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"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandela

Common Core Faction Tries to Take Over Texas’ English Standards
By Carole Hornsby Haynes  | January 30, 2017   Texas Insider

It seems that Texas is an ongoing battle ground for K-12 standards reviews.  We’re still in a war to get the Common Core process standards stripped out of the math standards  adopted in 2012.  Now the English standards review seems headed for a shootout at this week’s State Board of Education (SBOE) meeting.

In recent months, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) appointed  panels to review and revise where necessary the current English/Language Arts/Reading (ELAR) K-12 standards. However, these committees seem to have ignored their mandate and, instead, went out on a wild rewriting spree.

The teams eliminated the literary/historical content in the current standards (dating back to 2008) in order to make new standards that are Common Core-compliant and suitable for Common Core-aligned tests.  Rather than revising only where necessary, the teams changed the current standards into overwhelming minutia and an endless number of phrases, as you can see in the “Side by Side Documents.”   

To add further confusion, the rewrite teams changed the clearly worded strands in 2008 to nebulous phrases that require major mind-reading to understand the objective. So much for helping teachers!

In July 2016, the review panels submitted their final draft to the SBOE, followed by much backlash from the public.  At that point, five experts were chosen by the SBOE to address the problems in the July drafts, the chief problems being at the high school level (a lack of literary/historical content and no developmental progressions).  One of these experts was Sandra Stotsky, former Deputy Commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Education and nationally known English Language Arts standards expert, who is now retired from the University of Arkansas.

On December 16th the experts submitted their recommendations for strengthening the July draft to the SBOE.

As expected, those who are determined to foist Common Core-compliant English standards on Texas kids are not going quietly away into the night.  They are claiming that the five experts were supposed to tweak the July draft but, instead, did a massive revision.  There is no truth to their claim.  They are simply trying to deflect attention from the fact that the original committee did such a massive rewrite with the July draft, leaving  the standards in such a poor state—especially at the high school level—that five experts had to be chosen to repair the damage to the extent they could.

The SBOE rightly asked experts to strengthen the July ELAR draft and deserve praise for their decision.  

During the SBOE meeting this week the “new” document is being released.  The intention is for it to replace the official December draft of the experts as the “working document.”

The SBOE has the official document from the experts and must stay on track with this document in working toward a strong set of English standards for Texas.  They must not allow a takeover of the Texas English standards review by those who seek to impose Common Core-compliant standards on Texas.

What you can do:
•    Call or write your SBOE representative and Chair Donna Bahorich.  Tell them to work with the December 16th document of the experts and not allow the review process to be derailed.

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