Preview: State Board of Education’s November Meeting

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The State Board of Education (SBOE) will hold its regular meeting in Austin next week. We will be closely watching several items, with special focus on those related to proposed science textbooks, HB 1605 implementation, and ethnic studies courses. 

The SBOE will also hear general updates on the Generation 29 charter school application cycle and a preview of the State Board for Educator Certification meeting in December.

Proclamation 2024 & Science Textbooks

The meeting will begin Tuesday, Nov. 14, with a final decision on science textbooks submitted for  Proclamation 2024. In the past, the SBOE has largely accepted instructional materials that meet the requirements of law and rule, including a required percentage of TEKS coverage, leaving the question of overall quality and appropriateness to local districts.

However, it has come to our attention that special-interest groups friendly to the oil and gas industry have been calling for a rejection of materials that teach a so-called “radical” climate agenda.

Advocates who want to teach the truth about climate change will be advocating for the SBOE to approve materials that its statewide review panels have already determined meet the criteria for the review.

HB 1605 & Curriculum

Also on Tuesday, the SBOE will hear two items related to the implementation of House Bill (HB) 1605: the quality review rubrics and the suitability rubrics. We will be watching these conversations closely to determine that the instructional materials review process remains open and transparent, and involves those most deeply connected to student learning: our teachers.The suitability rubric will be of equal concern. On one hand it will be good to have a concrete definition for this previously nebulous term; however, we want to ensure that this does not become a backdoor to textbook censorship.

HB 900 & Book Bans

Speaking of censorship, a court has quietly allowed some of the work of implementing HB 900 to proceed despite the injunction against the bill. The Texas State Library and Archive Commission is accepting public comment on their collection development rules that the SBOE will approve, likely at their January meeting. The deadline to submit comments is Nov. 26. Our friends at Children’s Defense Fund Texas have put together a toolkit to help you submit those comments.

American Indian-Native Studies TEKS

On Wednesday, the board will hear a discussion item on the development of Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for the American Indian-Native Studies innovative course. At the last SBOE meeting in September, the Committee on Instruction recommended that this currently approved innovative course be brought to the full board for consideration to be added to the social studies TEKS.

This would be the third Ethnic Studies course, following Mexican American Studies and African American Studies, to be adopted into the TEKS and among the first of its kind in the nation.

We’ll provide a full recap of the meeting in an upcoming Hotline.