SAVE THE DATE!
Friday, September 23rd
Sadly, We Must Withdraw Endorsement in
the State Board of Education Dist. 9 Race
Smith County, Texas – Today, a majority of the Grassroots America Board of Directors voted to withdraw the organization’s endorsement of Mary Lou Bruner for the SBOE District 9 race.
The original board vote was 8-0 to withdraw the endorsement, with one board member absent. Today’s vote (after attempts failed to have Mrs. Bruner send out a press release/public statement on all four issues listed below), the board vote was four to withdraw the endorsement, three to reduce the endorsement to a recommendation, and two were absent. The rules for endorsement or to change an endorsement status requires seven of nine board members – or a super majority – to agree.
We are all disappointed to have to take the strong measure of withdrawing our endorsement for a candidate. Since the institution of this organization in 2009, we have never had to take such an action; however, this organization requires accountability and personal responsibility from the candidates it endorses. We have always made that abundantly clear.
One of the reasons we endorsed Mrs. Bruner was because of her long years of experience as a teacher. We believe the practical classroom experience of teachers is not respected or valued enough by many public school administrators, trustees, and legislators attempting to “fix” public education. We hoped another teacher’s voice on the State Board of Education would bring common sense, clarity, and expertise on setting school curriculum standards and the adoption of instructional materials.
Unfortunately, once we viewed the raw, unedited video of Mrs. Bruner speaking to Region 7 Superintendents on May 4th and read her written statement, we had no choice but to start the process of reconsidering the endorsement. Some say this is the fault of the media for reporting on it or “blowing it out of proportion.” Some say it is just a “bunch of liberal superintendents who have it in for a conservative.” We disagree…why?
Mrs. Bruner’s written statement and the unedited video are actual records of what Mrs. Bruner said or intended to say, since she was reading from the statement. When she first learned that her statements were in error, she should have immediately sought to make amends and correct the record with accurate and credible sources. A press release sent out to the media and posted on her website and Facebook page would have gone a long way in removing the controversy. Instead, these errors and her silence on correcting the record, has taken the focus off the valuable insights Mrs. Bruner offers as an experienced teacher who really cares about children – all children.
The personal responsibility to correct the record was the candidate’s. We hoped she would issue a press release and post a statement on her website and social media pages to apologize and set the record straight with accurate, sourced information. We asked. Sadly, that did not happen.
We asked Mrs. Bruner to correct these four issues:
- Her special education stats – We asked her to clarify the difference between student population percentages enrolled in special programs and special education and cite her sources.
- The source for all “at risk” or “special programs” student populations is found here: https://rptsvr1.tea.texas.gov/adhocrpt/Standard_Reports.html .
- A source for accurate information on the percentage of public education students in Texas special education is here: http://tea.texas.gov/acctres/enroll_index.html See page 12, enrollment in TX public schools 2014-2015 (the most recent publication): "According to national figures, a smaller percentage of public school students participated in special education programs in Texas (8.7%) than in the United States (12.9%) in 2012-13. Between 2003-04 and 2012-13, the percentage of students participating in special education programs decreased by 3.1 percentage points in Texas and by 0.9 percentage points in the United States."
- Her college readiness stats – We asked her to correct the record using TEA, SAT, and ACT sources. a. The latest data available from the Texas Education Agency showed that 54 percent of students who graduated in 2014 were college-ready — a measurement that takes into account how well students did on state standardized tests, the ACT or the SAT in math and English. Performance on the SAT and ACT in 2015 was even poorer — 34 % of those taking the SAT and 27% of those taking the ACT.
b. A 2015 report from the College Board
indicated that 41.9 percent
of students from this year’s graduating class in the U.S. met the College and Career Readiness Benchmark. In Texas, the figure was well below that at 31.8 percent. Most minority students, as in the past, fell far short of the benchmark. Only 17.6 percent of Hispanic and 13.2 percent of black students in Texas met the college readiness standard. http://www.dallasnews.com/news/education/headlines/20150903-sat-scores-in-texas-plummet-as -more-students-take-exam.ece
These overall student population stats are awful, but higher than 1 in 6 or 16.6% that Mrs. Bruner used.
- We asked her to apologize for citing Lufkin ISD teacher shortage information without making sure it was accurate BEFORE she used it.
- We asked her to set the record straight on which SBOE District 9 Superintendents she had actually met with as a candidate. In the video, Mrs. Bruner said she had met with some superintendents, which they seem to strongly dispute. We believe citing the appointment date, time, and location for each superintendent she met with would have cleared up this matter.
If we expect schools to teach the importance of facts, accuracy, and details and expect teachers to model those values, then candidates for the State Board of Education must demonstrate those values.
We overlooked Mrs. Bruner’s controversial social media posts that occurred before she was a candidate. Many asked us to disavow her then, but we wanted to see how she performed as a candidate, and she has worked very, very hard. That caused some of us to donate to her campaign, but when a candidate will not publicly correct the record when the facts are so easily proven, we have no choice but to act.
We understand there will be mixed reviews of our action. Some will not like it. Some will. Some will be downright angry. We get it, but the bottom line for us is that accountability and personal responsibility must be enforced for all candidates. Conservatives criticize the GOP for not holding its own accountable, while they routinely savage the Democrats. Would we not be guilty of the same if we chose to overlook the four documented issues?
We constantly preach that the rule of law and higher standards must apply to all. That means Democrats, Republicans, and Libertarians et al. That means liberals and conservatives. If you appreciate our holding candidates and officeholders you do not like accountable, then the same must go for those you do.
You must make the choice for yourself when you go to vote. We have provided the source information.
at a new location!
Keynote speaker will be Heritage Foundation Pres. Jim DeMint
“Future of the Conservative Movement”
Grassroots America meets the first and third Friday of each month excluding holidays. If the first or third Friday falls on a holiday weekend, check our events calendar for an alternate Friday meeting date. We meet at 11:30 AM (speaker begins at noon) at the Lakeview Church of the Nazarene, 10818 University Boulevard (Spur 248), Tyler, TX 75707. See our event calendar, by clicking here.
It’s getting to be busy summer time…
filled with family reunions, graduations, vacations & weddings.
To help, we’ll have one planned meeting for the months
of June, July & August.
Please invite others to these great meetings!
Friday, June 17th
Nick Adams - "Political Correctness is making the American Dream
a European Nightmare"
Friday, July 15th
Mayor Martin Heines -JoAnn & Ernie will interview the Mayor..
They’ll talk about a wide variety of topics (budget, half-cent sales
tax plan & a pledge) in an interesting format.
Friday, August 19th Award-winning Sheriff Larry Smith details
and explains his 2017 Sheriff's Office/Jail budget requests
Friday, Sept. 16th
Sen. Don Huffines “Passenger vehicle safety inspections are
more than just a chore — they’re a tax. Let’s get rid of them!”
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