Texas State Board of Education Turns Back Common Core Effort, Stands Firm on English Standards
By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D. | February 8, 2017 Texas Insider
For the past tumultuous year and a half, the Texas English language arts and reading (ELAR) curriculum standards (TEKS) have been under review – actually rewritten rather than reviewed as the panel was instructed.
A small faction attempted to hijack the current standards approved in 2008 by eliminating the literary/historical content to create new standards that are Common Core-compliant and suitable for Common Core-aligned tests.
Their final draft in July 2016 drew such heavy public criticism that the Texas State Board of Education selected a team of five experts to address the problems. The experts submitted their final draft in December 2016.
Not to be outdone, the Common Core faction submitted a “new” document to the SBOE at the January meeting, asking that this be considered the “working document” instead of the experts’ December draft.
To their credit, the SBOE stood firm that the new English standards would follow the experts’ recommendations. The SBOE added a number of excellent amendments to further strengthen the experts’ draft recommendations, including:
• Cursive writing,
• Teaching of American and British literature,
• Phonemic awareness,
• Decoding skills (phonics),
• Research writing, and
• Expository / persuasive writing.
On February 3rd, after lengthy discussion and review, the SBOE gave preliminary approval for the revised ELAR standards for grades K-8.
The Second Reading for final adoption will be at the April 18-21 meeting. If approved at that time, the new K-8 standards will become effective in school year 2019-2020, replacing the 2008 approved standards.
The preliminary vote for grades 9-12 standards was postponed until the April meeting with the Second Reading for final adoption at the June 20-23 meeting.
The public is urged to submit concerns and changes to SBOE members.
• for grades K-8 from now until April meeting
• for grades 9-12 between April and June meetings