SBOE Preview: What’s on the April Agenda & What’s Conspicuously Not 

While the rest of Texas basks in the total eclipse afterglow, the State Board of Education (SBOE) will begin its regular meeting in Austin on Tuesday, April 9. The agenda appears light after the time-consuming and complex rulemaking related to HB 1605 that has dominated many of the last several SBOE meetings.  

After a bit of a stall, the board will take up the English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS). These are cross-curricular standards that every Texas teacher is expected to implement in their classrooms alongside the content-area Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).

Texas Education Agency staff is expected to provide an update on the Instructional Materials Review and Adoption (IMRA) process for the first round of mathematics and English and Spanish language arts. The board will also discuss their review schedule for other content areas and how that will impact upcoming rubric development and IMRA processes.  

Wednesday will begin with the standing item of comments from Commissioner Mike Morath. The board is also expected to give final approval to several career and technical education courses, as well as the updated Texas State Plan for Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). 

In the Committee on Instruction, we will watch the items related to dyslexia instruction, the dyslexia handbook, and innovative courses. The Committee on School Initiatives will take up approval of recent SBEC rulemaking on educator preparation and assessment. We also expect to hear an update on the Generation 29 charter application cycle. The agency is scheduled to name those applicants making it through to the capacity interview phase on April 15, and we will provide a more thorough look at this process in our recap of the meeting.  

Two significant items are not on the board’s agenda: BlackRock and the American Indian/Native Studies course.  

We wrote last week about the $8.5 billion BlackRock divestment from the Permanent School Fund (PSF). Given the media coverage of this unexpected move, we expected an item on the agenda to publicly address the concerns raised by Chair Aaron Kinsey’s actions. But no such item appeared. Don’t worry: we have you covered. This week, Texas AFT launched a campaign asking the board to put investing in schools over political gamesmanship.  

Also not appearing for the second meeting in a row is the American Indian/Native Studies course. This course has been in development for more than three years and is currently approved as an elective credit through the Innovative Courses program. Should the SBOE choose to review and adopt the course into the TEKS for social studies, it would be the first of its kind for high school students nationwide.  

Ethnic studies advocates are understandably frustrated by this continued inaction by the SBOE. Course writers are eager to engage in broader discussions about course content and make adjustments where needed. However, the omission of the course from the agenda means that the discussion will not even take place. You can show your support for the course by signing a petition from the Ethnic Studies Coalition.   

Look for a complete recap of the SBOE meeting in a future edition of the Hotline.