Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Fired TYC teacher claims she was told "just check the boxes and give them credits"

A Texas Youth Commission teacher fired last week from the Evins unit in Edinburgh spoke out anonymously over the weekend to a South Texas TV station, alleging she was terminated for whistleblowing. She
says students are not getting the class time they need.

"If there's a little problem, the whole room goes back to the dorm," she explained, "if there's one or two problems, everyone is punished not just the child inciting the trouble."

Despite those hours missed in the classroom, she says students are getting credit for hours they have not studied. "We were being asked to just check the boxes and give them credits," she said.

She tells us under the TYC scale, ten hours in the classroom equals three months of work. Its a tragedy that she worries not only affects the students, but wastes taxpayer dollars and ultimately makes our streets more dangerous.

"In the end the community is going to suffer, because they're going to turn to be adult criminals," said the former teacher.

The woman says she was punished for encouraging the boys to learn, getting creative and stepping out of the box in her lessons. And she's coming forward now, not only because she was fired, but also for her students. "I feel like I'm also their mother, their nurse, their teacher and yes, I would step out of the box again," she said.
Can anybody tell me more about this policy that ten hours of class equals three months of class work? For you TYC teachers who read Grits, is it true you've been pressured to "just check the boxes and give them credits"? Is that the case at other facilities? And if true, is that something that's been going on for a long time, or is it a new development?

Terminating a teacher with a good record for complaining about such deficiencies is equally disturbing, if that's really how it went down. Obviously there's a lot we don't know about this case, but the TV station reported that her last employee evaluation praised her, declaring the "teacher diligently works with students, engaging them in successful learning." So apparently the firing wasn't over job performance.

Because of the anonymity of the teacher and the lack of more specificity about her complaints, this news item raises more questions for me than it answers. But it certainly raises quite a few serious questions.

UPDATE: In other TYC news, a former TYC JCO at Brownwood was indicted for having sex with an inmate, AP reports today. He's been on paid suspension since Feb. 24, the article declares, and Friday TYC suspended him without pay pending his termination. That seems odd to me given how many people have been fired outright for much less serious reasons. This is "the fifth former guard at the Brownwood facility to face felony charges" since the West Texas scandal broke this spring, AP reports.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if that occurred and was just isolated to the Evins unit. I know there' a lot of cut throat vindictive employees out there and that's been the case for years. Nonetheless, the Evins facility has been a thorn in this agency's side since it expanded. If this turns out true, then I certainly think some consideration should be given to shutting down that facility given it's track record over the past 10 years. The escapes, the drugs brought in, the numerous riots, the DOJ investigation, well, enough is enough.

Anonymous said...

Staff whistleblowers have always played an important role in TYC's history, and have always suffered reprisals. It seems to me there are two problems here:

1. The state government as a whole, including the governor, the legislature, and TYC, have done nothing, zilch, to restore the public's faith in the agency. Given the steps that have been taken toward further prisonization, and the secrecy in which they have been carried out, why wouldn't the presumption be on the side of this teacher? In other words, why shouldn't our automatic reaction be to believe her until proven otherwise? The burden of proof should be on TYC.

(Did anyone notice that TYC's spokesman didn't really dismiss the teacher's allegations?)

Why shouldn't we believe what she says, in other words?

2. In the past, staff whistleblowers could count on finding someone in government who was willing to take up their cause, to take their claims seriously. In the late 1940s, it was Governor Beauford Jester; in the late 1960s, it was a few members of the legislature, esp Curtis Graves of Houston and Vernon Stewart of Wichita Falls; in the 70s, it was federal judge William Wayne Justice, and the federal DOJ.

In each of those instances, powerful government officials also resisted change. I have to admit that I'm a little pessimistic right now about who in government will really go to bat here.

We now know that Perry, Abbott, and the Bush-Gonzales DOJ sat on the abuse information for years.

While the legislature did act, they clearly went home prematurely, some claiming to have "fixed" TYC.

All of the above players share responsibility for the current TYC administration and its decisions. Pols don't like to admit when they screw up, but the sunset review may provide the opportunity for a do-over.

That, and the continued flow of really bad news, convinces me that we are still really only at the beginning of this story, despite everything that has already happened.

Bill Bush, UNLV

Anonymous said...

Bill Bush: you left off one name in leaders that would listen in the 70's. Then AG Hill not only listend, he went to Judge Justice and said we were wrong, but we cannot fix this overnight. Justice listened, as did the plaintiffs and the next 13 years were a joing response... the most obvious outcome was a budget moving from the neighborhood of $4m to $254m. Of interest, Neil Nichols was with the plaintiffs at the time. Seems we have run out of honorable men/women being elected; don't know if it is the fault of the politicians or the electorate; do know it is the responsibility of the voters to change it.

Anonymous said...

When I was with TYC it always amazed me how a student could be incarcerated for a year and only earn 1/2 a credit but then barely a few months after being transferred to another facility the same student would somehow have accumulated 5 or 6 credits.

The main problem is all the facility schools are run as their principal sees fit. Some place all the emphasis on GEDs ,some focus on vocational training, and others rely on "packet work" or computer-based curriculums for credit recovery.

Overall, I'd be inclined to believe the teacher. A directive to "just check the boxes" is the type of leadership that drove me to quit.

I don't have all the answers but I will say this: So long as TYC facilities are scattered around the state and subject to only minimal, usually only annual, audits and oversight then each facility will naturally develop its own culture and norms. The model doesn't really work but I'll be damned if have a solution.

Right now TYC is a disgrace and a joke. The damage being done to the youth today is something all citizens are going to end up paying for sometime in the future.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Im glad she did what she did. More should do that and lets get rid of the bad. Go for it

Me said...

Some people have made some very accurate observations here. TYC does have some cultural problems. Twin units on the same campus can have as varying rules and expectations for students as Evins (Edinburgh) and Al Price (Beaumont) do. Both units prove that the urban experiment will not work. Both units employ the available labor, in many cases members of the same gangs as the students.

The real issue is intimidation in these urban areas. These gangsters can and will use every form of intimidation to get their members out and back on the streets selling drugs, extorting protection from the neighborhoods.

What has happened at Evins, in the past, because the current educational leadership is attempting to move the educational expectations up a notch at Evins, is the former leadership was intimidated by the community and invented this idea that 10 hours of instruction equals 10 months.

There is nothing in TYC policy, GAP, EDU, PRS, or any other policy dictating this. Some hotshot principal decided this, probably under the shadow of Gradyne Sennett, that this was a great idea.

nurit said...

Ten hours in class does not equal 10 months of instruction...I have no idea where this notion came from! "Just check the boxes" is what some of TYC's teachers do rather than accurately assess the youth's progress in a course. As to suddenly gaining a large number of credits, well that simply means that the teacher has not been turning in credits as the youth earns them. So the teacher isn't following best practices in teaching and awarding credit, the principal isn't following best practices in not holding teachers accountable or checking on award of credit. This is an area that TYC has been trying to correct for many years and is raising the expectations for teachers and administrators more and more. As for speculation on why the teacher was fired, speculate away, but it might be because she did not follow policy or that she treated the youth or fellow staff in an unprofessional manner, or any number of things.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Nurit, are there any incentives that might cause TYC supervisors to pressure teachers to claim better results than they're getting, perhaps to show better numbers to the CO? I think that's the allegation she was making about 'just check the boxes'. Speaking of which, do you believe teachers who do that are acting on their own because they're not doing their jobs, or do their supervisors pressure them to make the numbers look better?

Also Dr. Bush asks, "Why shouldn't we believe what she says?" I think the answer is that when a disgruntled fired employee speaks out anonymously, we cannot know what motivates the statements or what role the employee's own actions might have played in what went down. I see this as an important red flag that we shouldn't ignore, but neither, I think, should every anonymous allegation be automatically believed. It's a tough line to draw, but over the years I've seen enough "confirmed" rumors turn out to be untrue that I think it's worth reserving a shade of skepticism until we have more facts. best,

Anonymous said...

TYC policy was that youth were to receive the seven hour school day, which includes an hour for lunch and an hour for PE. That requirement was necessary to receive Foundation School monies. I believe I wrote the legal memo on that three years ago and there was a lot of discussion at the time. No one in the Central Office would condone the type of of educational approach described by the teacher. If that was happening it was a local action, not a TYC authorized policy. Additionally, TYC should not have received Foundation School monies on youth who were so educated.

Howard A. Hickman

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the AISD cheating scandal a few years back doesn't it?

No doubt the TEA in conjunction with TYC's IOG needs to investigate this issue. This is not the way to "leave no child behind."

Anonymous said...

Oh how I wish I had the guts to say what I want to say about all of this.

But do you think it is fair for the kids in the public schools that they most of the time , have to attend school for 9 months to recieve credits for courses. Sure there are 1/2 credit courses that student will get at mid-term, which takes them about 4.5 months to get. But TYC kids can rush thru these credits in 60-90 days. Most complete them before 90 days.
As as far as that teacher goes, my money is on her! She is not disgruntled.
On the side of teachers. Have you tried teaching 15-20 kids in a class and all of them are on different grade levels and several subject areas going on at the same time. Lets not forget the non-readers, low-readers, Special Needs students in there also. One teacher may teach History and in that history class there will be government , Texas History, US History, Geography, Econmics all in the same class period. This situation goes for all core subject matters. Now tell me if you can give those students a well rounded education in a mess like that. In that room is one teacher and she 99% of the time has no help at all from Teacher Aides or any other staff. What is she to do with little Johnny who can not read cat, but is expected to do the work assigned to him/her. Not CO problem or the principals its the teachers problem and the students.
Now lets not forget all the ards, paper work, pat reports, STP's and testing that CO wants from you and you better be current on it.
On top of all that you have behaviors to deal with, fighting, those who refuse to work, cursing you, so forth. I think you get the picture.
Most of the time education

Anonymous said...

Whoops, it got cut off. Sorry.

Most of the time education is looked down on by others that work there and what ever else the kid needs to do that day is more important than education. For instance if the kid is taking a taks test , he can be pulled out of the testing to go to operations, infirmary(sick call) and so forth. He can not come back and finish the test. Its over with at the point he leaves the room.
It is not Education, Teachers , fault that things like this teacher said happen it's the way TYC is ran. Now, if she was just clicking those boxes that is her call, she could have refused in the name of her certification that was on the line and reported it to TEA. She would have been fired immediatly for doing that and she knew it.

Anonymous said...

Um, so where do you work, 6:17/7:11?

1:57, The reason there are gang members employed in JCO positions at Evins and Al Price is because of the low qualifications for the job. If TYC raised the education, experience, salaries, and thus the expectations, for the direct care positions then it would be able to hire the right folks and would be able to immediately fire anyone who is gang affiliated and involved with the students. This issue is just emphasized in urban areas where, when you have a low-skill opening, gang members are around, qualified, and have an incentive to apply.

Anonymous said...

We used to have a lot of "retired on active duty" teachers in TYC. (There used to be a big advantage in doing your last 3 years in ERS instead of TRS). They wanted to work a 6 hour day, they had 5-6 kids in a classroom, a JCO staff standing in class, or just outside in the hall. They did not handle classroom discipline, that was for the JCO, whom they treated like pound-scum. When there was unrest on campus, the teachers treated it like a day off, instead of going to the dorms to help out. Then we got a Supt. of Education who started demanding that teachers do their jobs and actually teach.

They still don't have to do many of the things that are required of public school teachers, such as work at ballgames, attend PTO, chaparone dances, or grade homework.

Some of them do a marvelous job of bring education to kids who have never had any success in school before. In my first 10 years, exactly one kid got a high school diploma; now twice a year it is not unusual to have 5 or 6 get their diplomas along with 20 or so getting their GED. Those dedicated teachers who achieved that have my undying admiration. As for the few whiners and complainers we still have around - well they exist in every profession.

Having said all that, I have some sympathy for the teachers at Evins. I have been there. You cannot teach if you do not have some semblance of order, and if the kids do not feel safe. TYC ought to just make an outright gift of that place to Hildalgo County. Don't let Judge Evins fool you when he says he doesn't have any political clout anymore. He is the Patron,(with accent over the o) make no doubt about it.
Old Salty

Anonymous said...

If the Brownwood JCO was suspended with pay since 2/24, why wasn't he fired when employment at will took effect on 6/8? Even under the old administration, he would have been fired long before 6/8. Was he a former TDCJ employee?

Anonymous said...

This is for Howard A Hickman. First of all I am so glad to see that you can boldly put your name out there. I feel like I am on board the Titanic and this is in spite of the fact that I know how that story ends. Damn there was even a movie about it. I do not see an end to this saga until this whole ship of TYC sinks.

I think you did a great job at TYC and were a remarkable talent.

Anyway, we do not have capable leadership at this time. I think they all operate under delusions of grandeur. They have to support their narcissism and delusions. I am quite certain they willing to let a few people lose their jobs and careers. At this point, I am trying to figure out what to do myself. At times it seems a corner with a cardboard sign is the better option. That way if someone is delusional at least you would expect it, and enjoy it. But in State Government?? OK so now I am operating under some kind of delusion. The system is tanking.

I call on Grits, Bill Bush, Eric Dexheimer, Islea Guiterrez and others to keep up the questions.


nurit said...

There are no incentives for giving credits when not earned. It is not a legislative measure. The problem seems to have arisen out of the line of supervision being to the local authority and not the superintendent of education, as it would be in any public school district. This is being remedied. Teachers and principals alike do not keep accurate documentation of what happens in class. The youth complaints that they receive worksheets as their individualized instruction has validity.

Anonymous said...

7:11, I don't know where you teach, but it sounds SO FAMILIAR... I probably know you. You brought up some excellent points that I'd like to add to.

First of all, I would love to "actually teach" as Old Salty pointed out at 8:23, but as 7:11 mentioned, we teach on multi-levels. We have low readers, high-level readers and everything in between. We also have non-readers, ESL, learning disabled, behaviorally challenged, and many, many, unmedicated cases of hyperactivity and ADD. If you try to "actually teach" a lesson to the entire class, the kids are one of two things: totally lost, or totally bored. Believe me, I've tried. With so many levels of needy students in the classroom, we are not traditional teachers... we are glorified tutors, special needs assessors, counselors, and yes, at times babysitters.

What needs to be realized by non-education staff, especially JCO's in the classroom, is that we are required to provide each student with the level of education they come to us with...which is more often than not, far below grade level, and with other issues attached. Sound like fun? It can be, and I love doing it, but there is more to it than you might think.

We also have a ball and chain connected to us...it's called a computer. It is a tremendous burden. There are too many things to mention, so let me just say that an unbelievable amount of our paperwork is in the form of electronic documentation... around 75 plus emails a day for starters, and I'll do you a huge favor by not boring you with the rest.

Old Salty, I have a huge amount of respect for the JCO's, so you will never catch me treating JCO's like pond scum. I am sorry that someone made you feel that way...it's NOT right to treat someone- anyone- in a subservient manner.

We do what we have to do for each kid as an army of one, so it isn't ANYTHING at all like public school. There are just too many variables.

Anonymous said...

I have much experience in TYC. I am now back in public education. For the most part teachers in TYC are miracle workers. They take a surly 16 year old youth who is reading on the third grade level and 10 months later get him/her to pass a GED. If that isn't a miracle, what is?

Since TYC was stuffed into the whitmire, out beyond the quagmire, this past spring I have felt nothing but shame about the state legislature. While it is true that the Pyote school has had its share of problems, it is also true that very few units have had the small number of problems that Marlin and the San Saba unit have had.

What we have seen this spring with relation to TYC is a legislature that knows nothing trying to solve everything with incompetence on every side.

Anonymous said...

Could it be that this teacher IS a disgruntled employee (and who is to say she is not?) and was possibly fired maybe not for job performance issues but violations in policy that affect her reputation and the way she is seen by the students and other employees.( which did eventually affect her job performance) It's safe to say there are two completely different sides of this story and this teacher went too far outside of the box in trying to "teach" these students.
Did anyone catch the dates on this job performance evaluation? Could it be she was praised in the past but began to lose her touch and sanity towards the end of her career at Evins which she took out in her class..?? Just a lot of missing details and loose ends.
Maybe her allegations are not all completly made up and she does have some justification for some of these things however in the end this is all hear say. Show me facts!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Howard, or anyone who knows, I'm curious about the Foundation School monies. I don't know about that. Are there performance measures attached to it, who controls it, under what circumstances would it not be distributed, etc.?

Anonymous said...


TYC is unique in that it is not required to follow any TEA guidelines. Generally it will. Foundation School monies are a function of average daily attendance. To get paid for a full school day, one has to provide a full seven hour education day. If memory serves me correctly, one has to provide four hours to get half a day. Less than that and one does not receive any monies.

Howard A. Hickman

Anonymous said...

As Howard well knows (and noted), even in the good old days, TYC only follows TEA when it is convenient. A few years ago, they posted Educational Diagnostician openings. Psychologists with LSSP (school psychs)licenses would qualify with 4 or 5 years experience. When the first of several applied and learned he would get a significant raise..that is until he quit is old job (as did his wife), sold his home and moved to the new location.... only to find out there had been an "error." Seems, although many of the principals wanted LSSP's for certifying Emtionally Disturbed and working alternative education plans, the LSSP's would not credit for their experience, even the 4-5 years required for the job. What might have predicted it was Dr. Reyes sending out an attorney's opinion that TYC wasn't really a school distict, so it didn't have to meet TEA standards (e.g. having ED certified by an LSSP or Psychiatrist. The strange part was that many then TYC psychs were getting their LSSP licenses based all or in part on TYC as their school experience. (and Dr. Reyes was one of the good guys)

nurit said...

Foundation School Monies is a term applied to the tax base for funding educational programs. "The basic allotment shall be $2,387 per student in average daily attendance as defined in Texas Education Code, §42.101."

TAC19.129.21 (h) A student must be enrolled for at least two hours to be considered in membership for half-day, and for at least four hours to be considered in membership for one full day.

Pertaining to TYC education programs:

TAC37.91.41 (c) Institutions.

(1) TYC schools are accredited under the provisions of the Texas Education Code, Chapter 30, Subchapter E.

(2) Educational programs will comply with applicable federal and state requirements.

(5) The school schedule will include a minimum of seven (7) hours of instruction daily, including intermissions and recesses, according to the school calendar established annually by the central office education department. Four (4) of the seven (7) hours must be in core curriculum areas. The superintendent of education may grant waivers for less than seven (7) hours, but not less than four (4) hours, of school.

nurit said...

A little more light reading from the Texas Education Code.


§ 30.101. PURPOSE. The purpose of this subchapter is to
provide the state available school fund apportionment to children
committed to the Texas Youth Commission. To provide the state
available school fund apportionment for educational purposes, the
educational programs provided to those children are considered to
be educational services provided by public schools.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, § 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

§ 30.102. ALLOCATION. (a) The Texas Youth Commission is
entitled to receive the state available school fund apportionment
based on the average daily attendance in the commission's
educational programs of students who are at least three years of age
and not older than 21 years of age.
(a-1) Expired.
(b) A classroom teacher, full-time librarian, full-time
counselor certified under Subchapter B, Chapter 21, or full-time
school nurse employed by the commission is entitled to receive as a
minimum salary the monthly salary specified by Section 21.402. A
classroom teacher, full-time librarian, full-time counselor, or
full-time school nurse may be paid, from funds appropriated to the
commission, a salary in excess of the minimum specified by that
section, but the salary may not exceed the rate of pay for a similar
position in the public schools of an adjacent school district.
(b-1) Expired.
(c) The commissioner, with the assistance of the
comptroller, shall determine the amount that the commission would
have received from the available school fund if Chapter 28, Acts of
the 68th Legislature, 2nd Called Session, 1984, had not transferred
statutorily dedicated taxes from the available school fund to the
foundation school fund. That amount, minus any amount the schools
do receive from the available school fund, shall be set apart as a
separate account in the foundation school fund and appropriated to
the commission for educational purposes.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, § 1, eff. May 30, 1995.
Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 396, § 1.33, eff. Sept. 1,

Commission with the assistance of the Texas Workforce Commission
and the Texas Workforce Investment Council shall by rule adopt a
memorandum of understanding that establishes the respective
responsibility of those entities to provide through local workforce
development boards job training and employment assistance programs
to children committed or formerly sentenced to the Texas Youth
Commission. The Texas Youth Commission shall coordinate the
development of the memorandum of understanding and include in its
annual report information describing the number of children in the
preceding year receiving services under the memorandum.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, § 1, eff. May 30, 1995.
Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 817, § 10.01, eff. Sept. 1,
2003; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 818, § 6.02, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA AND CERTIFICATE. (a) A school district shall
grant to a student credit toward the academic course requirements
for high school graduation for courses the student successfully
completes in Texas Youth Commission educational programs.
(b) A student may graduate and receive a diploma from a
Texas Youth Commission educational program if:
(1) the student successfully completes the curriculum
requirements identified by the State Board of Education under
Section 28.025(a) and complies with Section 39.025; or
(2) the student successfully completes the curriculum
requirements under Section 28.025(a) as modified by an
individualized education program developed under Section 29.005.
(c) A Texas Youth Commission educational program may issue a
certificate of course-work completion to a student who successfully
completes the curriculum requirements identified by the State Board
of Education under Section 28.025(a) but who fails to comply with
Section 39.025.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 283, § 42, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.
Amended by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., ch. 164, § 5, eff. May 27, 2005.

All of this legalese means that the TYC follows the same rules as public schools but the staffing of the schools and local operational procedures fall under the auspices of TYC rather than TEA. TEA does not monitor our programs and our students' performance on statewide assessments is not considered in the calculation of "adequate yearly progress." TYC has its own accountability measures that are reported to the state legislature and the federal government for Title funds received. Verification of attendance is reported to TEA for receipt of Foundation School Funds.

Anonymous said...


I'm just speaking for myself here but I beg you to STOP with all the legal cut & paste action. If I want to bore myself to tears reading the TEC I have the brains to Google & find it. You've got to be a CO Ph.D if you believe you're impressing anybody.

nurit said...

5:59, Such outrage over quoting the source! All the speculation and opinion about whether or not TYC has to follow TEA guidelines, etc, has an easily attainable answer. I've saved you the trouble of looking it up! The choice is yours whether to read it or not...something God blessed us with! And may God bless you with peace of mind...

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Actually I appreciate the cites, Nurit, having asked for more information. Everyone who always says 'follow the money,' well, this is one of those big ol' honeypots. best,

Anonymous said...


I stand humbled and corrected in the face of your obvious superiority. Thank-you ever so much for saving me the trouble of having to look something up. May God Bless You, too. I'm signing off to go look for my Peace (or maybe Piece) Of Mind...

nurit said...

6:29, I shall never be superior to one who is able to humble himself as you do...vaya con dio!

Anonymous said...


Unlike 5:59 and 6:29, I found it very interesting, and I appreciate you putting it here. It is a convenience, for those of us who are interested, but it isn't mandatory that everyone read it. Also unlike 5:59 and 6:29, I have the brains to use a scroll button.

I can beat Grits tagging! said...

Lets poll them.

How many of you believe:

a) Teachers should be hired by TYC and operate as is, or

b) TYC teachers should be staffed by the independent school district (like Sheffield and contract care), held to the same standards as everyone in that district, and should never be supervised by a TYC employee?

I say "b" because it takes that accountability off us and places it back on them. I think those local ISD teachers should be paid more, but I also think no one teaching in TYC should be eligible without 5 or more years teaching experience.

Lets say in any given local ISD, we pay those with the 5 (plus) years of experience, at 45,000 a year. I think TYC should pay teachers 50,000 - 54,000 with the same quals given the TYC School is (1) a 12 month program and (2) a pretty violent place sometimes.

The local ISD gets to count TYC kids in their ADP, but are exempt from certain (not all) performance scores - like the TAKS. State funds school districts, TYC supplements the difference in pay scales, but ALSO offers state employee benefits, such as health, dental, legal protection and so forth.

I'd run for "Guvnah" but Sir Scott has me beat given his mass advertising skills on "a" water tower, and obviously on this website! But to hell with that, vote (a) or (b) and please explain why? - whitsfoe

Anonymous said...

Education in TYC has had its problems. One of the big issues that has plagued the agency is that school rules the day because of the money) with treatment activities taking a back seat. Teachers work their 8 hours only (no extracurricular activities to attend, no grading papers at home), have access to the kids during the day and have pushed treatment groups to either be at 7 am (not effective for adolescents) or squeezed into hours right after school. The kids had no time to breathe between school and group. It had been difficult for the case managers to get in the required one hour per month of individual counseling with them and until recently, the case managers could not pull kids from school to meet with them. Some facilities used to have the case managers work 1-9 but had difficulty recruiting them so went back to a regular schedule. There are also quite a few kids who had GEDs but were still required to attend school full time. Don't get me wrong, I strongly believe in education but there also needs to be sufficient time allowed for treatment. That's why the youth were committed.

A second issue is there are kids in the agency who were assessed at high phases academically (that means they were doing well and following all expectations) but who had only earned 1-2 credits in 5 years time in TYC. To me, that doesn't support the need for all kids to be in school all day or speak too highly of educational programming.

Another thing that I have never really understood is how the public high schools can get funding when some upper classmen have "off blocks" and are only spending 5 - 6 hours at school each day. Why won't this work in TYC so that the kids can spend more time in treatment activities?

I would appreciate an educator's viewpoint.

Anonymous said...

Whitsfoe, I am a TYC teacher, and I say option A is best. Why would we want to choose B when the ISD health insurance costs more and the retirement benefits don't compare either? I'm not an ace on the subject, but I do know TRS and ERS are two different animals. Maybe you should ask only the TYC teachers, since it directly concerns them as a whole. My guess is that they will probably all choose option A for the same reasons I do; however, I could be wrong, so I'll be checking back here frequently to find out.

Anonymous said...

7:27, I appreciate your viewpoint and I agree there are too many kids with a GED sitting in classes when they should be doing something more suited to their treatment & resocialization needs.

P.S. Caseworkers are a welcomed guest in my classroom ANYTIME.

Anonymous said...

vote for B

B, Because of the benifits and alot of your school district are not paying 45,000 for 5 year teachers. That salary usuallly does not come until your 12-13 year of teaching. Now maybe in Houston or Dallas areas. Small towns are not paying that.

Most teachers do not want to work year round and will not work year round if they can make the same amount of money in the public school. Who would? Would a caseworker, JCO, or anyone else choose to work 12 months for the same pay as working 9?

2nd, your school districts are more than likely not going to want to take on this responsiblity and they would share that Federal Money(maybe wrong on that one) leaving TYC kids out in the cold with classroom needs. If your school district are not going to send the cream of the crop to teach these students, they will be back burner kids to them.
As one commentor stated that education has been looked down on at TYC and this has been proven here as one stated "there are whinners in all professions" Another said that the education of the students gets in the way of the day, or something to that affect. I am sure it does. But if you don't educate kids then they have no chance of making it when released. So that must come first and foremost and federal and state laws says that kids have to be in school. It is not the teachers or the education depts fault that this is a mandated requirement. You are not going to get teachers to work at night.

I agree,kids with GED's should not be sitting in classrooms as most of them are done with school once they get the GED. Some still want to continue with the education for the highschool diploma. This is a smart move for those kids. Those students could be working on campus. I think they use to be able to do that during the day.

It will be interesting to find out how the new TYC/TDCJ feels about education and what changes they will make. I know that the school district that handles TDCJ gives the teachers there a month or so off during the summer and christmas vacations so forth as we have been told by those who have worked for them.
One other note TYC does not follow TEA guidelines unless it benifits TYC. We have all experienced that in the past. Most of those they choose not to go by were the ones that pertained to the time given to prepare for teaching. It was given but taken away by meetings and other paperwork.

All said and done, we like what we do and do it the best we can and were still hanging on that all the problems will be fixed at TYC and life will be back to normal. Fussing about kids and not worrying about our jobs and what is going to happen to us next!

Anonymous said...

Sorry meant to put a ? mark by B.
I vote for A.

Anonymous said...

If one wants to get legalistic, there are other statutes that we can add. I was trying to keep it simple on the Foundation School program. I did not want to get into a discussion of TYC's etitlement to equivalent funding of revenues generated by taxes such as the state property tax which no longer exists and many that still exist which TYC is to be compensated for under the Foundation School Program. My point was that TYC gets Foundation School monies based on the seven hour school day and number of students receiving education on that day. I also realize what TYC does in reference to TEA policies but I was making a generalization. TYC teacher salaries are governed by the Appropriations Act. As to state or teacher retirement, I believe an individual TYC teacher can choose either system. I might point out that another problem with teacher retirement is that one cannot do any teaching for a year after retirement without loosing all one's retirement whereas under state retirement, you can start teaching in a school district the next day without loosing a dime of one's retirement.

Howard A. Hickman

Anonymous said...

11:25 - I am not a JCO. I do think, however, that JCOs are underappreciated by many within TYC, and this is most prevalent in the education departments. In my almost 20 years with TYC I have seen YAS/JCO staff treated with what can at best be called distain by numerous teachers, who seem overly enamoured by the fact they have a degree. Excuse the pun, but it is a "class" thing. It is interesting that this attitude is most prevalent among the worst teachers. Having said that, I want to emphasize that there are certainly some true heroes in the classroom. Usually these great teachers treat the JCOs with appropriate respect. But then again, they treat the kids with respect. Maybe that is why they are so successful? Old Salty

Anonymous said...

8:22 pm - you're on the bubble. You support "b" but vote an "a."

??? Hillary or Obama yo' momma???

Anonymous said...

Hey folks: look @ 9:42.

Now that's how a Marine bitches. Well put solider. USMC

Anonymous said...


You are correct. When I started with TYC several years ago there was a bridge in the relationship of JCO staff and Education staff.
I don't know that it still exist like it was or at least I don't think it does on the campus I am at. Maybe it is because I don't feel that way about our staff.
But there are good teachers and bad teachers. Bad by those that are there to finish the retirement or on a second retirement and loosing the job does not really matter as the retirement check is still coming after they leave. Now not all that have left and came back does this pertain to, but they are there. Teachers know who they are on their campus. Then there are just the plain ole, could not find a job anywhere else but TYC. Then there are the good ones.
But this is with all, not just education. There are good JCO's and bad JCO's, good caseworkers and bad caseworker, good nurses and so forth with every single job on a campus right down to the office staff.

My point is that it is not just education employees that may or may not treated others badly just because of the position they hold. Trust me Teachers get stepped on also by others in TYC. Maybe its the attitude that people have about them and I don't understand why. I think alot has to do with the fact that we don't work nights, get off around 4-430 and we do not work weekends so we have it made.
Ps. We do take work home to grade in TYC, if we did'nt we would never get caught up. We do our lesson plans at home and we read our emails at home and plan our class work in the evenings just like public school teachers. We are not done for the day when we walk out that gate if we are doing our jobs.

Anonymous said...

Does having a seven hour school day mean that there is school for seven hours or that the youth must be in class for seven hours?

Anonymous said...

What a seven hour day means for purposes of the Foundation School Program is that a school has five hours of regular classes, one hour of PE, and a lunch hour. An hour of classes can be fifty minutes with ten minutes to changes classes or to have a ten minute break.

Howard A. Hickman

Anonymous said...

The destruction of brigges between the departments in TYC is a result of the new"leadership" which has come over from TDCJ.

The JCOs are grossly underappreciated. The teachers are grossly underappreciated and the administration in the field is grossly underappreciated (note the fact that the entire management team at Al Price was escorted out of the facility two weeks ago.)

Only the idiots at the top who continue to foul up are appreciated.

Anonymous said...

12:58, it sure looks that way doesn't it? I go to work each day wondering what will happen next!

Anonymous said...

You are missed. I think of you often and wish I could dash down the hall to ask you a question...

Anonymous said...

Howard A. Hickman is indeed missed. He could always be counted on for a concise/correct legal answer. Makes one wonder if TYC would be in this mess with Geo if Howard were still there.....

Anonymous said...

Ooh, ooh! What mess with Geo? This sounds like new news. Do tell, 8/11 at 1:51. Is TYC trying to get out of that contract?