Sunday, November 04, 2007

Dallas News: Education at TYC failing kids, taxpayers

Holly Becka at the Dallas News today offers up two articles analyzing education at the Texas Youth Commission:
Among the highlights:

"Schoolwork in solitary confinement was a crossword puzzle or math problems on a single piece of paper. One mentally retarded inmate, who read at a second-grade level, still got a high school diploma."

"Inmates at different grade levels found themselves in the same classroom."

"In March, the state auditor found that education at TYC relied more on independent study than classroom instruction."

"TYC's own records show that even when inmates attended classes, they sometimes don't receive proper course credit. And even when they do, the quality of instruction may be suspect."

"Critics say TYC's focus on GEDs comes at the expense of traditional academic lessons. The practice of pursuing both a GED and a high school diploma, they say, is absurd – a poor substitute for vocational training that could help inmates learn a useful trade and land a job."

nlike most teachers across the Lone Star State, educators at TYC earn hazard pay and receive training in how to physically restrain students."

"The lack of certified teachers contributes to a variety of problems, including larger classes, educator burnout and turnover. Internal audits have sounded the alarm about TYC's teacher shortage. But legislative reforms of TYC earlier this year overlooked the agency's overwhelming need for teachers. "


Anonymous said...

Very accurate analysis of the TYC education system. Students attend school by dorms instead of by age or content appropriateness. Thus educators end up with pre-kinder to college level youth in one class. Educators are not held up to the TEA standards nor are they evaluated and monitored accordingly. Principals & assistants have a terrible attendance record which attributes to the low morale in most educational settings within TYC.

Anonymous said...

"ZERO TOLERANCE" is where the big problem lies.
If schools would give every student the education they can mentally tolerate instead of making one big mould for every child to be educated too you wouldn't have school shootings and TYC would not be full of under-educated children that will now never contribute to society. This law has given the public school system the oportunity to deny any student the proper education that does not pass the mould test. True special Education is a joke in Texas and I do not see how they get away with breaking federal law in almost every public school in this state.
And then if you ask a question about the quality of education, you become the problem and they will hire lawyers with our money to discredit you and your child.
So if you think Education in TYC is the problem...Open your eyes to the big picture of Public Education in Texas is the big failure.


Anonymous said...

The Public Education System is the Pipeline to TYC.

Anonymous said...

My children went to school in a small rural town in West Texas. As a result, they got some darn excellent teachers, recieved a great education and continued on to college. Both my husband and I were involved in our children's education and extracurricular activities. We knew their friend's famlies from the time they started school til the present. This resulted in our children having a good attitude toward education, respect for their teachers and many lasting friendships.

Educators got involved outside the school setting as well. If they spotted a parent/s anywhere, they felt free to talk to us and vice-a-versa. One parent families were just as invovled and we watched over their children just like they watched over mine.

So don't say the public education system is the problem. The problem lies in parents not getting involved, especially in the big urban cities. Where it is important to wear the latest trendy clothes and party than to attend school. I thank the Monahans School System daily for the success my children have achieved. Teachers still come up to us and ask how the kids are doing! We are truly blessed to live in this community!

I'm not delusional but not all kids are products of a bad
educational system or parents. Kids from all socio-economic levels sometimes decide to make poor choices inspite of a good educational system or parents. We've all seen this many times over in schools and colleges! You should become a teacher and try to make a difference, it is obvious you have an axe to grind IMHO! I'm just wondering why? You can send a kid to school but you can't make them learn if they chose not to!

Anonymous said...

Legislative reforms have overlooked the basic problem with education in Texas overall, it is bad. Youth in TYC are the failures of the public school system and are generally warehoused by the school districts until they get committed to TYC. The real educational issue that the DMN should investigate at is how these youth were educated before they got to TYC and why the school districts are failing these youth in providing educational services.

Howard A. Hickman

Anonymous said...

In Tyc students of all levels from 6-12 grade are in one classroom. Teachers have several different subject levels to teach including those with mental retardation. Teachers are not recieving help in these classroom from Aides unlike public school. It is not the fault of the teacher that students are not learning. It is TYC whom decides what they will teach in a classroom. Teachers are assigned these mutiple classrooms.
Teachers in public schools do not face these same problems. One subject, one grade level.

Enviroment in the schools at TYC is awful. Stark white walls and teachers are not allowed to put up posters and create a learning enviroment for students.

Principals who are brow beating bullies destroy the morale of Educations and CO will not do anything about that situation. You can not beat someone to death and keep good teachers. Public schools want allow this.

Retalation and racism runs rampid in the school system in some units at TYC. Principals and their pets make havic for others who try to teach the students. CO does nothing to clean up this enviroment for teachers.

Teacher aides are teaching classroom when teachers leave and they are assigned to teach courses to help raise tyc scores. Teacher aides are assigned to do the testing for students such as Tabe and GED Prep class.Teacher aides are not in classrooms as CO says they are, they are not helping teachers with instruction or prep for classroom needs.They are used to clean and teachers are required to clean and wax and mop floors in classrooms that takes away from prep time.

Focus by adminstrators is issuing credits and GED and Tabe testing results for better scores. So please fix the leaders of education and good leaders leads to good teachers and classroom instructions.
Students are not off the hook here either. Most will refuse to do the assigned work, most are below grade level by several levels when they enter TYC. Due to being in Juvie or not attending school before coming to TYC.
What public school educator would want to come to work for TYC? One who can not find a job or is retired and wants to just sit in a classroom and draw a check. That is what TYC gets retired people who are already burned out and have put in 30 years or less with the public sector and are looking for another paycheck.

Teacher are year round employees with very little time off from the classroom.

Anonymous said...


Check out also the Houston Chronicle's article about TYC today, which focuses on 10-13 year olds, discusses the CoNextions resocialization program, and quotes Forrest Novy at some length.

His explanation for why TYC refuses to open community-based facilities is that the communities have already given up on the kids. The article presents an example of a kid from the Hill Country, but frankly this example doesn't do such a great job of supporting Novy's claim.

IMO, the article overall doesn't do TYC any favors. I found it pretty irritating to read, the usual problems and the usual non-explanations. Go read it and see if you agree.

Bill Bush

Anonymous said...

God damn it this is frustrating to read. The same Dr. Novy who defends using remote facilities for 10-13 year olds in the Houston Chronicle, here takes them as a given while talking about how hard it is to get qualified professionals to work in the education program.

This problem dates back to the 1910s and 20s and it's just ridiculous to see the exact same things being said in 2007.

The lack of attention to education was my biggest criticism of conservator Kimbrough's report months ago, and it remains a problem.

These people are simply incapable of thinking outside of the confines of what is, and will never be able to think of what should be.

Bill Bush

Anonymous said...

If someone took statistics from the top management of the Fortune 500 companies in this country, I feel sure the majority would come from small town K-12 education systems.

The best and brightest in this country come from great schools. Big City schools should look to what works in small town schools just as TYC should look to what works in Missouri and other states.

Education is the most valuable rehabilitation tool available in juvenile justice. It is the one thing that TYC has to get right!

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with Howard. I worked both at TYC and in the private sector.

I can think of one youth I worked with in particular as a youth who was almost pigeon holed into the alternative school system.

The problem was the young man appeared to be having an emerging schizoid personality disorder. Bright, intelligent but was not interested in social relationships and definitely listened to the beat of a different drummer.

While he didn't desire social relationships he wasn't antisocial. He was easily managible in one on one settings or with instructors who were patient and worked with the disorder rather than trying to get him to conform.

Finally after working with a LSSP and an understanding principal in the school system he attended who saw what I saw, he was pulled from the Alternative program and placed in education settings that provided him resources that have now allowed him to flourish.

But because this kid did not fit the mod for standardized education he almost fell through the cracks and could have been in and out of the Juvie and TYC.

Anonymous said...

FYI--it has been brought to the attention of the lege MANY, MANY, times over the last few months and at all the hearings-- that education is the the most valuable thing that TYC has to offer the students. Emails were sent out asking them to come and see what really happens in our schools. The lege did not have a clue that TYC was even TEA accredited!
From day one in TYC it there has been a struggle between "corrections vs education". Educators have been begging, screaming, crying for help in education but are treated as the step children in the system, because corrections and rehab comes first. HA! There is no time, the system is in crisis and we have to deal with the scandal, not education!HA! It's funny though,as the youth spend 7-8 hrs a day in education! Also, when there is a shortage of staff--who do they call--the teachers? What public school teachers do you know that would have to clean and scrub dorms and toilets? What teacher would have to complete janitorial duties during prep time, or have to work a dorm until staff get there? There are teacher's aides who have been covering classes for more than 24 months straight because of shortages, yet principals can't post jobs due to funding. Classes are running 18-24 students and these are the ones that were failures in public school, so imagine what behavior is like. There is not enough staff to put in the classrooms to help. The schools , which are the saving grace for these youth are turning into zoos and I pray that help comes, and it comes fast!
I agree that we need to be working on GEDs and Vocational classes. When the majority 16-18 yr olds come to TYC with 0-5 credits, what makes you think they are going back to school when they leave. You are fooling yourself, especially the way public schools refuse to welcome them back. We need to get them trained in skills and get them a GED, so that they can move on with their lives and not be held back by public education. Otherwise, we are just helping these students shoot themselves in the foot for yet another time!

Anonymous said...

The story in the DMN does not put the educational issues in perspective. Many of the youth committed to TYC have dropped out of school and/or are functioning well below their chronological ages, both factors associated with the development of delinquent behavior. Those that were in school, were often in alternative programs in the school district or the JJAEP, and as a general rule, those programs do not provide the kids the opportunity to continue with their regular coursework and credit acquisition. So the kids come in with many educational deficits.

With all of the problems of recruiting qualified teachers in TYC, it is amazing to me that the agency does as well as it does. This is frequently the first opportunity that many of the kids have to be successful in school. Many of the kids would never have received a GED or any vocational training if they had not been committed.

Is it enough to turn all of the kids around educationally? Of course not. Are there problems with educational services? Of course there are. Is it silly to make the kids continue in school once they have a GED? Probably. But there have been some major problems outside the control of the educators that include funding, difficulty in recruiting qualified teachers, the insistence of local administrators not to divide the kids up by ability but by dorm assignment under the guise of safety and security issues, etc. The latter makes it almost impossible to do classroom instruction as there are kids of all different abilities in one classroom. State rules also contribute. For example, the education department has received grant funding for initiatives but could not hire the full time staff needed to enhance programs because of state mandated caps on the number of full time employees the agency could employ. (This issue is problematic across the board when obtaining grants.) In addition, once the kids leave TYC, they have major difficulties when going back to the community schools. Even the kids who have done well, are forced into alternative schools if they are accepted back at all. The kids go back labeled as bad and any progress made is minimized.

I wish that the media and experts would more fully explore the issues involved with educational processes and outcomes. The issues begin long before the kids arrive at TYC and continue long after they return to the community.

Anonymous said...

I take exception to the bleak picture painted in the DMN. TYC has fully certified and highly qualified teachers and all of them should not be lumped together as using the poor techniques of a few. The situation is not ideal, by any means. And, yes, students at different grade levels are all in one classroom for a common subject area (those teachers who continue to teach more than one subject area at the same time are in violation of established practice at TYC. Each classroom at TYC is similar to a resource room in public education. It is truly a challenge and takes a really good teacher to accomplish what TYC does.

Look again at the statistics in the DMN with an unprejudiced eye. These students should be deservedly proud of their accomplishments. Quite a few had previously failed in public school and are able to make great gains while at TYC.

The focus has NOT been on attaining a GED! I don't know if this is what Forrest Novy said, but the focus has been primarily on attaining credits toward a high school diploma. But this is not always the best track for older students with few credits. There is now a focus on a dual track: high school diploma for those most likely to benefit from it or who specifically request it, and a GED track for those who would benefit most from taking that route.

While Deborah Nance was the superintendent at TYC, vocational programs were limited because her total focus was on the high school diploma. There has always been and continues to be a need for practical skills development in addition to academic achievement. Currently, all of the vocational programs offered at TYC result in an industry certification.

Not all of the teachers and administrators are the best. There are, however, a large number of truly dedicated teachers and administrators who strive to give TYC's youth the best opportunity possible to succeed.

Anonymous said...

What I find interesting in this discussion is what appears to work best in Texas Public education is the small community, RURAL schools. I also have two children who graduated/will soon graduate from Monahans High School and I can tell you that the primary reason my spouse and I have chosen to stay in Monahans is directly attributed to the OUTSTANDING school,its teachers and programs.

The Monahans Education Center (MEC) is in my opinion one of the finest, if not THE finest alternative education program in the state. Darryl Skinner and his staff have a genuine concern for those youth who are in danger of 'falling through the cracks' and have done wonderful things with their share of the already very limited state funding resources available to MWPISD. It never ceases to amaze me that the state is so much more interested in building more and more prisons, yet leaves the vast majority of its public schools hideously underfunded???

It is the desire of our school personnel to do everything in our power to keep our youth out of TYC. In Monahans, the statement "It takes a village to raise a child" is demonstrated every day. And until the larger, metropolitan school districts and neighborhoods figure this out, we will continue to see large numbers of Harris county, Dallas/Ft. Worth area and valley youth in TYC. The bottom line is, the parents either don't have the time or the desire to be involved and the "village" doesn't exist, I suppose.

Thank the Lord for rural Texas!

Anonymous said...

As a 13 year veteran of TYC education, and former educational administrator at one of the facilities as well as one of the turnover statistics fo this summer (And thank God and TYC policy that I got three months vacation pay after leaving.) I can say that I was just as often angry at the teacher as I was fellow administrators.

Yes, the ideal TYC Principal is expected to browbeat his teachers into submission. He/she is expected to answer first to the institution superintendent about disciplinary problems, before educational concerns. And he/she is expected to kowtow to whatever idiot is the superintendent of education.

I know Bob Contreras, the current TYC superintendent, I know Deborah Nance the former Superintendent, and I am acquainted with the TDCJ lady who stayed briefly and got the hell out because she could read the handwriting on the wall.

Forrest Novy is supporting the past, which a large number of teachers also support. And yes I know Forrest, too. What happens to get a student inot TYC isn't good. TYC isn't a good place, and the emphasis on competency based instruction, which is, BTW, what public schools do for credit recovery, but it's what we all have to deal with.

Johnny comes to school in TYC and he has been out of public schol since the sixth grade. He is 16 and he is enrolled as a freshman in Algebra I, at least he was when I scheduled new students. Could Johnny do Algebra I? NO! Could my teachers teach him Algebra I? not realy. But if they took the time they could prepare Johnny for Algebra I, especially if they did not overuse Accelerated Math. And yes I warred with DC and BA about this constantly. Teaching kids was always more important to me than credits, grades, diplomas, and GEDs, although If the teachers were successful they would achieve all of the above.

No I am not defending an antiquated program. No I am not advocating a total changeover to the public school direct instruction method. I am saying that the Orientation Units need to be more concerned with placing students educationally as well as according to treartment issues.

It ain't gonna happen under da Pope.,

Anonymous said...

There has and all ways will be the War between Corrections and Education! Corrections side of TYC overrides Education now and forever. Until someone puts Corrections on the backburner and brings Education to the forefront nothing will ever change in TYC.
Education has always looked at as the bad guys. Lot of it is due to the salaries that Teachers are paid vs what Corrections is paid.
The war between Teachers and JCO staff is over the fact that Teachers work M-F and JCO work lots of shifts. Teachers make more money and work just as hard as JCO staff but most staff do not like Education. I said most, not all. This has been happening for years in TYC.
The corrections side of TYC makes all the decisions for Education side. The new deal for TYC was suppose to put Education before Corrections but this has not happened and never will.
When you have teachers that want to teach the kids and are good teachers it seems they are the ones picked on by others and usually are the ones that leave TYC for better jobs in the public school system. Tyc has NEVER stood BEHIND THE TEACHERS. They take time away for prep and planning during the day with meetings and other duties such as cleaning,and repeated paper work.
Behaviors in a classroom are ruled not by the teachers but by a staff who decides that the bad behavior will have to stay in the classroom and disrupt for the entire class time. All education is lost by those decisions. Teachers do not have a say in what they can do in a classroom they are ruled by others who are in Education setting.
As others have posted, you can make a student work and you can make them learn a skill if they are not willing to learn. 16-18 year olds are just not interested in education, they know they are to far gone to graduate or go back to public school.
The GED program jerks kids out of classroom and tells them they are taking the GED today. Kids are not ready and this sets them up for failure, they too have no choice but to sit and take a test they can not pass. In the end these kids low self-esteem gets lower and they don't want to try. How can one teacher teach GED PREP, 6grade math,7-12grade math and GED in one one in 45 minutes to 10-15 kids. You can't do that in a room of 6-8 kids and make it successful.
Teachers are not miracle workers.

Anonymous said...

WHOO, I am 1:45 and I made a ton of mistakes in my writing. Just goes to show that I can not answer phones, type and do other duties at the same time. Sorry about this poor written blog.

Anonymous said...

I am waiting to see all the TYC teachers get on this blog and blame Corrections and others for their inability to teach. But don't believe all you read. The main problem has been and currently is that teacher don't want to do anything but get a paycheck. It is surprising to me that more teachers don't come to TYC it the best secret in the world. Teachers in TYC are a part of the ERS retirement system which is supposedly better than TRS. They are State employees who do not have to worry about whether their contract is going to be renewed each year. They work Mon- Fri and at most schools 8am - 4pm. They are not required to work overtime, they don't give out homework they have to take home to grade, they don't have parent teacher conference requirement and rarely ever meet or talk with a parent unless one happens to show up at an ARD. They don't have to be a sponsor for an after school activity. All the things public school teachers must do everyday. And believe me they get paid well much more than anyone in the local school system because of the way TYC has chosen to figure out their salaries. Even if you compare month to month intead of 9 months to 12 months, I have personally know teachers who make more than $400.00 a month then they would have if they worked for the local school system. The list goes on and on. But the most concerning thing is they are not held responsible for the youth learning anything. They get a raise every year regardless of the progress of their students. Yet they will bitch about not having a JCO in their classroom (thought classroom management was a part of a teacher's job), not getting a prep period (what do they have to prep for?), not getting a lunch period (ask a JCO about not getting a meal in a 12 - 16 hour shift), and the occassional time they have to go to the dorm or stay over you would think the earth is coming to an end. If education/teachers want to be a part of the program they need to step up to the plate and become a part of the program. Volunteer to work in the operation side of the program, mentor a youth after school hours, attend PAT meetings and bring meaningful input, start an afterschool program, and the list goes on.

Anonymous said...

The thing that irks the hell outta me is that some damn teacher just started a war of words between our Corrections guys and the Teachers. Don't you realize we're all in this together?

Anonymous said...

3:01 I agree with you. A big part of the problem is that the administration needs to look at the entire system and make decisions based on the needs of the kids as opposed to establishing silos and looking at program pieces as if they operate independently. The fact of the matter is that all parts are important - safety and security, education and treatment. There has frequently been conflict among the disciplines for time with the kids and attempts to convice others that our discipline is the most important. We all need to work together on behalf of the kids and stop pointing fingers. Each has problem areas and each has strengths. Let's try and fix the problems and build on the strengths. This will take compromise and respect for others' points of view. We can do it locally even if that is not what is modeled at the top.

Anonymous said...

And I couldn't agree more. I'm in corrections but I support and back up our teachers because we're all in this together. I recognize education is a big factor in rehabilitating these kids. And for the most part, our teachers work with us day in and out.

I'd just hate to see us going after each other on this blog. It makes me sick when I read how employees are turning on each other as I've seen on this blog. I just think we should hang in there together because we've got some reforming to do, and it's going to be a lot of work. We really need to break down these silos. Peace.

Anonymous said...

I have worked for close to 20 years in both the Treatment and Corrections side of the house. I am a former teacher, son and grandson of a teacher. I hold a high standard for teachers. What I have seen in TYC is some very talented and dedicated teachers. What I have also seen is some incredibly lazy teachers who saw TYC as a way out of the grind of public school and a way to pad their last years of retirement. They come and go, and bitch the entire time they are with us. They give a bad name to all the rest of the education personnel. Some of them seem to be sounding off here. My hat is off to those true teachers in TYC, particularly since, in many places, they are in a minority. Where I currently work, the teachers arrive at the school at 7:45, leave for lunch at 11:30-12:30, and leave campus at 3:30. We used to have graduations on Friday evenings, but stopped that because it was so embarrassing to see two or three teachers show up for the graduation while JCO staff and caseworkers came in on their off-duty time to support the kids. Now we let everybody out of school so the teachers get an afternoon off from the classroom to go to the graduation and the reception afterwards.

My hat is off to those few who stay after 3:30, who go to the dorms to tutor youth, and who are in it for the long haul. The rest of you are just place-holders.

Anonymous said...

I do not think that Teachers are pointing fingers at Corrections on this blog or starting wars. Who says it is a "damn teacher" that wrote the blogs about corrections. Would that not be someone assuming and starting something? Was that a postive statement to make, but only to prove the bloggers correct that you disagree with?
Corrections does not mean JCO staff, Caseworkers but maybe they meant TYC as a whole. Can one person speak for all teachers and what they do during the day,and what someone takes home and if they are required to work over time? I think Teachers are required to work over time with NO PAY at ALL for staying late or working on a dorm, pat meetings and so forth.
Please, stop assuming what we do not know is facts. TYC is in a hell of a shape right now in all depts not just one section of it.

If one does not lay out the problems in hopes that maybe CO or legislators will read and correct how is anyone to know? Is this not the purpose of this blog? Everyone can vent without being tagged a Damn teacher, damn jco or what ever your title is?
It is clear to me after the responses here that Education is not favored and what most think of those in education. Most of the time if others in TYC are complaining about problems they are supported but let Education join in and they are ousted. Sad, really sad.

Anonymous said...

I quit teaching for TYC in August and went to a much better job in a public school. I really didn't have any problems with corrections staff except on a few rare occasions. There have been some negative statements posted here that I had heard on those rare occassions. Most of them are made by jealous, lazy, and ignorant people that would rather tear others down instead of pulling themselves up.

They include statements like:

You are lucky because you are a state employee.

You don't have to worry about getting your contract renewed.

You make a lot more money here then if you worked in a public school.

You don't have to actually teach because you're not held accountable like a public school teacher.

All of these statements demonstrate a total ignorance of reality or a planned perversion of the truth.

Teachers were only considered state employees as long as the result benefited TYC. We were scheduled to work every week day of the year minus the official state holidays. TYC teachers are THE ONLY full time state of Texas employees that DO NOT get paid holidays, overtime, or comptime.

The line in a post about staying late and volunteering in operations, or mentoring a kid, or whatever else was mentioned is just plain stupid. 1st, that was not allowed, AND in light of the current scandal caused situation would be a moronic act at best. Besides, Do you work for free?

As far as a contract is concerned; teachers in public school get a continuing contract from year to year and can only be non-renewed for a grave violation of the educator code of conduct or because of a RIF after their initial probationary contract requirements have been met. At TYC we had absolutely no contract and are now at-will employees just like everyone else.

As far as making more money goes, that is a typically perverse statement I had heard on many occassions. Yes, the paycheck was larger at the end of each month. BUT, my pay was based on the exact same scale as the local school district used for paying teachers at my experience level. I just worked 60 more days a year then a public school teacher so my check reflected it. DO YOU WORK FOR FREE?

And, if you want to get technical, I was still getting the shaft because I recieved the same pay per day as a public shool teacher but I was scheduled for one more hour per day. Oh yeah, I really had the sweet life, I got to work 250 hours a year for free.

I always loved the statement about not having to teach because I was not held accountable. Uh, say what! As a former TYC math teacher I was constantly getting the shaft due to the inability of others to not perform their jobs in education. We were actually held to a higher standard then public school teachers but suffered from some major disadvantages. 1st, We were held accountable for a 1 month increase in student ability for every month of incarceration even though they spent up to 2 months in Marlin. Most of my students surpassed this requirement every year that I taught there. 2nd, These were not generally the best of students and most were still not completely detoxed from their prior favorite recreational chemicals. 3rd, We were hamstringed by administrators that had no respect for our purpose in TYC and believed the previous garbage statements from above.

If you think the educators situation is so rosy at TYC then why don't you get and pay for your degree, pass the required exams to get certified, and make all those big bucks at TYC.

With all this said,I can clearly state that I really did meet a lot of good people at TYC, corrections and education. The issues I had were with the people in CO. After DaPope came to power I decided it was only going to get worse. As one poster stated, the employees in the field need to quit attacking each other and start working together. Good Luck On That One! I do wish you the best though.

Anonymous said...

You know, why doesn't the TYC just contract out education like they did in Sheffield? That seemed to work perfect, and Irran got to include those kids in their ADP (when Robin Hood was still alive), but not be held accountable for the TAKS results.

Anonymous said...

6:03 Well said.

Anonymous said...

Teachers need to be held accountable in TYC. Contracting education is an excellent idea. They need to be held accountable, and held to the same standard as a public school. Nothing less. Lazy teachers produce lazy students.

Anonymous said...

"TYC teachers are THE ONLY full time state of Texas employees that DO NOT get paid holidays, overtime, or comptime."

Your full of shit. You get the same as we do and I don't get comp or overtime, so quit crying.

Contract education and make these people work.

Anonymous said...

Wake up and smell the coffee! Contracting educators doesn't work any better. Who do you think that school districts send to JDCs and Sheffield and any other "alternative" schools?????They send the "problematic" teachers. Bronte ISD had the boys on computerized programs. What teaching was done there? This has been an issue throughout history in education. You take the weakest,or newest teacher and put them with the worst kids because they have to "pay their dues". It happens over and over. If you contract out, the ISDs will do the same, I promise.
I have been an educator with TYC for over 10 years. For the most part, we have very fine teachers who work very hard. The problem is not the educators but the system. There needs to be an overhaul in the system. We try (as per CO) to educate these youth the same as they were educated in the free(we want our schools to look like "real" high schools). Our youth were not successful the first or second time around in public school, so wham we throw them right back into the same time learning situation. It makes absolutely no sense. Also, it is a nightmare tracking down all the credits, transcripts, etc... from all the various places they have been as our youth are very transient. Talk about waste. We need to assess the students, then help them fill in the gaps. They need GEDs and vocational-job prep type classes. Public school failed them, so why do we try to do the same. These are not the kind of youth that you can have large classes and expect that learning will happen. If I was 17, reading on a 2nd grade level why would I even want to be in Alg 1, Biology, and English.Talk about being in a prison! I would disrupt also. I would hope that someone would help me learn to read and not subject me to torture in a credit class. Not rocket science!

Anonymous said...

So let’s see TYC teacher:

"pay their dues". The period needs to be placed inside the quotes.

- so why do we try to do the same." This sentence is asking a question, so punctuate appropriatly please.

"I would disrupt also." ??????

"I would hope that someone would help me learn..."

Enough said.

Anonymous said...

And if we had a REAL LEADER in CO

Would any of this be an ISSUE??

Thats where the system lacks the most ( REAL LEADERSHIP ) from the top down......

Anonymous said...

7:09 I hope your correct because if you are TYC owes us a hell of lot back pay. Since you know this to be a fact may I suggest you check with your HR dept for us and let us all know how stupid we are for not knowing we get paid holidays and overtime and we can get comptime. It sure would help us exempt employee's in our pocket book. Thanks for letting us know.

Oh and to Mr/Ms I am so perfect in my writing can't not understand that people don't want to read your negative comments that make you look like an idiot. You are just plain ass rude and I hope your not working with kids at all.

Anonymous said...

"There's love in those boos." - Terrell Owens

Anonymous said...

You know we all get enough abuse at work from adminstration, CO, and those we work with. Can't we all at lest not bring it to the one place we all can vent. Keep the abuse for on the job. Thanks to all.

Anonymous said...

"It's prudent to spend less time tryin' to figure out who's right, and more time tryin' to figure out what's right."

Anonymous said...

I stand corrected in my typos as my brain works faster than my hands. However, maybe if we all listened to the messages, instead of killing the messengers the truth would finally come out. The issue is what is best for the youth, not how well we type.Oh, and by the way you need not worry as I do not teach English or grammar!

Anonymous said...

Guess I have to start looking into education. Pull up your boot straps teachers and educators.....Im coming your way now.




GO VOTE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

8:40 you are an asshole

Anonymous said...

Give him credit teach: he's the whole ass.

Anonymous said...

Teach did not call him that, someone else did. Teach has more class than that!

Anonymous said...

I believe we have been invaded by a couple of disgruntle bloggers.They seem to do the same kind of responses and uses the caps for screaming and typing skills on the blogs to start arguments with others. I think they get off to starting fights. Lets move on to the topic at hand and ignore these people. Maybe if we do not respond to these negative people they will not get their kicks off of starting the fights. Pray they are not working with TYC youth anymore.

Anonymous said...

Hey 7:09, Your ass-titude is showing. So I'm what?

"Your full of shit. You get the same as we do and I don't get comp or overtime, so quit crying."

Thanks for validating my point:

"Most of them are made by jealous, lazy, and ignorant people that would rather tear others down instead of pulling themselves up."

The method TYC uses to calculate teacher pay is defined by statute.

Every August, HR in CO takes the number 260(# of week days in a year) and subtracts the number of holidays observed and occurring on a week day. This usually leaves a number between 245 and 248 work days. Then they multiply this number by the daily rate of pay per year of experience for the nearest local school district. Then they take this product and divide it by 12 to arrive at an educators monthly salary. That doesn't sound like we're getting paid for those holidays to me.

If you are scheduled off on a holiday you get to keep the 8 hours of holiday time. We WERE scheduled off for those holidays but unlike you we don't get to have or bank the holiday hours. Teachers have always been on the outside at TYC.

That really isn't important right now. If anyone that is still at TYC wants to continue to be employed with the TYC then everyone there is going to have to pull together and stop all the bickering. You might want to try and approach some of the teachers at your facility with a positive attitude and see if you can't employ them in your endeavor to keep your facility alive. They are the largest semi-cohesive group of educated people at the facilities. Use that to your advantage. If you can't do that, then at least speak from knowledge and not anger.

Also remember that silence is a good substitute for wisdom. If you can't keep that in mind then please just "shut the hell up!"

Anonymous said...

When bad thing happens, the first thing people do is look for to blame.

The first thing people should do is fix the problem.

If the problem cannot be fixed, people should comfort one another.

TYC needs a lot of fixing and some comforting.

Anonymous said...

This is the most rediculous article I've ever read. The first part is old news about Coke County that was already all over the news and the second, quoting the teacher who was complaining about having 20 to 21 in class and all on different levels is out there also.
How do you take 300 kids of which 85 percent are special ed anyway and give each one of the individual one on one every day. You almost have to hire a teacher per kid. That is not even a reasonable thought. Kids don't get that kind of special attention in regular school. Parents have to almost pull legal tactics to get their kid tested for special ed and the they are labeled the rest of the time they are in school. Not enough special ed teachers in the state for public school let alone that much one on one at a state facility. Why planet are they living on?

Anonymous said...

Sorry about that...What planet are they living on?

Anonymous said...

Come on people. The problems that TYC has with education is not that the JCOs don't support the teachers or that the teachers are "lazy" and don't work on dorm or work enough hours. Administration has not dealt with the staff shortages in all areas - education, JCOs, caseworkers and psychologists. At the present time, there is no infrastructure in which to provide good education and treatment. For goodness sake, there isn't even a treatment program. The governor and the legislature have not funded the agency adequately for years. It is difficult to recruit staff with the current salaries and the rural locations. To add insult to injury, the governor has appointed an acting executive director that has no experience managing a large agency that provides 24-hour care to its wards, to say nothing about understanding juvenile justice.

This administration has not focused at all on the institutions, HWHs and programming. All focus has been on setting up the administration in CO. And the problems with education, begin with the failures in the community and TYC cannot solve all those problems. So, please, don't blame each other. You in the field are the backbone of this agency. If you must blame someone, blame the administration, legislature and governor.

Anonymous said...

Give Bob a chance to do something. Don't crucify him before he has a chance to work. The DaMN had no business writing these articles so close to an incoming Superintendent.

I think that Bob Contreras can do a good job, even if he is a disciple of Dr. Nance, sorry Bob, I realize that that could cripple you in the presence of da Pope, I think he can make some difference for the TYC youth if he is given a chance. But crucifying the man before he has ever done anything will not help at all.

Anonymous said...

Damn for a bunch of teachers you all are acting like the Youth at TYC,,, Hey who writes these stupid articles anyway? They have never set foot on a TYC Campus and proably would thank a Teacher that works there due to all of the stuff they have to go through, Teachers at TYC not only have to Teach but they are pretty much in the middle of the war zone and with this wonderful group running TYC that is pretty rough at the moment.
Everyone is quick to slam the education at TYC but the people who slam it have never had to work in an area worse than the wards in Houston,, These Kids dont care to learn but I still see the Teachers continue to Teach these Youth even when they have been cussed out or in a minor disturbance as Dan called it LOL.
So these people who write this crap have never worked or even visited a TYC Facility.
We have asked the Mighty Chuey as well as other Law breakers ,, Lawmakers oops to work a shift and they declined to visit ,, could it be that they are scared....Bet they are ...

Anonymous said...

huh-huh, huh-huh

Anonymous said...

It's amazing that students in TYC can get any education at all. Realize that most of these students weren't really excited about education and learning when they were in the "free". Now, they are locked up, see little or no use for the education that is trying to be provided to them and are a whole lot more interested in ANYTHING else that might be going on. If they happen to be in class today anyway and aren't on the dorm cleaning etc. instead of coming to education you have little chance to help them for all the disruptions. The teacher has to deal with all the paperwork (and there is tons of it), as well as all and I mean all of the discipline and try to teach as well. While you are trying to help one student, there are at least 5 or 6 more that are making distracting noises, talking, anything but trying to learn. You have a choice to make. You can choose to ignore the disruptive students and try to actually help possibly the only student that is wanting some knowledge at the time or you can stop ALL learning and run a useless "huddle-up" on one or maybe more of the disruptors. If you choose to ignore the disruptors, you're not doing your job because you aren't correcting the problems. If you choose to stop class and deal with the ones not wanting to learn in the first place, you can't teach the ones who want to learn something. Now, you can run those "huddle-ups" and the students will quote every word and accept responsibility and then turn around and do it all over again. Then, if you ever wade through enough of the disruptors to get back to the first one again, he gets to leave class and go write it all down on paper (he didn't mean it either time but this way he won't get a 225 for disruption more than likely and he'll still get his phase)and he'll be right back in class with a big smile on his face. Since there's no real time way to get this type of stuff to all concerned, these students disrupt every class they are in the entire day. Some of them stole to get in TYC and they are still stealing (time, education, safety) while they are in. Believe me that by the time you try to put out all these fires, there is little learning going on. I've taught many, many years and believe me, the teachers in TYC have more patience than you can imagine and try harder than you can believe to help these youth but their hands are tied. They aren't given any support from administration or any tools to control discipline in the classroom and without that, especially with students such as these, there isn't much educating happening. The kids are going home anyway and they just love to disrupt all they can before they get out. This is definately a "walk in the other man's shoes" type of situation. It's so chaotic that one can't even describe it so someone who doesn't deal with it could understand. You can bring them by dorm, by grade level, by how tall they are, by whatever you want but until there is some actual discipline allowed in the classroom or the teachers are allowed to remove the disruptive students for the period so they can help those that want to, there is going to be little educating going on any way you want to look at it. One thing I don't understand is that if the pay is so good and they don't have to do anything, why are there teaching jobs posted and not being filled? I'll tell you. The people who teach "regular" school aren't as un-informed as some of the posters on here seem to be. Despite all those claims, the TYC teachers are good people who work hard and really care about their students and hang in there even when they know they aren't going to get any support for the good of the kids. When they get just 1 good report, they have a tendency to forget all the other problems and realize that they at least helped that one child and keep plugging on.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that all three of the teachers interviewed in the DMN article on TYC education no longer work for TYC! I wonder what a currently employed teacher would say in the same interview. Oops, how silly of me...if they did speak they would no longer be employed would they?

Anonymous said...

How about this one??? You get notified that you will be given 3 brand new "designer" polo shirts (short sleeved no less)and YOU must suck it up and go buy your black pants and black shoes. This disturbs you at first and then you decide to go ahead and dip into your children's Christmas fund and go out and buy yourself some brand new black jeans and couldn't believe your luck that someone actually had your size. By the way, I don't know how you're going to ever stay warm in those 100% cotton short-sleeved polos. Anyway, you return to work on Monday only to find that there was an email sent out on Friday after 7pm that you must be ready to go on Monday Nov. 12th with the polo shirt, black shoes and black SLACKS. Oh no, you've already washed the nice black jeans and now you can't take them back. Someone is finally stupid (I mean brave) enough to get it clarified and sure enough, GWAN the supt., in all her infinite wisdom, has decided that you can wear any type of black pants (dress, slacks, bdu's, etc) but black jeans will not be allowed. Now what do I do? The budget didn't even allow for the first set of black jeans I bought trying to comply and now I find out they won't be allowed. Do these people ever think past one simple thought at a time. Silly me, I work for TYC. Of course they don't. Do you think they'll give me a loan so I can actually go to work on Nov. 12 wearing the correct clothing (if they'll ever make up their mind in the first place). I'm afraid to go in my nice new black jeans and can't afford to buy anything else. But if I don't show up on Monday, I'm sure to be fired. I could call in sick, but I don't have much of that left with the kids getting colds, etc and having to stay home from school. I can't call in sick until my next paycheck. What's a good TYC employee to do???? Speak up employees at other facilities. Are you going to be allowed to wear black jeans or is this just one of those local policies they pull out of their......heads?

Anonymous said...

As far as I understand,only black slacks. Even the auto tech, welding, and other vocational teachers have to wear black slacks. Unbelievable!

Anonymous said...

It makes no sence. Black "jeans" are out here too. GSS

Anonymous said...

Yep, black jeans are a no no, but on our campus beleive me some will get away with it and others will be wrote up for it. Most do not even have the shirts yet, but the lucky ones who got these god awful looking non fitting pieces of crap are having to wear them.
I say TYC, if you are telling us to Wear this ugly non-fitting crap then you better besure ALL has them where they FIT OR NOT, because we are ready to stop wearing it until EVERYONE ON CAMPUS is in UNIFORM!
If I had to spend my money on black pants and shoes then I expect my co workers no matter what they do or what dept they work in to be spending their money also.

Anonymous said...

It's the same old crap everywhere. We've had the same situation at VFCA since Donald Brooks took over. He is adamant that everyone be in dress code including caps, boots, etc. and then you see him or our former Asst. Supt. walking around outside without their caps or back and forth in street clothing on a day when they aren't travelling or a day they have declared a "non-uniform" day. Can someone say "feeling special" or "do as I say and not as I do"? I used to think all staff except the admin staff were only treated like crap here and after reading on here, I've come to realize that they must all be in one big fraternity and lie and cover for each other throughout the agency and think nothing of their staff or the families of the staff.

Unknown said...

I see the problems of TYC educational programs as not too different from the public schools in Texas in general. Both continue to turn out illerate and semi-literates who are years behind average national levels. Unfortunately, these people end up either unemployed, in prison, or in some other terrible situation, or, now too often, providing services and goods to the public--that is, defective ones. You see these people at your doctor's office or your hospital repeatedly getting things wrong, or in various other positions where they can't speak clearly, read or write, and they repeatedly blow your mind. It's time to do something about this kind of educational crap. If TYC cannot meet minimum standards in providing teachers and appropriate age graded and special education services, its education program needs to be shut down until it can. Otherwise, good taxpayer money is going for nothing. Children at educational disadvantage like TYC has really need small classes at their level of instruction instead of mixed, larger ones to concentrate on remediating their educational deficencies. Anything else really won't work. Let's cut out all the faking and get down to work to make TYC successful in life and able to contribute to their communities, or kick some ass over at TYC until taxpayers get what they want. A TYC high school diploma or GED certificate should guarantee that a student is truly high school level, not sixth grade or less as currently is the practice.

Anonymous said...

I say we go with a plan someone put on another discussion on this site, boycott the dress code by calling in sick on November 12th. The other blogger said the 11th, but if all JCOs call in sick on 11/12, we can get doctor's notes,since it is a weekday, and TYC will have to honor them. Every single JCO call in sick on November 12th, and let Pope and her cronies figure out how to cover the Units. This will send a clear and loud message that we don't want the dress code, and we are tired of being crapped on. In fact, maybe all staff should call in on 11/12, and send a message to the Lege and Gov. that we as TYC employees are tired of being mistreated and intimidated by the current leadership in Central Office, and a change has to be made. They can't fire all of us, who will run the place. Pass it around, send a message to Pope on 11/12.

Anonymous said...

8:02 I agree with you. It is sad. Public schools are turning out these same people also. Its not just tyc as you said.
The main problem is that the student has to want to learn as well. You can lead a horse to water but you can not make him drink as the saying goes. It takes the teacher and the child working for the same goal.
In public school it takes the same and the parents behind the kids to support the learning process from the pre school thru graduation. No one person is responsible for someone not willing to learn.
I have a sister who teaches in the Houston school district and she is constantly saying that the students in the elementary grade she teaches, just do not want to learn and behavior is the main focus in classrooms. You can not control the kids because the parents will not allow it and schools are afraid of being sued.
Its just a no win situation at this point. The public has to give the control back to the schools like they did in the 60's. Back then you did not back talk a teacher or principal and call them bitches and tell them to shut their fu--- mouth. But kids now days do even at the kindergarten level.
I don't think we can blame teachers in TYC either. The whole system is screwed and that is what we need to fix. In TYC we need to fix the classroom sizes and get rid of those who are burned out and do not want to do anything but draw a check. I agree there are many teachers that fit that scernio in TYC and many that truly try to help the kids.

Anonymous said...

Make sure if you call in sick on the 11th or the 12th you go to your doctor or dentist and get a note excusing this absence. As long as you have a note from either you will be covered, regardless.

Anonymous said...

Those of you who are going to call in with blue flu on the 1th and 12th, don't come back on here whining when you get fired for misuse of sick leave...remember we are at will now..previous policies don't hold water.
I can't believe that you would put your fellow employees in such danger by making those who stick it out work under such conditions. You would be the first ones to bitch if they did it to you.
Be glad you still have a job and not out on the streets like those that are getting rifted on Dec. 1

Anonymous said...

Thanks 10:45, you must be Pope or one of her cronies that will have to cover on 11/12. Have fun.

Anonymous said...

Who is being riffed on Dec 1?

Anonymous said...

As long as you have a doctors note, at will or not does not mean shit.

Anonymous said...

The only people who will be effected by a sick out will be the staff that have to stay and cover for you. The only people reading these blog comments are TYC people. No one else gives a crap about your problems. The calvary ain't coming. You can suck it up and do your job, or walk away. Those are the only choices. If you're at one of the "rural" schools out west a sick out will probably just expedite closure.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the typical CO (i.e. Pope crony) response. We would expect nothing less from you. All of you that care about the future of TYC need to go for the 11/12, take a day of sick leave and send a message to the Pope campaign. This is the only way to get our message across to everyone in the State.

Anonymous said...

If all the staff call in, it won't effect anyone, but Pope. If you choose to go to work on that day, you will probably have to cover for someone, that's why all staff need to do it.

Anonymous said...

No, I'm not a Pope cronie. I have worked for tyc for 9 years and hope to work a whole lot longer. I simply know that you will never get everyone to not come to work, you will only endanger those who do.
Either go to work or go home! I chose to go to work. I like my health and dental insurance. Those out there without that are in trouble and if you don't have a job either, well, it will be your own fault.
All this crap about rural areas having less people in the area to work,,,,we will be the ones working long after the rest of you. We don't have other jobs to go to..and really like the good wage we get

Anonymous said...

Keep talking that way, and you will bein Central Office in no time, albeit standing in line to lay a big smoooch on the Pope's butt. Enjoy.

Anonymous said...

I can understand why TYC employees are angry about the new dress code policy. They should be! It is costing the state at least $100,000 (probably more) for the TYC polo shirts they are providing to all employees (estimated number of TYC employee: a whopping 3,500 state wide), many in outlandish colors that most would not want to be caught anywhere in. Professional staff (including teachers, social workers, school diagnosticians, and psychologists) are required to wear polo shirts of a "pumpkin yellow" color, the same color as halloween pumpkins, which is somewhere between yellow and orange. Together with the black pants and black shoes also being required, TYC professional staff will be dressed in something like a halloween costume (pumpkin and black are traditional halloween colors), but not appropriately for their positions. Professionals need to present themselves to the public in ways that are consistent with their positions. Who would go to a doctor who dressed in cutoffs and bluejeans at the office, or in some kind of halloween outfit like TYC professional staff are now required to wear? There is also the probem of employee morale. Women staff in particular are angry about the "uggg!" style of dress required of them. To tell the truth, everyone's self-image depends to a large extent on the way we look, and we choose our clothes to maximiize our image. I have heard that some TYC professional staff are embarassed to go anywhere in public in their "halloween outfits". The inappropriate outfits also creates the wrong impression with the public when TYC is trying to recover from scandals earlier this year. How can TYC employees expect the public to treat them as more than "clowns" and "child abusers" if they follow the dress code? For employees working on the dorms who earn marginal salaries, the new dress code imposes unnecessary financial hardships, coming as it does following the termination of over-time pay when many are required to work overtime to provide coverage due to insufficient staff. Dorm staff are now expected to "donate" overtime hours!!! I agree that all of this is outrageous and action needs to be taken. Instead of a "sick in" on Nov. 11 or 12, as others have proposed, however, which would result in many employees on marginal incomes being terminated, I suggest a legal demonstration at the TYC central office. This could be joined by juvenile justice advocacy groups in this state (see Mary Jane Ramirez article on TYC in the "Dallas Morning News" for the name of such a group). The press could be notified of the demonstration, and wide coverage provided of the problems of the dress code and other TYC problems. TYC has been receiving wide-spread negative reviews in the press of late, and much more of the same will likely bring down Dimitria Pope, Executive Director, and "Broncho" Billy Humphreys, her assistant, who make the terrible decisions being complained about. How about something that is a real kick in the ass to TYC central office for a change instead of employees doing something that would hurt themselves?

Anonymous said...

I still do not understand where you people get off saying a person can be terminate for calling in sick AND having a doctors excuse????

I am hoping the folks saying this are not educated ones because this would really be sad. Please read PRS polices regarding sick leave.

NOW if an employee states he/she is not coming to work for some reason other than sick, then they could have some issues.

But really, I do not see a major call out these dates (Nov-11th or 12th), TYC staff have always talked big and carry little sticks.

Anonymous said...

Can you just get a doctor's excuse at your whim when you're not sick?

Anonymous said...

YES YOU CAN, just try it and see?

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right my fellow TDCJer, they have always talked big and carried little sticks. Too bad, if they all went through with some sort of demonstration or sick out, it would definitely enlarge that stick. It will be fun to see what happens.

Anonymous said...

I don't get it. You people are always talking about ethics and honesty. Where are your ethics when you talk about going to a doctor getting a note to miss work when you know damn well you're not sick. And if you think you can't get fired because you have a doctor's note, think again. Policy, you say? Read the policy on dress code and see if our beautiful new shirts and black slacks conforms - it doesn't. I would advise you to go to work

Anonymous said...

Bob whooooooooooooooooooooo HA HA HA HA HA HA He is a wimp!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

DaPope pontificated quite clearly that she doesn't care about policy!

If she is willing to break the law, in the face of a judge, what makes you think she won't fire you even if you have a Dr.'s note.

Next point is very important so pay very close attention my little sweet peas: It does not mean shit what note you have or whom it is that gave it to you in an "at will" state.

You can be fired for passing gas that offends your boss. The only time you have a recourse is if you can prove a violation of a protected group status.

In other words, I fired you because you're black, female, or disabled.


With a strong anti: male, strong female, you'll do it my way, anti white person in office like DaPope you only have 2 choices:

1. Stay and kiss her big black ass. This may seem unreasonable to some but please think of the available opportunities. With an ass that big it would take until you're second retirement to get even close to giving her a rim job and that would be as close as most of us peons would ever get to madden's lips.


2. Reach down, do a package check, find a new job with a boss that's a descent human being.

You have no other recourse.

The policies mean nothing!The laws of TEXAS are stacked against you. If you really want to understand what I'm saying then please look up the definition of "at will employment".

I believe Websters will have a picture of DaPope bouncing up and down behind a bent over TYC employee while screaming: "Where's DaPepper, Gimme DaPepper!

An included footnote will read:

"OOH, Oh yeah baby, you want overtime. I'll give you overtime. Just call me Bubbett. Open wide!

Anonymous said...

They can't fire all of us, her big black ass won't work a floor.

Anonymous said...

Scott: please remove 11:03's offensive comment. It serves no purpose other than to extend the "them against us" mentality. My skinny/obese white/brown ass/feet can work only so many shifts for so many days/nights. I choose to believe my brothers/sisters will back me without regard to the color or size of my ass when central office fails me.