More from the archives of the games people play at the sboe…

From: Belcher, Kim

Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2016 7:30 AM

To: ‘Bahorich, Donna’

Subject: RE: FW:

Clever semantics.

You are selling our kids out.



From: Bahorich, Donna []

Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2016 8:21 PM

To: Belcher, Kim

Subject: Re: FW:


The only work I’m aware of that Shirley Dixon did for TX was looking at how to write quality standards, long before the ELAR revision and per her selection after an RFP process the board issued. As we have discussed previously, the ELAR framework proposed by the reviewers was put together and suggested by all the ELAR professional organizations in Texas, K12 teachers for the most part. I don’t know anything about NAGB’s involvement in Texas.  Donna

On Apr 20, 2016, at 4:12 PM, Belcher, Kim  wrote:

Good afternoon, Donna.

 While I have not received a response to the question as to why we are accepting the directive to use the national standards framework instead of fully designing our own, I now have another question.

 According to Commissioner Morath, he has stopped all agency work with the NAGB.  My question to you and to him is what will you use in place of the ELA/R standards framework if he has stopped all agency work with the NAGB.  The framework was designed by Shirley Dickson in her consulting role on behalf of NAGB, as explained to you by Johnny Veselka.

 We are a long way down the ELA/R review process. I hope we can answer these questions and put these concerns to rest soon.


From: Belcher, Kim

Sent: Thursday, April 14, 2016 7:55 AM

To: ‘Bahorich, Donna’

Subject: RE:

 Good morning, Donna.

 Thanks for covering the ELA/R and math.

 What about why Texas is accepting the directive to use the national standards framework instead of fully designing our own?


From: Bahorich, Donna []

Sent: Wednesday, April 13, 2016 4:56 PM

To: Belcher, Kim

Subject: Re:



–last review team meeting is at the end of April

–depending on how far along the reviewers are in all the corrections we wanted to see, we will have a discussion or a first reading in July. The experts  will be giving us feedback as well before proceeding.

For math:

–I will be scheduling an SBOE work session sometime over the next few meetings for the Board to discuss whether the math TEKS should be streamlined.

 Hope you are doing well.

Donna Bahorich


State Board of Education

On Apr 13, 2016, at 3:22 PM, Belcher, Kim  wrote:

Good afternoon, Donna.

 I just wanted to touch base and see what the status of the ELA/R standards review is, as well as explore where we are in considering modifications to the math standards.

 I have been corresponding with Commissioner Morath regarding a number of concerns from our parent/educator group.  As it pertains to the standards, he has referred me back to the SBOE.  My state legislators and Commissioner Morath have all now been consistent in insisting that the buck stops with the SBOE on the standards.

 With that said, Commissioner Morath has indicated that he believes the process standards are a problem and should be removed. He has indicated that he is an agreement that Dr. Milgram’s critiques of the current math standards are accurate.  He has also indicated that he understands the problems with the current ELA/R drafts.  He has expressed his adamant opposition to common core, under any name.  As we have discussed before, Region IV ESC estimated that our current math TEKS are 68% aligned with common core standards.

 This of course leads me back to my original question from early on.  As you know and I have demonstrated to you in the past, we have received the documents showing that the NAGB consultants were the architects of the standards framework provided to Texas SBOE. There were handed down to the chairs, first Barbara Cargill, then you, as her successor, through Texas Association of School Administrators.  The documents clearly show that the national standards (which ARE common core, regardless of whether we call them college and career readiness, etc) were backed into our TEKS to structure the framework.  This is federal overreach, plain and simple.

 I can’t find anywhere on record that the SBOE voted to accept or adopt these standards framework. Unfortunately, some of the board members still do not even understand that this is where the framework came from or what the NAEP and NAGB are.  The primary consultants for the math and ELA/R who signed off on the final products, Sybilla Beckmann and Shirley Dickson, while largely unknown to many of our board members, are well know common core promoters and authors.

 With the primary gatekeepers directing me back to the SBOE on these matters, I would again like to ask why Texas is accepting the directive to use the national standards framework instead of fully designing our own?  How are we going to prevent the ELA/R from being convoluted with the concerns that the national standards have generated during this review?  What is the plan for cleansing the math TEKS of these standards and returning to true mathematics?

 I am hopeful that there are more answers available to us than we have witnessed in recent months.  Commissioner Morath has stated that he understands the issues, so I am led to believe that he will support your work in doing what is best for the students and teachers of Texas.  Further, there are parents and teachers lined up that are willing to help where they can.

 I suppose the ultimate question boils down to whether the SBOE really has the power any more to impact this or are you being forced to accept these directives from higher levels of government or administrative offices?

 I appreciate your consideration of these questions and look forward to hearing from you.

 Thank you.

 Kim Belcher