I’m just not sure he gets it completely

Listen in on TribLive and Evan Smith’s interview with TEA Commissioner Michael Williams:


To answer the question of why Exemplary schools spend $1000 more per student than unacceptable schools, Williams says the reason some schools are Exemplary and some are unacceptable is based on the makeup of the students. “It’s not the dollars. It’s the characteristics of the youngsters we’re trying to train.” So….. it’s the dollars.  What am I missing here? It is about Equity across the board.

His “answers“:

  • Closing racial achievement gap. (Me: not a problem schools can solve at home and costs lots of money at schools via individual tutoring, smaller class sizes, special remediation, etc. You cannot catch kids up by pouring them into giant classes and not individualizing their instruction. That’s what the rich kids get on top of pressure from home life to be successful at school.)
  • “Put world class instruction in front of every youngster in every classroom.” (Me: costs money to train/retrain)
  • Early school readiness. (Me: Money!)
  • More time in class and not in AEP. (Me: This is as much a family issue as it is a school issue)
  • “Do more things better/faster/cheaper.” (Me: Really? This is based on his experience from what? Teachers are on burnout mode already. There are only so many hours in the day for so many kids per teacher. Toss on the massive amounts of documentation required for most kids these days, you have to add instructional staff.)


  • gave first speech in 1990 promoting choice
  • developed school choice proposal in 1991
  • “I won’t be promoting choice in the halls of the Capitol.”
  • “We will answer the implementation questions.”
  • On accountability structure for private schools question: “We are not doing any work in the building on school choice.”

“We have TX college readiness scores around 30%.” (Me: Where should this number be and who decides that? Why should every kid be “college ready.” I like the idea of the foundational body of knowledge, but that’s not college ready.)

Williams blames local school districts for too much testing. (Me: To think that benchmarking shouldn’t be a part of state testing shows his lack of understanding of student progress. He also fails to realize that federal law requires regular monitoring of ALL students via probes and benchmarks for RTI identification. Even if he knows it, leaving it out in his comments is tantamount to misrepresentation of the facts.)