Wednesday, December 30, 2009

'TYC launches youth reading program'

The title of this post is the headline to a Corsicana Sun story published today which informs us that:
An innovative new teaching curriculum designed to significantly improve the reading ability of youth in the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) was recently launched in all TYC facilities. The program, called “Rewards and Rewards Plus,” is designed to close gaps between the reading abilities of TYC youth and their peers in traditional school settings. ...

In 2009, the Texas Legislature called for an overhaul of TYC’s reading programs through research-based assessment, instruction, and specialized training. The legislature also appropriated $750,000 to pay for these improvements.

Working with the University of Texas Meadows Center for Preventing Education Risk, a standardized reading instruction curriculum has been developed and implemented throughout all TYC schools. The curriculum is based on a three-tier model, with student placement in each tier determined by performance on nationally recognized reading assessments. Each tier, to the greatest extent possible, will include a student population with similar reading abilities to allow for the more individualized reading instruction. All youth will participate in Tier I enhanced reading instruction. Students who require additional reading support are assigned to a separate Tier II reading class or, for those who require more intensive instruction, a Tier III class.

TYC recently hired 10 additional teachers to advance this effort. The Meadows Center conducted reading intervention training for these 10 teachers and five additional TYC instructors. All TYC reading teachers will receive training in the reading intervention by the end of February

Initial evaluations of the new reading curriculum will begin in late December 2009.
This new curriculum was one of the action items in TYC's education plan for the 2009-2010 school year (pdf).

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

A new reading program is wonderful and a step in the right direction for TYC. The only problem is it took almost three years to start implementation. I guess better late than never. If this is an indicator of real progress at TYC the agency should be completely rehabilitated by 2050. I wonder when implementation of the reading program will actually start at other TYC units based on the shortage of school teachers at many units. Due to the out of control youth in the classrooms at most TYC units many experienced teachers have left and new teachers don’t stay long. Call me pessimistic but this looks like another TYC “Dog and Pony Show”; all flash and no bang for the bucks spent. It will be interesting to see how long the ten new teachers last.

Anonymous said...

That legislation was driven by an Ombudsman report. The TYC education system was really in a bad state at the time. This is excellent progress.

Anonymous said...

If the information on the Tyc Website is accurate there are still three positions available in this program. It's not getting off the ground very quickly.

It would be grossly unfair to blame Dr. Carpenter for this progress, since he is in AUstin and trying to implement the program.

Having seen TYC education collapse under the weight of "test and credit" implemented by some of the stupider people in TYC's past (and possibly present) TYC neds to get a completely new handle on education and drive it towards quality in education.

Anonymous said...

TYC has never provided any real treatment to youth. This is another show to please the favorites in Austin. Again, the youth lose in TYC.

Anonymous said...

The caliber of teachers has long been a problem within the TYC nightmare. If the teachers can be adequately trained and then monitored extra close, some good may come of this latest project. The nature of the agency seems to attract not in line normal teachers but beggars can't be chosers. A good teacher earns respect but the agency teachers feel they are above average employees and youth see this discrepancy and distraction daily.

Charity said...

There are gifted children in TYC also--not as many as have educational problems--but they are there. Where is the program for gifted or talented kids? This is something else the Ombudsman's office has pointed out.

diogenes said...

I doubt the gifted youths will get anything special any time soon unless it comes from outside of education, as it isn't a high profile necessity. I made a point of doing extra with my gifted juveniles because I knew and understood their needs, and knew they weren't being challenged sufficiently in school. It'd be nice to have these programs, but the more immediate concern is the vast majority of juveniles who can't read very well if at all.

Anonymous said...

My own experience with TYC indicates that they attract teachers who have retired through TRS and are inyerested in gaining a second retirement through ERS.

TYC teachers are older than the majority of public school teachers. They often behave as if they are already retired from their current positions. An added problem that children see through.

The solution is to attract younger teachers who are committed to teaching youth.

How do you do this in an agency that has a history of hiring based upon experience RATHER THAN NEEDS.

Hiring older teachers is its own problem.

Anonymous said...

TYC Has great Teachers but the Problem is that the Youth are so abusive towards the Educators, In Brownwood smart Teachers stay away from TYC due to a Teacher getting almost killed by a Youth and nothing was ever done with the Youth.

Anonymous said...

The majority of people in the TYC education system are rejects from other systems where they failed. This has always been a major issue in TYC where folks put in their time but teach very litle to youth. They use any excuse to be out of the classroom so most 'teaching' is by dorm staff trying to cover for lax teachers.

Anonymous said...

"...the youth are so abusive towards the educators." This makes the classroom a nightmare for the teacher as well as for the few who want to learn.

How many minutes in a typical class hour is spent trying to establish a minimum of order?

Anonymous said...

They used to hold graduation ceremonies on Friday evenings so that parents who work would be more likely to attend. The only problem with that was JCOs and Caseworkers would show up on their own time to show support for the kids who had achieved, but very few teachers would show. What does that tell you about the commitment of the teachers to helping these kids succeed? Now they hold the graduation during normal school hours so the teachers get time off from the classroom to show up. Makes it harder on the working parents, and keeps the daytime JCOs from showing up, because they are on the dorms.

Anonymous said...

As a former TYC employee I am wondering just where this reading program has actually started and where those 10 teachers are.
I don't believe that Corsicana has this program up and running as it came off in the hometown paper. No they did not say Corsicana but it is assumed by the hometown readers that this is happening.
Since it has been a long going affair that TYC teachers are loosers just drawing a check, maybe when legislation goes back in for the next session they should look at doing away with Education as TYC knows it and turn it over to the amazing public schools that can teach these kids. Give the load back to pubic schools and solve the problems.
That way you want get retired teachers and you can get those young ones that the boys can fall in love with those cute little youthful bodies. Give Education back to the educators in public schools. But I have read on here several times that most believe public school teachers are just as bad.

Anonymous said...

TYC has always sacrificed everyone and everything for teachers who usually only cared about their individual jobs. One of the wrose programs in the agency, yet the most supported by the leadership. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

The article said:
"Initial evaluations of the new reading curriculum will begin in late December 2009."

This is a hoot. A new reading program was implimented? WHAT READING PROGRAM?!? Kids have been sitting in reading classes at Al Price since September, with aides as teachers, and no curriculum. This is the magic "7th period" that we all heard about? The kids do nothing in this period but sleep, or cause trouble. Al Price has nothing in place, and THIS IS THE END OF DECEMBER. How do they justify that wasted time? How can they say this with a straight face? Where are these "ten new teachers?" Is this just going to be another PBI program that got started, and stopped in the middle as they were training teachers?

Anonymous said...

Yes the this article made me so angry because it is such lies. Why does Austin continue to lie to the public?
Don't believe this then go to all of the units and check it out, don't ask about it, ask to see it in action!! That should tell you the real story.

Anonymous said...

TYC trys to teach kid not use the blaming others for their actions but then TYC blames the employees for all the downfalls within its doors. Pot callin the kettle black here don't you think?
Get good leaders and people at the helm that can lead those that are working and you will get good results. The Units are only as good as the leaders are. I am not bashing anyone just making a statement that goes for any business. You got respect for your bosses, you will try harder. Your treated like a human. TYC is treating its employees like dirt.
Ask the people that work there what their fears are. Kids are running the programs. ASk and visit and you will see.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like some of the posters are fairly new to TYC and feel the situation is out of control. Surprise! This has been going on for several years....since DH was at the wheel. Some of his hensemen are still runnung things along w/ST, who has not helped the situation, only made it worse. Get used to it because Texas politics and TYC leaders will not change.

RAS said...

' TYC Boosts Education Opportunities' Aug 3rd . There are four unfilled positions for reading specialists and only 3 or 4 of the LSSPs have been hired to replace the diagnostitions. The Aug 3rd blog talks about self paced; that's what they've been doing for years. Focusing on reading is key to real improvement in these kids chances but the breakdown in discipline has made this less likely to happen regardless of the program.

Anonymous said...

Plese read this (below) from a recent artice in a foreign policy magazine. TYC seems to have a task ever bit as daunting as that faced by those referred to below. Why are our cities as hard-core as Yemen? Who is harder to rehabilite - a terrorist or a fatherless son of our big cities?

Article:
Is it possible to deradicalize terrorists and their potential recruits? Saudi Arabia, a pioneer in rehabilitation efforts, claims that it is. Since 2004, more than 4,000 militants have gone through Saudi Arabia's programs, and the graduates have been reintegrated into mainstream society much more successfully than ordinary criminals. Governments elsewhere in the Middle East and throughout Europe and Southeast Asia have launched similar programs for neo-Nazis, far-right militants, narcoterrorists, and Islamist terrorists, encouraging them to abandon their radical ideology or renounce their violent means or both.

Anonymous said...

Are you applying this info to youth or TYC employees?

Anonymous said...

Why is it that teachers don't want anyone to hold them accountable? I agree with the poster who said that many of the teachers are retired and seeking to boost their retirement. The kids have no respect for the teachers because the teachers do nothing to earn their respect. There is one teacher at the unit where I work who is really dedicated and really holds the respect of the kids - but she is looking for a job, because her fellow teachers shun her for showing them up. Watch - they'll have aides and JCOs teaching this new reading curriculum, because so many teachers use every bit of their sick leave time.

Anonymous said...

In the Texas school system six of ten teachers are worth their pay. In TYC only one of ten are worth their pay. The kids recognize this and react as they respect teachers. The teachers that complain constantly, are never at work and can't get along with youth should look in their mirrors, then adapt or leave the agency.

Anonymous said...

Narco-terrorism - does that describe the culture these TYC gang members belong to? When you've got a classroom full of these individuals, well you've got a tiger by the tail. I'm asased the teachers do as well as they do! Lack of respect is the default position of terrorists.

Anonymous said...

Oops, misspelled amazed.

Anonymous said...

The teachers in TYC were good at one point in their careers. The issue at Brownwood is much deeper than anyone wants to admit: CW won't do anything except bully teachers and insure an inadequate program in that department.

The leaders on the campuses and the teachers on the campuses must accept change. The phony education system pushed out as "test and credit" failed in its inception. Its succcessor do all the work also failed in inception because of the initial wording in the TEKS. The teachers and campus leadership refused to recognize that a freshman research paper was not the same as a senior research paper.

Many people conspired, in an unspoken conspiracy to create this horrible situation in TYC. Change must come and it needs to come with strong leadership and backbone.

Anonymous said...

Here's my two cents.
You can't train a pack of dogs if you don't first gain control of them, right? You must have control of something to teach it something. Don't take the word control in a negative way here.

If you want to teach kids you must have control of a classroom, you must be incharge and the only one incharge of that room. This is something that TYC does not give to teachers as in public school.

You can't send a child to a time out only to have some come in and say he is not doing the time out! You loose all control over that childs behavior at that point. He knows there is someone who will get him out of the punishment for his behavior.

Now, kids are out of control so there is no learning going on and no learning will occur until TYC gets this! You can blame teachers, you can blame the president but it will not be fixed until you get control of the kids in the school buildings. That is not just the teachers job it is the job of the entire facility.
In corsicana they are running down the halls and there is nothing anyone,teacher, staff can do about it. If you write to many 225's you will be written up as they want the numbers down to show they are the best facility in the state!
Corsicana is blaming its teachers but not giving them any support. Visit there see for yourself. TYC wants or Corsicana wants Teachers to become JCO staff also and be responsible for restraining kids and so forth. Now when do you teach if all you do is behaviors all day long.
There is so much more to this story than people who are not there daily simply do not understand and its easy to point the finger at Teachers.
One day maybe all of them will just quit and TYC can have a wonderful program. Good luck TYC teachers and find another job where you are respected and start enjoying teaching again. You can be respected for what you do and not be treated like a bunch of useless money grabbing,lazy employees for the state of texas.

Anonymous said...

"Useless money grabbing, lazy employees", someone finally told the truth about most teachers in TYC. Most don't even understand the words 'learn or teach'.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing that there are a few teachers who have very few problems with the youth. Somehow, most of the kids want to be in their classes. Why is that? Why is it that in most classes the kids are out of control, while in a few classes, most of the kids behave, and learn something? Why is it that some teachers sit at their desks on their computers while the kids run wild? Why is it that some teachers denigrate and disrespect the kids, and are surprised when the kids curse them out and disrupt their classrooms? Why is it that other teachers show respect and concern for the kids, and most of the kids behave? Look in the mirror, you whiners! If you don't want to work at TYC, go back to the public schools where you will have to attend parent-teacher conferences, chaperone dances and student activities, and sell tickets at the ball games, instead of putting in 7 hours and hitting the gate.

Anonymous said...

"away from TYC due to a Teacher getting almost killed by a Youth and nothing was ever done with the Youth."

I'm shocked!

Well, ok--not really.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing how many people are posting with negative things to say about the teachers. Without good teachers, no program can work. My personal observation is that the really good, dedicated teachers are few and far between. Someone here pointed out that a number of the teachers have retired from the public school system and are looking to "pad" their retirements. Unfortunately, there are a few of those where I work. They may have been excellent teachers at one time, but they are now "retired on active duty." Right now, teacher salaries are tied to the local school district. That needs to change if we want to give some incentive for really excellent teachers to accept the challenges of dealing with this very difficult population. Right now, the only advantage of working inside is the shorter hours, and the fact that teachers don't have to answer to troublesome parents. That's not much of an advantage, and leads to hiring people who want less engagement with the educational process.

Anonymous said...

I have worked all over TYC and the teacher problem is rampant. The teachers are more trouble than the youth. We can deal with youth but teachers have their own troubles that only make the whole system worse. TYC would be better off without teachers. Use contract aides for these youth; nothing would be worse than the present situation with so called teachers.

Anonymous said...

do you really mean that TYC had to totally redo the schedule, adding an additional hour of "education" and interfere with other programs in order to implement a reading program that still does not have a curriculum.

Never ceases to amaze.

Anonymous said...

The teachers where I work are having a sick out over the extra hour. They are really showing their true colors. Bunch of prima donas!

Anonymous said...

If you workat Corsicana or Brownwood the problem isn't the extra hour, it is the excuse. The lack of leadership on those campuses is amajor problem, both the overall campus leadership and the educational leadership.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1/02/2010 07:22:00 PM has it right. If TYC wants better teachers, they will have to pay more money to get teachers that can deal with this out of control population. And, they will have to get an administration in Austin that has at least a clue as to what they are doing, and has a greater objective than just drawing a state paycheck themselves.

Anonymous said...

"...it will not be fixed until you get control of the kids in the school buildings."

You are so right. Is anyone in Central Office listening?

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with increasing the salaries of teachers as long as we add in accountability as well. With the quality of teachers we now have in TYC, most of them are overpaid - particularly the "academic" elitists who sit at their desks while the kids run wild. If you cannot control a classroom with 10 kids in it, you do not belong in a classroom.

Anonymous said...

Please keep in mind tyc has a 120 year history of physically, mentally, verbally, sexually and ACADEMICLY abusing the throw away kids of Texas. The tyc goes above and beyond professionalism in covering up its antics and making its ugly leaders look good. This is not the exception this is the norm, and tyc has serious consequences for “Breaking Norms”.
The hell with education, tyc needs to be teaching those kids how to work, so when the 87% of their recidivist get to prison they will be ready to handle the work load. A tyc academic education is an oxymoron.
Sheldon tyc#47333 II c/s

Anonymous said...

For once, Sheldon, you have made a notable post. Your previous rants coming from a documented criminal adds little to the overall though process. Your attitude and probable continued behavior is dictated by your criminal past. You may now have a routine job but what have you to show for the harm you did to the public? What have you shown to your probably tarnished seeds? Wiil they follow you to prison? So sad a story that needs also probably shows your inadequate TYC education, even though degrees can be bought many places on line.

annonymous said...

You know, this is the same argument that is used in the "free world". We expect our teachers to teach our children the discipline we do not enforce at home. Parents are frustrated with their children and expect teachers to raise them but don't they dare discipline them. It is a no win situation for teachers everywhere. How many teachers in the public school system are frustrated by dealing with youth behavior and their inability to spend valuable time teaching. Now we have youth in TYC that are there not for the best of behavioral reasons and we expect the teachers to teach and control the youth in their classrooms that JCO's can not control in the dorms. I am not trying to bash anyone, but please, until something is done to help create a safe environment there is not going to much success in the classroom or the dorms. It is difficult for teachers to keep their jobs that to ask that they go into a correctional setting is asking quite a bit don't you think? Instead of bashing the educational system, realize their frustrations are the same as yours. Most youth in TYC are tested way below their grade level, so it is a very challenging job. No, I am not a teacher but I am able to see both sides of the issue and hopefully some of you can and instead of critizing, work with each other.

Anonymous said...

Even though I have met few teachers worth their salt; we can't expect the few good ones to teach with most of the youth in class out of control. The leadership has simply reversed any control that the teachers or employees once had over these disobedent monstors.

Joe Kool said...

I am damn tired of hearing about how TYC has nothing but "old wore out teachers"

It's a good thing you have those "old" teachers because NEW teachers would not last till the water got hot.( that's an old saying(LOL)
This new reading program is a crock. The reading program is not the problem. The only reward these kids want is their release. Until you tie their release to their academics, you are whistling in the wind. That's all they care about and would hard and behave if they knew it meant their release.

This it not up to TYC to do this but the legislature could do it if TYC convinced them that it would solve alot of problems and help the kids. Boy.... wouldn't that be a new idea.

One last thing... Most kids in TYC do not want learn anything unless there is something in it for them. Those posters who have children know what I mean. Kids will work harder if it means something for them.

Student will never learn what they need until it means their RELEASE!!

dirty harry said...

There is something to what Joe Kool above says. TYC youth are the kids that the public school system failed to begin with. If you think TYC teachers are below par, then why did the "better teachers" in public school fail to save them from the start?

Also, there has to be something in it for the youth, or they won't make the effort. That's why GED is so important to them. It's even a status symbol of accomplishment. This also explains some of the success with the vocational programs. They actually learn something useful, and they can see it.

Anonymous said...

Don't lose your cool, Kool. There are good and bad teachers everywhere, but TYC culture draws many of the poorest teachers to their ranks. Strickly in and out on time each day and do as little as possible while there. Now how can that contribute to the youths future? Teachers in TYC need extra strict supervision if the youth are to ever benefit. The overage use of sick time by teachers causes a strain on over worked dorm staff and streses the ebtire system more. Teachers should be part of the solution but they usually are part of the problem for management.

Anonymous said...

Thanks 1119; Someone finally hit the nail on the head. A long standing problem, teachers use their sick time as fast as they earn it. Poorly trained staffers then are called off the dorms to cover their classes. The storm continues each day as employees and teachers search for new ways to leave or avoid their duties. In between the youth are left on their own, knowing teachers or staff care little about their actual learning. Why then should the youth act proper in their classes? Role modeling is history in TYC.

Anonymous said...

Youth are assaulting teachers and staff on a weekly basis, running wild and unrestrained freely about the unit, breaking into rooms and totally destroying them, crashing active classrooms and causing riots. The bottom line is that it's impossible to teach in an environment where the inmates rule the asylum. Don't blame the teachers. They are powerless.

Anonymous said...

Problem with TYC, based on what I read on the blog, is that everybody complains and expects someone else to fixe. Shut up and step up and be part of the solution. Complaining solves nothing.

Anonymous said...

Be part of the solution? How? The current administration in Austin isn't going to let you "fix" anything. The minute you start pointing out anything they are doing wrong or illegal, they will RIF you, just like they did 14 diagnosticians several months ago, or they'll want to write you up the second you do anything outside of their senseless agenda.

Anonymous said...

3:34, the full comment you were reacting to was "Shut up and step up and be part of the solution"

If you can't figure out how to be part of the solution, at least shut up! Griping and naysaying without offering solutions harms morale and makes everyone who works at TYC look very, VERY bad.

I have to wonder if Scott should have left the comments closed for TYC blogs. Every time I read them it depresses me.

Anonymous said...

404 - Why don't YOU go to another blog? You won't be missed.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I know how to be part of the solution. Bombard lawmakers with the demand that those in charge of TYC in Austin be sent packing. However, I doubt that you would be one to join me.

And, you should be depressed. I can certainly find better ways to spend my tax money than on the salaries of Austin bureaucrats who have no business being in the jobs they hold.

Anonymous said...

TYC sex offender escapes on soccer trip

Austin's new out of state guru's day's are numbered.

Texas Style

www.statesman.com

Anonymous said...

SOS....will TYC ever change? A bunch of ingrate idiots lost in a cloud.

Anonymous said...

Dorm staff are supervising reading tasks, there are no teachers in many TYC facilities. A big joke and rip-off of the public. More show for nothing gained by TYC management.

Anonymous said...

While there certainly are problems with the competencies of the imported "experts" who are calling the shots from Austin, that is no excuse for JCOs to fail to confront youth who are out of line, or for teachers to sit at their desks playing on their computers while the kids run rampant in their classrooms.

BTW, I am not a Native Texan, so I am not taking shots at those imports just because they are not from Texas. They really are incompetent. But again, their incompetence is not an excuse for the rest of us to sit on our hands.

Anonymous said...

942: Apparantly IT IS an excuse for the rest to sit on their hands; since that is what is happening.

Anonymous said...

Where I work, I know of one teacher, who is not big, does not yell or cuss, but who does maintain order in her classroom and does teach the kids something. If that skinny little woman can do it, why can't the others? She works under the same conditions as everyone else.

Anonymous said...

what a joke TYC is-- the citizens of Texas should be appalled that their money is being spent on a worthless program where kids are out of control and learning how to be better criminals

RAS said...

Whitmire's policy's are almost all in effect now.

Anonymous said...

wake up-- there aren't enough teachers and staff to have school- they have school on the dorm watching movies--i guess "teaching" has become obsolete-- shut down the broken agency and start over-i bet the taxpayers are proud that their money is being spent on movies

Anonymous said...

someone needs to hire a lawyer and sue the TYC for abuse of power-get this i know a sitution where a staff was asked to wear 3 different hats-all management positions-then put him on probation (disciplinary) for not performing his job duties--the teacher that got strangled-someone needs to follow this-the girl went to court the other day-and it sounds like a cover-up is happening-evidence just happened to disappear

Anonymous said...

have you heard that Ron Jackson Units lost their GED program for now- their being investigated for improper practices- another strike against them- shouldn't they of struck out by now--the kids are out of control, the recidivism rate is sky high- staff are getting assaulted and injured- send the agency to the parking lot with their bags packed