Sunday, July 15, 2012

Dallas ISD has a new chief academic officer

Dallas ISD has a new chief academic officer

Read this piece and then read these comments by conservative Donna Garner.  It's a lot to digest this Sunday morning, but it explains a lot of why we are where we are in the state of Texas.


“Bad Choice for Dallas ISD”
by Donna Garner

I hate to be the one to burst Dallas taxpayers’ bubble, but Dallas ISD Superintendent Miles’ has just “laid an egg.”  He has named Ann Smisko to be the DISD’s chief academic official at a base salary of $205,000.

Ann Smisko is the person who was responsible for “forcing” the Type #2 Philosophy of Education curriculum standards upon Texas’ public schools in 1997.  


The Type #2 Philosophy of Education was adopted when the July 1997 TEKS [under the well-orchestrated plan set out by Ann Smisko] were passed by the left-leaning State Board of Education (SBOE). These TEKS opened the door for the social justice agenda to inundate our public schools.

Type #2 Philosophy of Education: Project-based, subjective (emphasize cognitive domain – beliefs, opinions, emotions), subjectively assessed based upon value system of evaluator, multiculturalism, political correctness, environmental extremism, diversity, social justice agenda — These standards are built backwards from Grade 12 on down – and are taught mostly using the constructivist (project-based) approach.

At the Texas Education Agency under Commissioner of Education Mike Moses, Ann Smisko was the person who teamed up with the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) led by Marc Tucker, Hillary Clinton, Ira Magaziner, and Gov. Cuomo to move our country’s public schools from knowledge-based, academic skills (i.e., Type #1 Philosophy of Education) INTO what has now inundated our schools with the “the social justice agenda” (i.e., Type #2 Philosophy of Education).   

Every Texan should hold Ann Smisko responsible for the dumbing down of our Texas schools during these last 15 years. It was she and those working with her who “abused” millions of Texas public school children by destroying their chances to be successful readers, writers, spellers, and math/science students.  


Type #1 Philosophy of Education: Knowledge-based, academic, clearly worded, grade-level-specific content that is tested largely through objectively scored tests — These standards are built from the lowest grade to the highest — Pre-K through Grade 12 — and are taught mostly through direct, systematic instruction.

Type #1 standards could be referred to as the traditional method – the method of teaching that people approximately 50 years old and older experienced when they were in school – phonics, grammar, correct usage/spelling, cursive penmanship, classical literature, expository/persuasive/research writing, the four math functions taught to automaticity, U. S. History, World History, fact-based science, etc.

We Texas classroom teachers wrote the Texas Alternative Document (TAD) for English / Language Arts / Reading (ELAR) in 1997. This was based upon Type #1 and was an alternative to the one that the Texas Education Agency [with Ann Smisko in charge] and the left-leaning SBOE members were ruthlessly pushing through (Type #2).

During this period of time in the late 90’s, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) was under the authority of Mike Moses as Commissioner of Education [and Ann Smisko over the development of the new TEKS curriculum standards and TAKS tests).  Governor George W. Bush had brought Karl Rove into the mix to silence our TAD efforts for political reasons because Gov. Bush was running for the Presidency and did not want any controversy to sideline his campaign.

Our Texas Alternative Document (TAD) for ELAR followed the Type #1 philosophy and would have set a precedent for the rest of the other core curriculum courses if the TAD had been adopted.

Because Texas was (and still is) the largest purchaser of textbooks, the new curriculum standards as set forth in the TAD could have impacted what was implemented into textbooks throughout the country.  

However, because of the politics of the moment [orchestrated in part by Ann Smisko], the TAD was not adopted in July 1997; and Type #2 Philosophy of Education was implemented instead throughout our Texas public schools for the last 15 years.

It was Type #2 which prevailed in our Texas public schools until May 2008 at which time the voters had finally elected enough conservative SBOE members to adopt brand new ELAR curriculum standards (TEKS) that follow Type #1.

Since then, Texas has adopted Type #1 Science, Social Studies, and Math TEKS; and now new instructional materials (i.e., textbooks) and the new STAAR/EOC tests are required to be built upon Type #1.

The problem is that changing a monolithic institution such as all the public schools in Texas from Type #2 to Type #1 takes time.  It also takes money because new Type #1 instructional materials and tests have to be implemented from K-12. 

The new ELAR curriculum standards were adopted in May 2008, but most teachers did not pay any attention to the new standards until it came time for the students to take the new STAAR-EOC tests this spring.

To view the new Type #1 STAAR/EOC tests through the eyes of two Texas public school students, please go to the following article published on 3.29.12: “STAAR-EOC Tests: Picking Alpha’s and Beta’s Brains” --

Ann Smisko is not a good choice for the DISD superintendent to make because her philosophy of education is completely at odds with the one that the Texas State Board of Education and the new STAAR-EOC’s represent.

To read more about Texas education and how the two philosophies of education impact every public school student in this state, please read the following:

5.30.12 -- “The Gathering Storm in Education” - by Donna Garner --


5.13.12 -- “Texans: Must Keep STAAR/End-of-Course Tests on Schedule” -- by Donna Garner --


3.26.12 -- “Two Education Philosophies with Two Different Goals” -- by Donna Garner --


  1. Angela,
    This helps explain the GOP party platform statement against higher order thinking. Yes there is such a platform statement. Go to and download the 2012 GOP Party Platform. Then in the middle of page 12 in the pdf copy of the Platform you find this:
    "Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority."

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