• Report: #484569

Complaint Review: Texas Teachers Org

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  • Submitted: Mon, August 24, 2009
  • Updated: Tue, July 03, 2012

  • Reported By: John — Houston Texas USA
Texas Teachers Org
http://www.texasteachers.org Internet United States of America

Texas Teachers Org A+ Texas Teachers Alternative Certification Teacher Unfair Prejudiced Discharge Internet

*Consumer Comment: Bitterness and the Internet age

*Author of original report: Benthall: Texas Teachers has you to thank for being a disaster!

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When I joined Texas Teachers (a.k.a. A+ Texas Teachers) in 2006, it was to become a certified teacher of mathematics. I found that in order to become certified with Texas Teachers (TT), one must pass the content (codes 115 and 135) and pedagogy (code EC-12) exams required by the state. These I took and passed the first time around.

Texas Teachers requires its candidates to attend a 2 week training course in classroom management, lesson preparation, etc. The course I attended was a complete waste of time, not to mention an annoyance of extreme proportions. The main speaker, Mark Benthall, chuckled through his presentations, meandered through religion, joked about his wife and repeated himself constantly. Other delegates characterized Benthall as a narrow-minded, bigoted, religious dimwit.

He finally settled on the only redeeming feature of his discourse, the Harry Wong tapes. Furthermore, according to Benthall, Wong's book First Days of School was one of the most, if not, the most important teaching book ever written.

Although Wong's ideas may have had relevance when the book came out, they are neither relevant today nor useful in the classrooms I have observed, which seemed more like zoos than places of learning.

The next speaker was not much better, but at least her voice was not as annoying as his. I do not recall her name but remember she repeatedly talked about her Ph.D. in elementary school education, I think.

Over 300 delegates packed the conference room like sardines. The microphone volume was so loud I had to sit outside most of the time because it hurt my eardrums.

I complained to the TT CEO Vernon Reaser, who at the time informed me he would refund my $400 if I just took the money and left. I explained to Reaser that I was serious about teaching, but he seemed determined to get rid of me. Nevertheless, I persisted. After asking me what subject I was planning to teach, he relented and allowed me to continue. I wondered if Reaser would have relented had I not taken and passed the mathematics content exams; math teachers are highly sought after or so I was told. Otherwise, perhaps he would have terminated my candidacy right there and then.

At any rate, after some months I was offered my first teaching job at Hastings in Alief ISD. I was given remedial ninth graders who had no discipline whatsoever. The conditions at this school were shocking but nothing compared to what I would find later whilst substituting in Spring and Houston school districts. I resigned after two and a half days. I hope the rumors are true that Hastings has since then turned itself around by becoming something similar to a cadet academy.

I called Texas Teachers and explained that I had resigned. No one had a problem, on the contrary I was told to continue my candidacy.

Trying to teach in America's public schools:

After substitute teaching for a while, I decided that all I really wanted to teach was senior level mathematics such as calculus, pre-calculus, advanced algebra, etc. I would not deal with ill-behaved, disrespectful, immature students who seemed to constitute America's system of education. Control of the classroom has to a large extent been wrested from the educator.

Educators have researched teaching methods that are supposedly effective. These same methods have ruined education in the United States public school system. Among the top research fallacies is that a classroom is supposed to be student-centered. If this be the case, then why have a professional educator at all, when someone less qualified could do just as well?

Unfortunately the removal of corporal punishment has also undermined students respect for authority. Students swear and curse at their educators. Students disobey every rule and law knowing full-well that they cannot be expelled indefinitely from a public school.

Another research fallacy, cooperative learning in its various forms is equally unreasonable. This idea has caused immeasurable damage which shall linger for many years to come.

Can students teach one another anything substantial? In the first place, do they have the discipline once they get into groups to make learning the top priority? Next, is any student competent enough to make an impact on the others? Finally, how much time and effort is wasted when a teacher could be transferring knowledge and ideas?

The common retort is that positive expectations will influence students to engage themselves in the lesson appropriately.

What I have observed even in experienced teachers classrooms is as follows: students talk about anything but the task at hand. They waste time and fool around only to leave the classroom having accomplished little or nothing.

At no time in my association with TT was I in any way prepared or advised on how to deal with these realities.

The following year I accepted a position at West Sabine high school to teach calculus and a dual-credit college algebra course. The principal at the time, Susan Jackson, who is no longer employed at the school, misrepresented the state of affairs to me.

She informed me that her students were well-behaved and posed little or no discipline issues. Jackson asked me to teach calculus and a dual-credit algebra course. However, her students were not remotely ready for precalculus, let alone calculus or dual-credit courses. Nor were their algebra skills anywhere near the required level. Yet not even one student had less than an A+ on his report when I arrived at West Sabine. Principal Jackson informed me that at her school no student ever scored lower than 70% because if one did, that student was to receive a minimum grade of 70%. Jackson also stated I would not be able to give the students homework because the kids like to go fishing and play sports in the afternoon. I never agreed to this, so we settled on a compromise where I would not give the students more than 5-10 exercises for homework.

After an incident with an irate parent, who saw fit to curse and use abusive language toward me in Jacksons presence about some imagined injustice to her daughter (the daughter was under the impression I had chosen to make her an example, but I had in fact reprimanded the entire class), Jackson informed me that I could expect other parents to curse me and I would have to grin and bear it. I explained to her I would not stand for such behavior and resigned. The school counselor and certain administrators were decent and respectful people. They expressed agreement with my cause and were sorry to see me leave. One administrator even mentioned this in an email to me.

Aside from these individuals, the attitude of the locals in West Sabine and surrounding areas leaves much to be desired. My landlord called them bigots and morons. Another teacher once used the phrase "retarded in-breeds", to which Principal Jackson took offense.

I explained all this in an email to Texas Teachers.

About a year later, I received a letter in the mail from Texas Teachers informing me that I had been discharged and would not be allowed back into the program.

I called Texas Teachers to ask why they had discharged me. Linley Dieringer, who signed the letter, informed me that she had received a communication from West Sabine ISD to the effect I was fired or terminated from the district. I explained to her that this was not the case, that I had in fact resigned and was neither fired nor terminated. I called West Sabine ISD and spoke to an administrator who informed me she had conveyed the fact of my resignation to Dieringer via telephone. Dieringer did not return my call as she had promised. I began to wonder what was going on.

Later that day, their lawyer in Austin apologized on TT's behalf but informed me I would remain discharged because although I had resigned from West Sabine a year ago, they treat resignation and termination the same; that is, both result in discharge. My immediate reaction was to question, first of all, why it took so long to convey this information and second of all, why had I not been discharged when I resigned from Alief ISD. He gave no response.

My hands are now tied. A Houston ISD Alternative Certification Program advisor has informed me that if I want to be considered for another Alternative Certification Program, I would require a letter from TT stating I left in good standing. I am now at the mercy of TT. Why should my relationship with TT have anything to do with another AC program?

The dumbest people I have ever worked with, are those in public education. Incompetence and dysfunction in America's public schools have become art forms.

Most principals and administrators are lethargic beyond belief, not to mention incompetent and ignorant. The same can be said for teachers with few exceptions. These exceptions usually leave the field of education for new careers within the first five years.

If America's schools are to survive, all education employees should be reevaluated. Those found to be incompetent should be recorded, sacked and never rehired.

What astounds me is that the same idiots who have failed to deliver education, are the very ones in charge of acquiring and training new teachers.

TT is a for-profit organization that does not give a hoot as long as candidates pay their fees and roll off its certification production line. The courses and seminars are not only a waste of time, but an insult to anyone with a modicum of intelligence. One of the seminars I attended was called "The ten brains of learning". I doubt if there is one brain in all of Texas Teachers, never mind ten.

If you hope to become a teacher, beware of Texas Teachers ACP. They are not worth a dime, never mind the $400 fee for the two week course, nor the $400 per month they deduct from your salary during your internship. Finally, should you have a falling out with Texas Teachers ACP, consider your teaching career over because other ACPs require letters of recommendation from your previous ACP and they hold all the cards.


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/24/2009 08:34 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Texas-Teachers-Org/internet/Texas-Teachers-Org-A-Texas-Teachers-Alternative-Certification-Teacher-Unfair-Prejudiced-D-484569. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Bitterness and the Internet age

AUTHOR: JP - (United States of America)

Let me tell you that while I cannot comment on everything in this man's letter I will tell you this... The part about the training from Harry Wong to Mark Benthall to Vernon from Texas Teachers is not characteristic of the training I just experienced last week, and I believe that most anyone who reads this article with even a cursory reading will see a bitter, angry person who has probably been hurt in
life much more deeply and profoundly by something much closer to them than this teaching stuff.

First off, Harry Wong's teaching is time honored and teachers I know swear by him and his methods despite it being from the 80's, and as Harry himself says in his lectures, everything he is telling us he got from high performing teachers so he is not reinventing the wheel. Although not a teacher myself, I do spend time in classrooms all over the great state of Texas motivating students from all walks of life and backgrounds, and found that I was already using some of the things he was saying because they were common sense - especially for those of us who are introspective and lean on the side of global thinking. I have no training in the teaching world, and my degree is in psychology with an emphasis on research and found his lectures invaluable.

Second, Vernon from Texas Teachers is a businessman with a plan, and not only was his segment helpful and entertaining, but he stayed afterwards to answer all the questions from the crowd and spent one on one time with everyone who wanted some extra guidance.

Lastly, we have this man's comments on Mark Benthall. I can only tell you this... Mark Benthall is inspiring, funny and kind. I do not know Mark personally and first read his name in this complaint
letter a few days before my classes were to start. Mark is the kind of man 2% of the world can't stand while 98% want to be adopted by him. He is perpetually happy and unashamedly goofy and sees the world through love lenses. Mr. Benthall's joy is infectious, and I can see how if you were a cynical person struggling to see through the grey of your life, you could find a technicolor man like Mr. Benthall to be nails on a chalkboard.  Through his lectures I have learned so much about teaching, young people, and how the ins and outs of the school system work that I feel very prepared to go out there and start changing kids' lives. He is an award winning 32 year teaching veteran who has been so highly thought of in the Austin area that a local TV station did a news piece on him. The calloused, insensitive accusations made by this man in both the letter and rebuttal do not reflect what I or my fellow students at my table experienced, and I think it's unfortunate that a person hurting like this man can lash out at an innocent teacher making a difference in young children's (Mark is an elementary school teacher) lives.

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#2 Author of original report

Benthall: Texas Teachers has you to thank for being a disaster!

AUTHOR: John - (USA)

You dear sir, are the reason many good teachers like myself don't get to teach. I am not so angry at you as I am at the incompetent fools who run Texas teachers. If Vernon Reaser had any brains at all, he would have fired you a long time ago. Even better, he should have found another job.

Mr. Benthall, I was one of those who stood outside of the auditorium and not once did you approach me or talk to me in person. As for those whom you supposedly "caught", hmm, I have no idea who they were.

Now, the statements made about you being a narrow minded and religious dimwit are true. Unfortunately you attract this sort of criticism by your behaviour.  You talked at length about your belief in Christ. Who cares? No one cares what you believe in. Very unprofessional. Just because you can get away with it does not make it right.

You had your wife filming the audience clapping for you. Did you later show these clips to Reaser to convince him how popular you "were" with the delegates? Do you still do this?

Chuckling and making jokes in a peeving tone is very annoying. You can only expect to retain low grade teachers like yourself. 

To all who read these reports: Do not be fooled. Alternative Certification programs are worthless. On the other hand, 2 year programs like San Jose State for secondary education and similar others are a SCAM.
It does not take 2 years to learn classroom management, lesson planning and assessment.

Want to learn how to teach? Go abroad. The USA is fast becoming a third world country. Thanks to bad education policies and states that are unfortunately allowed to do their own thing. Sad. Very sad.
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