Topic: Curriculum

Next Steps on Charter Schools, Science Texts

The week's action at the State Board of Education closed with a preview of next steps toward approval of applicants for new charters and adoption of new science textbooks. SBOE members were invited to advise Texas Education Agency staff of their "disposition" toward charter applicants by September 25. The staffers in turn will relay those views to the commissioner of...

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Texas AFT Sounds Cautionary Note on New Graduation Options: lllusion or Reality?

At the September 17 State Board of Education hearing on how to implement new graduation options under HB 5, Texas AFT legislative counsel Patty Quinzi sounded a cautionary note regarding the capacity of school districts to make those new options a reality. First, she noted, “the legislature provided schools with no new funding to add new academic programs or to...

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Biology Texts Once Again in Dispute at State Board of Education

Science textbooks are up for adoption by the State Board of Education, and the Board spent a good part of September 17 taking public testimony on biology texts, which once again are the target of attacks from devotees of religion-based “creation science.” Their testimony was strongly contested by advocates of genuinely science-based instruction in biology, including evolution. The "creation science"...

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State Board Hears Testimony on Graduation Requirements, Science Texts

The State Board of Education will hear testimony tomorrow on impending changes in state graduation requirements and on the adoption of new science textbooks. Texas AFT will be there to stand up for equity in access to the high-quality courses needed to prepare graduates for college and career, and we also will stand with allies for sound science textbooks, untainted...

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Hearing Airs Issues, Real and Contrived, with CSCOPE

A committee of the State Board of Education met in Austin today to hear testimony on the CSCOPE curriculum-management system that has been the subject of so much controversy and criticism this year. Judging by today’s testimony, the controversy has been overblown. Only a handful of critics showed up to speak. Most testimony (especially from educators) stressed the usefulness of...

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Texas Science Textbooks Targeted by Creationists

Courts across the land repeatedly have rejected attempts to inject religious theories of divine creation into science texts, but that doesn’t stop folks from trying anew, especially at our State Board of Education. So sure enough, in the latest round of evaluations of proposed textbooks by the State Board, individuals appointed as reviewers by individual Board members have criticized some...

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Tell the State Board of Ed: Stand Up For Science!

Texas AFT urges you to sign a timely petition drawn up by our friends at the Texas Freedom Network in support of sound science instruction. Here’s TFN’s take on why this show of support is needed now to nudge the State Board of Education in the right direction: “The state board has already begun working on its once-a-decade adoption of...

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Texas Education Agency Points to New Law on Adoption of Curriculum Initiatives Like CSCOPE

Texas Commissioner of Education Michael Williams today reminded school districts that the legislature enacted a new law in June mandating local airing of issues surrounding the adoption of a major curriculum initiative or “curriculum management system” like CSCOPE. That particular curriculum system, replete with exemplar lesson plans to help bridge the gap between state curriculum guidelines and day-by-day classroom instruction,...

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Tune in to CSCOPE Debate Online Saturday at 6:30 PM

Coming up on Saturday, August 24, at 6:30 pm is the much-anticipated debate between Thomas Ratliff, a Republican member of the State Board of Education from Mount Pleasant, and Sen. Dan Patrick, a Republican state senator from Houston, on the pros and cons of the CSCOPE curriculum-management system. Video of the debate will be live-streamed. CSCOPE has been reviled by...

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Going Overboard Over CSCOPE Lesson Plans

The CSCOPE curriculum-management system, developed as a service sold to school districts by a consortium of the state's regional educational service centers, is going out of business this month after coming under fire for multiple reasons. Parents and some lawmakers complained that it was too hard to gain access to CSCOPE's proprietary array of sample lesson plans, supplied to show...

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In Case You Wondered, “Common Core” Does Not Apply in Texas

The U.S. Department of Education has made a strong effort to encourage states to adopt so-called “Common Core” national curriculum standards. Some 45 states have done so. But Texas is not one of them. The other holdouts are Alaska, Nebraska, Virginia, and—partially—Minnesota. The Common Core project has become increasingly controversial as states implement tests and teacher evaluations tied to the...

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