Thursday, February 23, 2012

Five Current State Board of Education Members Endorse Marty Rowley

Five Current State Board of Education Members 

Amarillo Mediator and former Pastor Marty Rowley, Conservative Republican candidate for State Board of Education District 15, released an impressive list of SBOE endorsements today including former Chairman Gail Lowe, Ken Mercer, Terri Leo, Current Chairman Barbara Cargill and Charlie Garza.

“Marty Rowley will strongly support the conservative values of West Texas voters. He would be a welcomed addition to the State Board of Education, and I look forward to working with him.” - Gail Lowe, former Chairman of the State Board of Education
"Without any hesitation, I endorse Marty Rowley.  Marty is the proven conservative who will best represent the solid family values of West Texas!" - Ken Mercer, State Board of Education and former Texas State Representative

“Marty Rowley’s principled leadership in the business world and in his community will make him a valuable member of the SBOE.  I look forward to working with him on the board.” – Barbara Cargill, Current State Board of Education Chairman

“As a retired Navy veteran and current school administrator I have dedicated my life to support and defend the principles that made this country great.  I have had the opportunity to meet and speak to both candidates for the SBOE District 15 vacant seat and I can state unequivocally that Marty Rowley brings to the table a conservative ideology grounded in the Constitution and a passion for ensuring student success.   I am confident that he will be a strong student advocate as we move forward to meet the needs of America and Texas well into the 21st century.” - Charlie Garza

Commenting on the endorsements, Rowley said, “I am honored to have received the broad base of support that so many current members of the SBOE have given our campaign. From former State Representatives currently serving on the SBOE to former and current Chairmen, their endorsements send a strong message. They want me to serve with them on the State Board because they understand my commitment to letting teachers teach and students learn and they share my conservative West Texas family values.” 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Evolution Revolution

 Evolution in Schools

This past week, I was on conservative talk show host Jason Moore’s radio show (aka “Captain Watchdog”) during which he had a call in guest from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.  The Fordham Institute is an east coast think tank that recently graded the science curricula of all fifty states.  They gave Texas’ standards a “C”. 

Aside from the fact that only 4 states got an A or B, and 36 states got a C like us, this Fordham rep finally admitted to Jason and me that we got a C because we did not mention the word “evolution” often enough in our K through 8 standards.  Now mind you, we got a 5 out of 7 for rigor, so our standards are sufficiently high, but we got downgraded to a C because we had the audacity to allow Texas schoolchildren to look at evolution as a theory instead of an indisputable fact.  She also said that teaching any other theory on the origin of man, i.e., creationism or intelligent design, would have resulted in us getting a failing grade. 
 So, while I don’t dispute that evolution should be taught to Texas schoolchildren, which our science curriculum apparently adequately does, I believe it is a theory, and nothing more than a theory.  And if we want to turn out thinking, analytical Texas graduates, they should be allowed to view evolution in the light of the strengths and weaknesses it possesses.  I say, let’s teach scientific theories, including evolution, let them stand on their own merit, and let our students make their own well-reasoned decisions as to what they believe to be the truth.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Technology in the Classroom: A Reflection on the Texas Long-Range Plan for Technology

The following is a guest post from Jeremy Viermann, a school teacher in the Canyon Texas ISD. He gives great insight into how students and teachers experience technology in the classroom 


"As students who have grown up with technology enter Texas classrooms, it is essential that all professional educators acknowledge that the world in which they live today, and the world that their students will enter as adults, is radically different from what existed in even the fairly recent past. Teachers must be able to prepare students for their future in a manner that assures that all students will not simply survive, but truly thrive in the world that awaits them."
-An exerpt from the Texas Long-Range Plan for Technology. (

The vision set forth by the Texas Education Agency tells us that Texas teachers should be trained experts in the fields of technology so that Texas students will be college and career-ready individuals by the time they graduate from high school.  Data shows us that students have more access to technology than ever before.  Most homes have internet access.  Many students across the state have internet access literally in the palm of their hands through smart devices such as iPhones.  At the very least, school computer labs and public libraries provide every student with at least some level of connectivty.  Teachers should model this technology use in connected classrooms through interactive lessons and activities.  Students need to be exposed to the productive potential of technology, rather than simply being mere participants in the online social world.  The internet is a great place to find information on literally any topic imaginable, and the social networking skills that students develop on their own can be a great avenue into becoming productive and collaborative members of the workforce.

It's vital for our students that teachers provide extensive exposure to a vast area of technological outlets.  Students need to learn how to research on their own.  They need to learn how to collaborate, both personally and remotely.  They need to be able to organize their data and present their findings.  Technology provides ways for students to do this like never before.

Teachers need to be trained in order to properly guide the technological learning of students.  What's the best way to find reliable information online?  How do you safely search the internet, while avoiding websites that may compromise privacy or websites that contain viruses?  How do you cite internet sources when you present research?  How can I display the results of my findings in an attractive way that's presentable to my audience?  What is the proper way to conduct online communication?  These are issues that our workforce faces on a daily basis.  In order for teachers to prepare students to enter this workforce, teachers themselves need the answers to these questions.

On a side note (and in closing)..I think technology is an amazing tool.  So my question, to the State of Texas, is this: why can't my students use it?  My students can do amazing things with technology.  But, when it's all said and done, everyone of my kids will have to sit down at a desk in April, enclosed by carboard partition, with nothing but a pencil and a scantron.  On that day, they have to tell you everything they've learned.  No internet, no smart phone apps, not even a calculator.  Just a pencil and a scantron.  That's how you judge them.  And, ultimately, that's how you judge me.  Now, I'm not suggesting that the TAKS test or the STAAR test will ever be a collaborative, group effort.  But why not connect the academic knowledge that I'm teaching with the technology tools that they have at their disposal?  You'll never get a clear picture of what my students can do from a scantron.  Let them show you what they can do.      


You can see more Blog Posts from Jeremy at 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012