did hate become "moral"?
by specialed (Jul 27, 2011)
Seriously, Haberman advertises on the moral liberal website? We should all be very concerned about our children.
by specialed (Jul 27, 2011)
(Editor's note: forthcoming posting on neo-liberals and right wing extremists teaming up to destroy U.S. public schools)
(Thank you to Soon-to-be-Former HISD Employee for the tip on Citizen Schools, a microcosm of the way HISD throws tax dollars away)
Whose needs are being served? Follow your money
Based on Citizen Schools own admission, HISD spends somewhere between $250,00 - $499,999 to prop up this organization
Bottom line: If the HISD trustees practiced Texas State School Board Association ethics, they would have been monitoring Grier's outrageous spending all along.
You can't hear it enough. You can't say it enough: HISD had the money to prevent teacher layoffs and keep class sizes reasonable. With Grier's anti-teacher antipathy and an ill-prepared majority of trustees on the board, HISD just cut teacher positions for the hell of it. That thought and the seething anger it arouses should be motivation to ensure the defeat of Paula Harris, HISD's alleged profiteer, and her companion in poor judgement and unethical use of district resources, Manuel Rodriguez.
How HISD throws your tax money away: Citizen Schools;
Grier loves throwing HISD money at opportunistic groups dedicated to helping children from low-income families
Before looking at yet another non-profit trolling for do-gooder dollars from HISD, you need to know Grier's opinion of middle class and affluent kids. He doesn't like them, has no use for them, doesn't think there is anything the district can do to help them. Racism in reverse. After all, these kids deprive him of an opportunity to create more bureaucracy like the Apollo disaster and his same sex academies. Grier has told parents of middle class kids "Your kids have had all the advantages." Grier speaks with disdain in his voice. HISD has always been about helping all kids. HISD at one time cared about middle class flight out of the district. Of course providing equity in educational opportunities is a district goal shared by all stakeholders. When parents of students who live in the HISD community report that Grier wants nothing to do with their kids or their kids school issues, HISD has a big problem. Grier continues to find ways to throw money everywhere with no plan other than to enhance his reputation among the Washington elite and use his connections to bully school board members. Is there a systemic district wide plan to bring students whose achievement scores trail those of their non-economically disadvantaged peers up to standard? No. There are lots of non-profits picking up half a million here and there. Grier is incapable of developing buy-in from the diverse members of the HISD community so he ignores dissidents and wastes more district resources on groups like Citizens Schools. Using bluster and bravado, Grier manages to help some kids but wastes an incredible amount of district resources in the process. houstonisdwatch.com
What Citizen Schools say they do: What We Do
Citizen Schools partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities across the country. By drawing thousands more citizens into schools each year, we’re promoting student achievement, transforming schools, and re-imagining education in America.
Read more: www.citizenschools.org/
What is Grier's relationship with the man behind Citizen Schools and all-around lobbyist for educational non-profits? Meet Alexander Kress
It's difficult to imagine Terry Grier and B. Alexander Sandy Kress not having hooked up at some point in Grier's past as Kress lobbies for all the kinds of services Grier loves to spend money on. Chief among Kerss' clients is education behemoth Pearson. According to Edvanceresearch.com and the TexasTribune.org, Kress lobbies for Teach for America. When Grier went to Austin to support St. Rep. Bob Eissler's bill to gut teachers' contract rights, he probably conferred with Mr. Kress
who served on the Texas Business Leadership Council and the Governor's Business Council. Mr. Kress is not doubt a very good lobbyist. He gets plenty of practice with his education clients like Edvance Research Inc., Pearson, Citizen Schools, and Teach for America, as well as post-secondary client Global Financial Aid Services. Many senior counselors and deans have heard from their students that Global is hustling business. His non-education clients include Abraham Trading Company, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Field LLP, Texas Instruments, and Wireless Generation (you can easily see that one working its way into Citizen Schools).
Despite his primarily prospective income flow, Kress is well-compensated for his lobbying efforts. Low ball estimate of his annual income is $160,000; maximum earnings are $304,993. Of course not all of it comes from his association with non-profits and some of his income may go unreported. Mr. Kress' work with Edvance Research of San Antonio links him directly to KIPP. Edvance partners with KIPP. houstonisdwatch.com
(Thanks again to Soon-to-be-Former HISD Employee for analysis and edvanceresearch link)
What a sweet life for Texas superintendents: DeSoto ISD plans to "settle" with disgraced superintendent Kelly Augustine to the tune of $40,000
She was hired in May, then her link to Atlanta's cheating scandal emerged; she was put of leave; Now DeSoto taxpayers will spend $40,000 to get rid of her
With start of school year less than a month away, HISD is advertising to fill 57 teacher vacancies
District wide Montessori teacher (experince required) Human Resources
District wide Early Childhood Human Resources
District wide English 6-12 Human Resources
District wide Foreign Language Spanish included Human Resources
District wide math 9-12 Human resources
District wide ESL Human Resources
District wide Bilingual all levels Human Resources
District wide CTE Maritime CTE
District wide dual credit English, Math, Social Studies, Science Human Resources
District wide Fine Arts Secondary Curriculum Instruction
Hourly Music teacher Stevenson Middle School
Instructional Coordinator school-based Lewis Elementary
Online "E" teacher - current HISD teachers only Virtual School
Teacher Specialist Martinez Elementary
Teacher Art Shadowbriar Elementary
Teacher Art Milby High School
Teacher Band Milby High School
Teacher Bilingual Gregory Lincoln Elementary
Teacher Chinese Pershing Middle School
Teacher Chinese Sharpstown International Middle School
Teacher Choir North Houston Early College High School
Teacher Aerospace Aviation Sterling High School CTE
Teacher CTE Health Science Tech CTE
Teacher CTE Technology 9-12 CTE
Teacher CTE Drafting Jones High Schol
Teacher CTE Maritime Austin High School
Teacher CTE Office Ed Lamar High School
Teacher Dance Gregory-Lincoln Elementary
Teacher Fifth Grade Camp Olympia
Teacher French Milby High School
Teacher Intervention Scarborough High School
Teacher Intervention Title 1 Bookline Elementary
Teacher Math 8 - 12 All Male College Preparatory High School
Teacher Multi Grade Davila Elementary
Teacher Multi Grade Technology Eleanor Tinsley Elementary
Teacher Music Elementary Hourly Foerster Elementary
Teacher Physical Education Dance experience required Key Middle School
Teacher Physical Education HEAD FOOTBALL COACH Austin High School
Teacher Reading Intervention Blackshear Elementary
Teacher Reading Intervention Eleanor Tinsley Elementary
Teacher Reading Intervention Isaacs Elementary
Teacher Reading Intervention Bilingual Rucker Elementary
Teacher Social Studies All Male College Preparatory High School
Teacher Spanish Jones High School
Teacher Spanish (2 positions) Wheatley High School
Teacher Special Education Resource Black Middle School (2 positions)
Teacher Special Education Resource Lanier Middle School
Teacher Special Education Research Pershing Middle School
Teacher Special Education Resource HCC Life Skills
Teacher Special Education Resource Math Edison Middle School
Teacher Technology 6-12 Project Chrysalis Middle School
Teacher Technology 6-12 Robotics All Male College Preparatory High School
Whose needs are being served? Follow the money
62 under-populated campuses; Budget reduction of $275 per student per campus; 750 teachers laid off; HISD is opening 8 new campuses
Today, Lewis Elementary School is a collection of 61 portable classrooms. Students and teachers have been at a temporary campus for two years, but the opening of their new school is now just weeks away. “I can’t wait,” Principal Tonya Sanders-Woods says.
Twice a week, she stops by the new building to see the progress that crews are making. She has been taking photos and sending them to the teachers so they can see the different phases of construction. The wireless school includes two computer labs, science labs, and classrooms that are grouped together by grade level. Teachers, administrators, parents, and community members helped pick out furniture, tiles, carpeting, and the color of the paint for the walls. “It is gorgeous. We are so excited that our kids and our teachers will be able to move into such a beautiful building,” Sanders-Woods says.
Read rest of HISD's P.R.: www.houstonisd.org/HISDConnectDS/v/index.jsp
Martin Haberman is Grier's idol. Haberman thinks teachers are always wrong & kids don't need disciplineHaberman Foundation - Remember them? Haberman corporate network for schools leaders hawking more pay-as-you-go services to schools; Haberman recommends corporate sponsors pick up the bill; Grier trusts Haberman despite its lack of empirical evidence that its approach is even effective
Our greatest hope for the Proposal to Corporate America is that a school district that is connected and working with their business community will approach them for our training services, since everyone says funding is in short supply. Target, HEB, Wal-Mart, NFL,AFL, and other businesses such as Exxon Mobil, Honeywell, basketball and baseball icons, and others would be willing to fund the Haberman Star Teacher Selection /Haberman Star Principal Selection trainings if they knew that the district had researched the data and wanted to learn the interviews in order to improve hiring practices. On our website, Places We’ve Been, the Harvard Study and Dr.Haberman’s on-going work , along with 13 doctoral dissertations.,would allow corporate partners to understand that the Haberman Educational Foundation has helped schools accomplish their goals and provided a knowledge base that helps provides good to great teachers and principals.
Read rest of proposal: www.themoralliberal.com/2011/04/14/proposal-to-school-districts-and-corporate-america-2011-2015/
Comment from houstonisd.com reader Marc who agrees that HISD has become an unfriendly place for parents under Grier's regime:
The comment about how parents are treated when they dare question Grier's chosen administrators brought to mind how many times the former Principal at Frost Elementary, Mrs. Winn now at Young Elementary, called security and CPS on the parents whenever they came to the school to talk with her! The woman talked down to the parents and treated them unprofessionally when they didn't agree with her because she was ALWAYS right, and then ordered them to leave or be arrested! WOW no wonder the parents took their kids out of the school and this was sanctioned by her best buddy Paula Harris, Grier, and the board! When most schools are begging for parental involvement, NOT HISD and some of its "power mad" administrators but this is what Grier wants and expects from them and too many of these overzealous flunkies are more than ready to follow his every word! Well if they keep going on the path they are currently headed down they won't have to worry because parents will take their kids out of this district and maybe that is the goal of Grier and his band of fools!?!? And the state is thinking of giving NFISD to these so-called "caring" educrats??? God help these kids and parents if they are placed with HISD next year and dare to screw with Grier and his flunkies future plans of resume building and making big bucks after using HISD students as "lab rats" for their own personal benefits!
by marc (Jul 26, 2011)
Update from the HISD lunchroom: Federal mandate for water
by Bettina Elias Siegel
Under a new federal mandate, all schools are expected to provide students with free drinking water in cafeterias starting this fall.
While this idea seems simple, however, districts all over the country are facing logistical and financial hurdles in trying to carry out the federal rule, including figuring out how to pay for thousands and thousands of disposable cups that need to sit near pitchers or coolers, how the pitchers or coolers going to be properly cleaned if a stripped-down school kitchen lacks adequate washing facilities, or who is going to pay for the installation of a new faucet in the lunch room if a district chooses to go that route. (For more on these issues, this recent article by San Francisco school food reformer Dana Woldow describes the struggles of some districts in California to meet not just the federal mandate to have drinking water available, but also a California state law requiring the same thing. Some of those districts have asked for a waiver under the state law giving them an extra four years to figure out how to do it.)
Read rest of blogger Siegel's report: Bettina Elias Siegel
Soon-to-be-Former-HISD-Employee discovers HISD's incestuous relationship with The Foundation for the Education of Young Women
"You'd think that our Board would use Google to check things out before they vote on spending our money:
This is from the Young Women's Leadership Network:
Who has David Levin (KIPP co-founder) as a board member:
And is an affiliate of the Foundation for the Education of Young Women which is starting our girls' school:
How much money are we giving the FEYW? Seems to me these groups are always asking for money while their top brass makes six figure salaries? And are we Houston taxpayers handing over money to enrich their top leadership as well?
Soon-to-be-Former-HISD-employee Jul 26 2011
How the superintendent's world turns: Paige tried to hide a cheating scandal and Grier tries to create oneCheating scandal remembered in HISD but it has nothing to do with HISD teachers: Rod Paige's "Texas Miracle" not forgotten or forgiven
Terry Grier used his 120-member $10 million P.R. spinners to create a pseudo-cheating scandal in HISD. Unfortunately for Grier, his charges didn't stick. Expect more lies from the palace on W. 18 when Grier and his sycophants have to justify teachers across the district not receiving ASPIRE money (Remember Grier personally supervised TAKS answer sheet corrections caused by Pearson errors. We don't know which schools he submitted but we know many he did not) and TEA's concerned about HISD administratively sponsored TAKS test manipulations for Special Ed. students. Glancing at the Slate.com article on the link between high pressure multiple choice tests and seeing "Houston" in the headline I immediately thought Grier's summer TAKS cheating scandal had gone big time. Not at all. It's the rock'em sock'em era of Rod Paige and his "Texas Miracle" remembered as one of the biggest cheating scandals of all. houstonisdwatch.com
"A few years later, Houston's superintendent, Rod Paige, gained fame as the force behind the "Texas Miracle," a period of rapidly rising test scores and high school graduation rates. Paige offered teachers and principals merit pay attached to such metrics. In 2003, it was discovered that widespread cheating had taken place throughout the city, with failing students encouraged to stay home on test days. In 1999 in New York City, 32 schools, dozens of teachers, and two principals were embroiled in a similar scandal. Paige, meanwhile, went on to become George W. Bush's first education secretary, and one of the architects of No Child Left Behind."
Read rest of article: www.slate.com/id/2299709/
Los Angeles votes to stop issuing citations for red light cameras & have them removed: www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-red-light-cameras-20110727,0,6729565.story
This development is quite interesting given the controvesy here as red light cameras come back into play despite the vote to chug them. Only LAPD says cameras improve safety. Sounds familiar?
UPDATE: houstonisdwatch.com has also asked HISD's Public Information Department for the district's line item budget for 2011-12. HISD should respond by mid-August.
houstonisdwatch.com open records requests: A record of all the money HISD has given to multi-national corporation Pearson for services rendered this past year - including professional development - must be answered by HISD no later than August 1, 2011. houstonisdwatch.com has also asked HISD's Public Information for Advanced Placement test scores for 2010-11. That information is due back from HISD in mid-August.
Educators for a Better District IV: Working behind the scenes in the July doldrums
Don't let this slow period in the HISD news cycle fool you. It looks quiet out there. Even the HISD trustees did not meet in formal session this month. HISD principals had the indoctrination session by Grier's henchmen. You can be sure Paula Harris, Manuel Rodriguez, and Larry Marshall are exploring opportunities to advocate for their friends (i.e. contractors) to network in North Forest School District. Those three will not care that North Forest ISD is asking to remain intact. Harris, Rodriguez, and Marshall just see dollar signs. They haven't acted consistently in the best interests of HISD's students so why would they care about the kids in North Forest? Educators for a Better District IV have gone quiet for the express purpose of fielding an outstanding opponent or two for Paula Harris. District III is currently represented by Manuel Rodriguez. It's much harder to get a read on what's going on there right now The Harris race has been drawing more attention at this point.
As stakeholders in HISD, we all must be vigilant in watching for signs HISD is working to reelect Harris and Rodriguez. In this case HISD means Terry Grier whose future in Houston depends on their reelection. He's manipulated the majority of board members so far. Do you think for a moment he wouldn't say something, do something, or sign something to give his chumps a leg-up? Any election irregularities need to be flushed out and made public. Anna Eastman thought her last campaign got nasty. The Harris and Rodriguez campaigns will take nasty to a whole new level. houstonisdwatch.com
HISD's promotion for all boys school CLC will house all girls academy
Parents cut Grier off from taking regular program funds to support his same sex academy and Apollo follies; All Male school will be the district's second
This summer Grier begging for cash to fund Apollo expansion, same sex schools - projects which never should have been approved in a tight budget year
Same sex schools began taking applications in mid-December but still have room
All Girls School to open in Midtown: www.myfoxhouston.com/dpp/news/education/110210-hisd-all-girl-school-to-open-near-midtown
HISD Trustees vote to approve all girls school: abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story
The Foundation for the Education of Young Women has pledged $1 million dollars for the all girls' school spread out over four years. Sounds impressive, doesn't it? When you factor in the cost of a dedicated facility (CLC on Celburne) and the extra custodians, land-scaping, remodeling that Terry Grier has no problem throwing at his special project schools as the majority of HISD campuses suffer from inadquate custodian services to complement their reduced teaching staffs. Grier asked the school board to chip in a million to help get the campuses ready. It's just another immoral request made by Grier who sees no inequity is putting his special schools ahead of everyone else. He will claim even the most modest success as his own. A valid question when the proposal was approved in December and still relevant as the all male school on the E.O. Smith campus is no where near capacity. why did the HISD vote to duplicate services in a tight budget year? houstonisdwatch.com
Grier asked the board to approve an all boys school housed at the E.O. Smith campus and they did.
Grier fits profile of school "reformers" who love to ban critical parents
by Dale Goldstein:
In Washington, D.C., a father became suspicious of his daughter's high math test scores, as the girl couldn't perform basic arithmetic functions. One of then-chancellor Michelle Rhee's favorite principals, Wayne Ryan of the Noyes Education Complex, responded by banning that parent from setting foot on campus. All in all, more than half of D.C. elementary schools, including Noyes, showed evidence of adult tampering with students' standardized test answer sheets under Rhee's administration, which paid principals and teachers up to $12,000 in annual bonuses for raising test scores. Wayne Ryan has since resigned in disgrace.
Read rest of article: www.slate.com/id/2299709/
Comment from houstonisdwatch.com reader:
My father who was a teacher of 30 years told me at graduation: "Son, if there is anything else you can do besides teach: DO IT. He meant that if teaching were not a passion, almost a calling I should not do it. Dear HISD Trustees: How dare you question my qualifications to teach. I have multiple advanced degrees, none of those taught me to teach kids to bubble in standardized tests ad nauseum. How dare you judge me? Were you there when that girl whose cousin died in that drive by and she couldn't do her paper because she was at the funeral home all night. Did you go with me to the 5th ward and knock on that boy's door to see why he had missed a week of my class? Was that you beside me holding the hair of his mom while she threw up into the toilet? How do I bubble that in? How dare you furlough me, RFI my colleagues, and put into our classes baby TFA ers who won't be here next summer. I will continue to inspire,conspire,perspire until every child does learn. I'll continue to spend my own money on supplies while you cut back money to my campus..How dare you? I'll continue to demand from you the same thing I demand for myself: excellence, heart, magic and caring for my students first. Dad? You were right..and neither you nor I would want it any other way. How dare you not do the same Trustees?
by ItsWhatIDo (Jul 24, 2011)
What's TEA trying to hide? Low achievement by multracial students or just a juvenile reaction to Department of Education's request?
Texas buck trends in reporting multiracial scores: www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7667774.html
DeSoto ISD takes two weeks to consider firing its superintendent: 5 HISD trustees are clueless about Grier after two wasted, expensive years of Grier's failed leadership
from DallasNews.com: www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/desoto-lancaster/headlines/20110725-desoto-school-board-could-part-ways-tonight-with-new-superintendent-embroiled-in-georgia-cheating-scandal.ece
Grier and trustees (5) who support him have done nothing to increase HISD's achievement in the national race to better scores; TAKS gains indicate little as Texas scores are flat when compared to national standardized test scores for 4th & 8th graders & college entrance exams
The report from the Dallas Morning News casts a even more negative light on the Grier era in HISD than the pathetic increase of 1% overall on TAKS scores from 2009-2010 to 2010-2011. As far as state standardized tests go, the TAKS is perceived as a weak measure even when such subterfuges as TPM (Texas Projection Measure) are removed. Texas politicians and frauds like Grier will use TAKS to promote their own agendas which, unfortunately, have nothing to do with the welfare of students they serve. Into this mix throw a mixed bag of Stanford achievement scores which are skewed because year-to-year time measures are unbalanced. Have you noticed HISD has said nothing about its AP test scores? These scores have been out for a month but the palace on W. 18 is silent. AP achievement levels under Terry Grier's failed leadership are heading for the toilet. Self-serving trustees like Paula Harris and Manuel Rodriguez can't buy their way out of HISD's achievement slump. There are no friends to call and no contracts to manipulate. HISD students deserve so much better. Only voters can ensure the interests of students, not superintendents and school board members, are served. houstonisdwatch.com
by Holly K. Hacker and Jeffrey Weiss
Just-released Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills scores from the 2010-11 school year show the upward trajectory in student passing rates continued to nudge up in most subjects and grades.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt the increased scores on TAKS show increased learning across the state,” said Gloria Zyskowski, deputy associate commissioner at the Texas Education Agency.
But some key national exams tell a different story. An achievement test given to the nation’s fourth- and eighth-graders and college entrance exam scores from Texas students do not show such dramatic gains.
In some categories, the performance of Texas students has remained absolutely flat as TAKS scores climbed.
Even those who see the improvement in TAKS scores as progress acknowledge that the state’s exam became a T-ball test in a fastball world — not tough enough to show whether students are better prepared for college or work.
Read rest of article: www.dallasnews.com/news/education/headlines/20110723-taks-run-shows-big-gains-for-texas-students-but-national-measures-do-not.ece
Why do racists just love radical Christians? You can't find one without the other.,...Michelle Rhee aligns herself with the most hateful Tennessee politicians
Remember the HISD school board pursued Rhee as a superintendent before hiring bafoon Grierfrom DailyKos.com:
by Steve Singiser:
For those who missed it, education "reformer" (and, evidently, newly minted resident of Tennessee) Michelle Rhee has been busy lavishing praise on the GOP-led Tennessee state legislature.
To hear Rhee tell it, the Republicans who run Tennessee have bolstered the cause of Volunteer State education, in large part by slashing the rights of the state's teachers. She described their teacher-bashing bill as "aggressive and courageous" (when she wasn't humiliating her own children to make a cheap political point).
(to make a political point Rhee willingly embarasses her own children: www.commercialappeal.com/news/2011/jul/18/state-of-education/There is the small matter of racial disparities in the state's advanced courses, as The Tennessean reported this week:
In Rutherford County, Blackman High School’s physics classes were missing something.
In Wilson County, not one black high-school student took an advanced-level math, science or foreign-language class during the 2009-10 school year.
Things were slightly better in Williamson County, where 12 percent of black high-school students took Advanced Placement classes compared with 27 percent of white students.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights tracked minority student trends at more than 72,000 schools in 2009-10, including those in Middle Tennessee. Its report shows many of the region’s minorities are in classrooms led by inexperienced teachers, and relatively few of those students seek out high-level courses.
Read rest of article: www.dailykos.com/story/2011/07/20/996737/-Tennessee-has-real-educational-problems,-and-unions-arent-one-of-them
Another health care horror from HISD's Human Resources Department: Can anyone say "Costa Rica, Larry?"
Sitting in church last Sunday, the pastor announces that a fundraiser to pay for a parishioner's child's surgery and treatment was successful. The child can now have both.
Except the parents were not unemployed or without health insurance. The father was an HISD teacher! The community is not only paying taxes to support Dr. Grier's corporate testing programs, but also paying for his lack of financial/benefits support for the teachers?
And wondering if Larry Marshall would have sent the child to Costa Rica for treatment with or without the child's parents.
Soon-to-be-Former-"disgusted"-Teacher (Jul 23, 2011)
Milby's new principalCongratulations to Roy de la Garza, Milby High School's new principal. Mr. de la Garza owns a very popular Heights restaurant The Broken Spoke
Grier's idea of the ideal school principal, easily programmable by his henchmenLeadership Training or Indoctrination? High school principals participate in two days of mandatory retreat & attitude adjustment
Rest assured, HISD taxpayers, HISD is not lavishing its high school principals with an out-of-town retreat at Camp Olympia. The retreat instead was held at DeBakey High School. “This retreat allowed our principals time to reflect on their key priorities and to establish an action plan for the 2011–2012 school year to make sure those priorities are met in their schools," said HISD Chief High School Officer Aaron Spence. All schools have school improvement plans which were to have been written at the campus level with campus input. So why does Grier need HISD high school principals to "establish an action plan for the 2011-12 school year?" Exactly whose action plan is it? As we begin year three of Grier's master plan to destroy HISD, of course we already know the answer. HISD isn't looking for strong leaders. HISD is looking for robots. Independent ideas? Grier will sick the Exorcists' evil twin Michelle Pola on you to purge the independence right out. There is no secret about Grier's plan for 2011-12: He wants to terminate as many veteran teachers as his team of sycophants and boot lickers can process. Message to HISD's highly paid team of propagandists: You guys suck. Your own website's description of this mandatory retreat can't hide its evil intent. Grier is like an open book - one you want to discard in a heap of stinking trash. Oh, and if you have any doubts what this leadership conference was all about, just call James McSwain at Lamar High School. No one sings the company tunes louder than the jovial one. houstonisdwatch.com
North Carolina houstonisdwatch.com reader weighs in on Grier:
Houston, you have a problem. The problem is your new Superintendent. The other problem is the board that hired him. They did NOT do their homework. I live in Guilford County, North Carolina and Grier was our Superintendent before he went to San Diego. This man gets hired because he’s a master at resume writing, number contorting and student hiding… He works to build his resume. He does not, let me repeat, does NOT care about the students in his district. He’s a magician. He can hid poor performing students and schools faster than you can say alakazam! Our county couldn’t get rid of him fast enough. Haven’t you seen the “Get Terry Grier outta here” yard signs? Haven’t you seen the “Honk if you’ve been Grier-ended magnets”? Houston, Houston, Houston get your kids in private school NOW! 2009 (hear the Twilight Zone theme music?)
by Kim in NC (Jul 22, 2011)
North Forest ISD Trustee discusses battle with TEA: abclocal.go.com/ktrk/video
Missouri's Democratic governor signs bill demonizing teachers: www.dailykos.com/story/2011/07/21/997256/-Missouri-governor-signs-bill-demonizing-teachers
Terry Grier and HISD Trustees deserve blame for increasing Houston's unemployement rate
The district made no attempt to reinstate jobs when the state legislature budgeted more funds than anticipated for 2011-12. Grier has lied to the board and taxpayers by expanding, not contracting as promised, his bloated central office bureaurcracy
HOUSTON UMEMPLOYMENT UP
by Ronnie Crocker
Unemployment in the Houston metropolitan area jumped by eight-tenths of a percentage point last month, figures released by the Texas Workforce Commission this morning show.
The Houston rate for June, not seasonally adjusted, was 9 percent, up from 8.2 percent in May and 8.7 percent a year earlier. There were 3,500 fewer local residents employed in June, compared with a month earlier.
The ranks of unemployed in the Houston-Baytown-Sugar Land metro area swelled to 264,800. That compares with 240,500 in May and 252,000 a year earlier.
Read more: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/7664873.html#ixzz1Sr4XUQ4P
Grier's modus operandi with regard to teachersGrier values disrespecting teachers above all else and still has support of Paula Harris & Manuel Rodrguiez to terminate at will
In the Paula Harris & Manuel Rodriguez era of HISD, treating employees with respect and human decency are virtues from a by-gone era
It doesn't matter that principals request services from a teacher, if Ann Best's human resources department has targeted them, big brother on W. 18th will always get the last word
This is the true story of a solid Advanced Placement teacher. Within the community of AP teachers in HISD, he is respected for both content knowledge and pedagogy. A flunkie administrator at one of HISD's most troubled high schools volunteered his name for the termination bin, dead file, review drawer, whatever you want to call the place principals put folders, or maybe just a few pieces of paperwork at the outset of their investigation, of employees they want to fire. Keep in mind that Grier loves harassing and terminating teachers. He could never dispute this statement as their is over-whelming evidence he simply detests independent, competent teachers. Grier is threatened by them. Obviously, Grier had some problems during his own teaching days which are why he now supports quacks like Martin Haberman who should be officially banned from ever setting foot in another public school and from writing anymore of his crap papers on how to help poor and minority children. Grier gave the order that he wanted more HISD teachers fired. So this flunky administrator at one of Houston's lowest performing high schools decided to help out.
Disrespect will continue if Paula Harris & Manuel Rodriguez are reelectedAs I mentioned in my analysis of TNTP, incompetent administrators, and HISD has more than its share of them, now have almost total control over teachers. Added to this particular administrator's level of incompetence is the fact that she was a TFA intern. You know the type. Two years in the classroom and wisk...they are ordained for administrator training school. Two years in the classroom does not prepare anyone to become an administrator just like four years as a principal in no way prepared Grier to become a superintendent. Since 33% of TFA teachers can't even cut it through their first year, this wanna-be administrator was applauded for sticking with the program for its contract length of two years which is kind of like getting an award for stopping when the light turns red.
She had a plan of attack. She visited this AP teacher regularly. She documented everything she could find. It was clearly a witch hunt. What did she finally settled on as a reason to recommend termination? He didn't rotate his bulletin boards every two weeks. She ran over him because he didn't change his bulletin boards to her satisfaction. She didn't consider the fact that he arrived at school early to tutor students in the mornings. He gave up his lunch periods to tutor. He organized AP exam reviews and stayed late. No. The incompetent administrator decided he had to go because of his frigin' bulletin boards. And this administrator now looks "worthy" in the eyes of the Grier Gestapo. In education terms, she put a hit out on the AP teacher and will probably be rewarded with a promotion.
This is the world seven HISD trustees (he was hired on a 7-0 vote) and asshole Grier have created. It's a world that doesn't value common decency, doesn't know how to identify good teachers, practices systemic disrespect, and is lowering the academic performance of the district. A net gain of one point on TAKS and AP scores that are generally in the toilet - this is what the taxpayers are supporting.
So the teacher decided enough. Time to move on. HISD's disrespect machine wasn't done with him yet. I have described Ann Best and her department as incompetent at the very least and more evidence to support that observation rolls in. The teacher had an agreement to work summer programs. Without informing him, Ann Best decided to cut him off immediately. No doubt Ann does all she can to kiss Grier's butt. They allegedly cut off his heath insurance without telling him - which, by the way, would be ILLEGAL.. He finds out Best cancelled his health insurance at the dentist. Best threatens to make him pay back the $1000 early release bonus he is eligible for even though he had agreements to work through the summer.
By law, HISD has to offer employees COBRA insurance when employment is ended. An ex-employee can opt to maintain COBRA for 18 months. Certainly the incompetent HISD HR department personnel are not blatantly breaking federal law, are they?
COBRA insurance may be an option for health care coverage if you have been laid off.
"If your former employer has 20 or more employees, the company is required by a 1986 federal law to offer you the option to pay for an extension of your health insurance coverage for at least 18 months. This law is known as COBRA, which stands for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.
At the time you are laid off (resign, retire, or terminated), your employer must inform you in writing about your rights under COBRA. You then have 60 days from the date of the notice or the date your health insurance ended to enroll, or sign up for coverage under COBRA. If your company went out of business or went bankrupt, COBRA will not be available."
Regardless of the number of ill-prepared TFA individuals HISD has placed throughout its huge central office bureaucracy, the law is the law. Under Grier, central office personnel are frequently over-bearing, condescending, and just plain obnoxious. It figures, doesn't it? In Grier's world, the schools come last - that is those schools which are not his special projects. Teachers and even principals don't matter all that much and certainly don't need to be treated with respect in Grier's HISD.
All it will take to end the reign of Grier-terror is the defeat of Paula Harris and Manuel Rodriguez. We all need to be watchful regarding the upcoming elections and do our part to ensure Harris and Rodriguez lose. Neither deserves their position on the board.
We need to do our part to end the reign of terror and the disrespect and harassment this soon-to-be former HISD teacher experienced. We believe in an HISD from a bygone era where everyone in the school community - from janitors to PTO presidents, secretaries, and especially teachers - are treated with dignity and respect. We won't tolerate anything less.
Comments from houstonisdwatch.com readers:
Milby has a new principal- Roy DeLagarza by way of Waltrip and North Early College. Good man, good choice and good luck.
by Cocanut (Jul 21, 2011)
Dear Longtime Associate Teacher,
Not really sure how everything works in Florida... but here in the Great State of Texas counselors hold information sessions for non-english speaking students to learn about and apply for financial aid programs for college education. No questions asked!!! I volunteered one year to help out... I wasn't much use because the 2 languages I can handle, those folks learn English when they come here. However, before I walked out in utter disgust, I observed students from multiple high schools being instructed on how to fill out paper work without the same credentials that native students have to provide. In addition, they were assisted in filling out applications and aid forms by the people hosting the session. I left before I became verbally disgusted on behalf of my students who are lead line by line through these papers and told exactly how to get these monies. Not to mention that I will have to figure out how to fund my own child's college education-male, not a classified "minority". Look into it for yourself... I know this has happened the last 5 years.
by Life is Education! (Jul 21, 2011)
Students who do not have socials can receive private financial aid from grants who do not require. They are not eligible for any federal monies. I know this because I help students fill out their paper work.
Second, the majority of these students were brought here by their parents! I find it appalling to hear educators speak about these children like they are leeches on our society. I assure you there are more natural born citizens doing far worse dirty work in our society.
They are not the problem. Greedy, money grubbing social elites are.
by Correction (Jul 22, 2011)
Bronx charter school disciplined over admissions policies:
by Anna M. Phillips
"The violations go to the crux of the debate over charters, which are publicly financed but independently operated. Random admissions is a key tenet in most states, but critics have long contended that the schools surreptitiously weed out students who are unlikely to do well on standardized tests or are more difficult to educate."
Read rest of article: www.nytimes.com/2011/07/21/nyregion/bronx-charter-school-disciplined-over-admissions.html
Link to previous pages: 7/21/2011
Lusterless career of Terry Grier 6/10/2011
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