Pat Hardy of Fort Worth has served on the Texas State Board of Education since 2002. She has been re-elected five times. A Republican, she has more than 30 years’ experience in education.
She has received a bushel basket full of honors and awards along the way.
Hardy was one of four Republicans on the state board who joined with four Democrats on June 14 in voting to reject the application of Soner Tarim to open new charter schools in Austin.
(Tarim owns Unity School Services which has management contracts with Woodland Prep in Washington County and LEAD Academy in Montgomery.)
While she does not oppose all charter schools, she has great reservations about Tarim’s record with charters and his motivation for being involved in education.
This was apparent on June 14 when she asked Tarim if his schools used Common Core standards, which, by Texas law, is illegal there.
Tarim assured her that they did not and even said that Common Core was a “dirty word” and that his standards were “all Texas.” Then Hardy pointed out that Harmony charters, where Tarim was CEO for years, received a $30 million “Race to The Top” grant from the U.S. Department of Education and that in order to get this money, the recipient had to use Common Core.
Suddenly, Tarim looked like the cat that was caught swallowing the canary.
When I explained to Hardy that Tarim is involved with Woodland Prep and LEAD Academy, she was dumbfounded and wondered how well folks in Alabama have done their homework.
Lots of people in Alabama wonder the same thing.
Supposedly the staff of the state charter commission made one phone call to Texas to vet Tarim. It’s for sure they did not call Pat Hardy.
Anyone who listened on June 7 when Tarim appeared before the charter commission would have to join Hardy in being skeptical of him. Time after time, both he and Woodland Prep supporters, gave out false information and were never challenged.
In fact, at the state school board work session on June 13, an assistant state superintendent who attended the charter commission meeting, talked about what a good job the commission did in questioning Woodland Prep.
He even stressed that a commission member “read the riot act” to Woodland Prep that they could not miss deadlines. This is amazing in light of the deadlines they have already missed—and not been held accountable.
It would all be laughable—if it wasn’t involving children.