From Kim Belcher Gutierrez
To pathardy2008, phardy
Cc donna.bahorich, tincymiller35, kbamercer, lallen1, marisa.perez, martha.dominguez, marty, ruben.cortez, smelton51, thomas, tom, sboecargill, david.bradley, EBeltranSBOE
Good morning, Ms. Hardy.
I finally had time to sit down and watch the entirety of the math discussion from the last board meeting. I must say that your constituents should be appalled at your attitude toward taking on what is difficult and daunting.  “The can of worms” that you referred to is damaging Texas children and hindering their futures.
While Mr. Houchins, Mr. Pendergraff, Mrs. Hines and Mr. Remy have had the opportunity to come forward to the board meetings more so than other parents throughout the State, there are parents from every corner of Texas that are concerned by the current state of math in our public schools and charters or privates that are impacted by the state and federal mandates.  Please recall the petition that was sent to Donna Bahorich and the other board members in June of this year with over 600 signatures from around the State asking for repeal and replacement of these bad TEKS.  The comments were explicit and there is no question that there is a problem in the final product of public schools… the academic education of our kids.
I still do not think that you fully understand where the framework for the TEKS was developed.  The board and those two hundred teachers did not develop the framework.  The CCSSI template standards were immersed into our TEKS, convoluting traditional teaching of the fundamentals of mathematics.  The “experts” that continue to be invited to come before you as panelists are all benefiting financially from these common core standards as they sell products and services for teacher or “professional development.”  They do not have an unbiased interest for supporting these corrupt TEKS.
Dr. Milgram has researched common core implementation around the country, well documenting the harm that it is causing students in mathematic literacy.  In fact, in his “The July Revisions of the Texas Math Standards” summary to you and your colleagues, he stated, “Overall, I find these standards very disappointing, and feel that there are sufficient problems with them that the best course would be simply to adopt the new Core standards, which in spite of their many problems, are far better and much more mathematically literate and coherent than this document.”
While there is no available independent, peer reviewed research to show any correlation to improved academic literacy in math using common core standards, there is sufficient international evidence to show that many major parts of the standards do not work. Further, in Dr. Milgram’s own work, he concluded that students exposed to these poor standards are unable to be fully remediated to learn real math after three years’ exposure.
There is ample evidence around the country to show that other states that have gone before us recognize the problems that are inherent with the core standards.  We are trying to re-invent the wheel for something that is already proving to fail around the nation.  Meanwhile, you are perturbed that you have to keep seeing this on the Texas agenda. We are on the ground, in the schools.  We see what it is doing to students and teachers. Our Texas kids are under educated, not just in math, but in reading and writing, as well.  Your negligence in acting swiftly is harming our kids.  Where do they find remedy for having their educations stolen from them?
One last thought… the reasons we are stuck with these crappy standards are the NCLB/ESEA waivers.  Has any one on the board considered looking at how we can work with the legislature (& or Congress) to get relief from the standards portion of the waiver?  Is anyone in the SBOE, legislature or state executive branch having conversations on how to get away from federal money & strings in education?   Has anyone on the board approached the attorney general to ask for legal means to restore Texas’ rights to develop its own standards and move us away from this big fed ed?  I suspect those conversations regarding fed dollars occur and they get handled in the same manner that you approached the last meeting… not wanting to open the can of worms.  It is time to bust open the can of worms, ma’am.  The future of our kids and our state depend upon it.
I encourage you to look through the list of signatures on the June petition that was sent to you and see how many of those people are your constituents.  I will be scanning the list for them and making contact to ensure that they see your unbelievable remarks from the last meeting.  Recognizing the tremendous problems that the Math TEKS have caused, why would you be in such a hurry to run through the other subjects again?  You said yourself that you have been on the board a long time.  If you are tired of going through these iterations to get the work right, perhaps it is time for you to find some place else to volunteer your time and let someone else have a shot at your seat that doesn’t mind being bothered to save the future of education for Texas kids.
Good day.
Kim Belcher Gutierrez
Resources you should consider: