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The Delphi Technique in Texas

December 29, 2004

[The following article is one state's experience of how federal Goals 2000 money created standards in the states that comply with the federal curriculum (the national standards). The same scenario has been replicated in each state in the union, leaving only a facade of states writing their own standards and aligned assessments.  EdWatch]

"The Delphi Technique in Texas"
by Donna Garner
December 13, 2004

When the Texas Education Agency orchestrated the writing of the public school curriculum standards (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills -- TEKS -- adopted in July 1997), the Delphi Technique was used on the writing team members.  I, as one of the writing team members for the English / Language Arts / Reading (ELAR) standards, experienced the Delphi Technique up-close and personal.

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) staff was trained in the Delphi Technique by the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) at a pricetag of $1.5M.  The Texas State Board of Education never approved the large expenditure by the TEA to NCEE. 

A professional consensus-builder from Washington, D. C. was hired to manipulate our English / Language Arts / Reading writing team. Representatives from the Chief State School Officers were brought in to our meetings, plus there were other various and sundry individuals at every table -- to the right of us, to the left of us, all around us.  We never really knew who these people were, but they would hardly let us go to the bathroom by ourselves.

The "lightning rods" (such as myself) were immediately located, and we were put through various psychological strategies.  First, the facilitators tried appealing to our egos.  When that didn't work, they tried peer pressure.  Then we were labeled as "the bad guys" and were treated with disdain and downright antipathy.  Soon the other writing team members didn't want to be around us because we were considered the troublemakers. 

Entire article may be viewed here.