The following passage will be permanently on the Reading page elsewhere on this site. It is of importance to anyone with an elementary age child.  If your child has finished the first grade, he/she should be able to read fluently the Sunday papers to you.  All of them.  If that is not the case, you as a parent need to hightail it to the principal's office of your child's school, and demand to see the curriculum being delivered (but not received) by your child.  It is vital to your child's future existence that he/she be able to read!  You have nothing more important that making certain that he/she can. It is the curriculum being delivered that is the problem.  Make certain that your child is taught to read using the phonics method.

The following passage will give you some insight into the problem that we face.  Non-readers are at the root of many of our nation's problems.  When people can't read, they can't think.  It's as simple as that.


A Texas reading tutor relayed this experience:

I am tutoring a second grade boy of a friend of mine. She came to pick him up today for his dad. The boy goes to a school here. He could read NOTHING when he could not pass my 1st grade IRI at the time he came to me for tutoring. He could read all but 2 of the Dolch Sight Words List but missed 28 simple phonics words on my dyslexia test. He is an obvious victim of Guided Reading. He is making fabulous progress with me.

I struck up a conversation with the kindergarten teacher from the school system where this boy attends school. I mentioned that his teacher had taught the bright boy next to nothing in his Guided Reading classroom.

Then she told me something that blew my mind. She said that last year they were told to switch from Saxon Phonics, which they had used very successfully, to the Pinnell and Fountas Guided Reading program. Why on earth would any district with an ounce of common sense switch from Saxon to Guided Reading...

Forgive me, but what on earth is wrong with administrators who would switch from an excellent beginning reading program [Saxon] to the absolutely worst reading program [Guided Reading] ever devised by the mind of man?

I believe there is a Big Conspiracy afoot. Guided Reading is not only a colossal failure; but it is an incredibly expensive failure, sapping schools of funds that could be spent better elsewhere. It, also, fills the remedial reading classes with students who otherwise would not be there - an added enormous expense.

Somebody is using our administrators to subvert good education in our schools. I wish I knew who it was.

  I asked my friend Donna Garner if she had information that would clarify the terms and programs mentioned in this letter.  Here is what she sent:

Guided Reading (by Fontas and Pinnell) is another name for whole language/balanced literacy. This curriculum does not teach children to sound out words phonetically by making sure children can do this automatically and fluently.


It is the fault of SB 6 that was passed by the Texas Legislature 6.27.11. SB 6 opens the door for local administrators to purchase instructional materials with taxpayers' dollars -- instructional materials that have not been approved through the public adoption process -- no chance for the public to read the IM's and testify about the mistakes and concerns found in them.

SB 6 is what opened the door for Guided Reading, CSCOPE, Common Core-compliant IM's to be brought into every public school district in Texas even though the materials are not aligned with the present ELAR/TEKS.

SB 6 contains no penalty that requires that these IM's are aligned with the SBOE-adopted TEKS. SB 6 makes it possible for school districts to purchase technology, layers of techie support, teacher training, etc.

TASA/TASB/Texas Legislature colluded together to put SB 6 in place, and this piece of legislation has carried out the 21st century/transformational/visioning mission which has put data tracking of students/teachers/parents into place in Texas.

The SBOE has no control over the way SB 6 taxpayers' dollars are spent; and even though SB 6 says the IM’s should get students ready for the STAAR/EOC’s (which are aligned with the present TEKS), no administrator has even been penalized for using taxpayers’ dollars to purchase IM's that are totally tied to Common Core, whole language, reform math, and all the rest of the Type #2 philosophy of education.

The SBOE needs to make sure that the TEKS in ELAR, Science, Social Studies, and Math follow the Type #1 parameters (traditional, fact-based, academic, grade-level explicit, grow in depth and complexity from one grade level to the next, and are measurable by largely right or wrong questions).

Next, the Texas Legislature should reword SB 6 so that stiff penalties are put in place for local administrators who willy-nilly spend taxpayers’ dollars on IM’s that do not follow the Type #1 TEKS and that do not get students ready for the Type #1 STAAR/EOC’s.

By doing this, Texas public school students would be protected from the Type #2 constructivist, project-based, group-think, social justice agenda found in so many of the IM’s that are presently saturating Texas’ classrooms. Texas students would be taught Type #1 IM’s such as phonemic awareness, phonics, grammar/usage, printing, cursive, spelling, expository/persuasive writing, research skills, classic literature, the time-tested ways to do math, both sides of scientific theories, historically significant heroes/heroines who have made America great.

Taxpayers need to put pressure on the Texas Legislature to clean up SB 6 by adopting changes that would force administrators to use our hard-earned dollars to purchase Type #1 IM’s that would produce graduates who are well-educated and strong patriotic citizens.

Taxpayers should also require their Texas Legislators to pass legislation that would mandate school board members and administrators to use their own money to join TASA/TASB and to pay their own way to conventions. Texas teachers have to pay their own dues and convention expenses if they want to participate in professional organizations. Why should school board members and administrators be treated any differently?

TASA and TASB use the taxpayers’ dollars paid to them by school board members and administrators to turn right around and hire lobbyists to pressure legislators to raise school taxes. This means that we taxpayers are paying to lobby ourselves!

Before the Texas Legislature meets next spring, we Texans need to make our voices heard. The time is now!

SB 6 – 6.27.11 –

Record vote:

Donna Garner