Raise Your Hand Texas (http://www.raiseyourhandtexas.org/) CEO Dr. David Anthony, published a listing of the Texas Association of Business 2012 Board of Directors. It is thirteen pages long and contains over 200 members that are on the board and/or some advisory position. I believe this gives the supporters of the Texas Public Schools an excellent opportunity to measure the depth of support for the TAB Education Policy Statement promoting vouchers, high stakes testing, unlimited charter schools, teacher evaluation/pay tied to test results, larger class sizes and the privatization of the public school process. I have included the body of a letter sent to the TAB Board Members in the Longview, Kilgore and Tyler area. I do not believe that all 200 contacts are supportive of the TAB position on public schools. I hope to inform those in my area and allow each of them to be up to date on this issue. I would encourage anyone interested in supporting the work of Texas Public Schools to use this information to inform TAB members in their local area.
The TAB Policy Statement can be viewed here.
The TAB Board of Directors list can be viewed here.
Body of the Letter:
I received information that lists you as a member of the Texas Association of Business Board of Directors. I am very interested in your perspective on the TAB Policy Statement on Texas Public Schools (copy included). The lead-in statement announces TAB as “leading the fight for bettering our state’s schools and creating better accountability measures within them”. The statement indicates that the TAB is in the process of creating an accountability system for Texas Public Schools. I am contacting the members of the Texas Association of Business in East Texas to find out if they/you support the policy statement included in this letter.
White Oak ISD is a member of the Texas High Performing Schools Consortium. We are the only East Texas school district to have been selected. This consortium was created through the passing of Senate Bill 1557 in the 82nd Legislative Session. Our charge is to develop and implement new teaching standards, assessment system and accountability system for the state. There are twenty-three districts that represent just over 200,000 Texas Public School Students in the consortium. It is our firm belief that the current assessment system of STAAR/EOC is not a model for improving the education of our students. The use of outdated, 20th century testing systems is the problem and not the cure for creating a strong, well-educated and innovative workforce for the 21st century.
Needless to say, I do not agree with the “mission” of TAB President/CEO Bill Hammond and his claims to be a proponent of a strong public school system. He is a proponent of private business. He is interested in the use of public funds to make a profit in the private sector. Although the members of the TAB are not educators, you are well-educated people. The research is there and readily available that debunks the claims of more standardized testing creates better-educated students.
I would ask that you take the time to review the information on the New Visioning Institute, http://www.transformtexas.org/#, and see for your self the powerful work being done by professional educators. If you are not a supporter of the TAB Education Policy Statement, let it be known. The school children of the state of Texas deserve more than to be pawns in a for-profit scheme disguised as a concern for better education. Thank you for your time and any consideration you may give to this matter.
Michael E. Gilbert