The Good, Bad, and Ugly from April 2017 Texas State Bd. of Ed. Meeting

Apr 23, 2017 by

“The Good, Bad, and Ugly from April 2017 Texas State Bd. of Ed. Meeting”

By Donna Garner





The majority of the Texas State Board of Education members in a vote of 9 to 5 (recorded vote on 4.21.17)  decided not to make any changes to the present Math TEKS (Texas’ curriculum standards).  This means Texas public school children will continue to be taught the same Common Core-like process standards that are creating deep confusion for students and destroying their love of math.


(Please see example given below with yellow highlighting.) The Math TEKS basically are formatted into three parts — the introduction (not shown below), the knowledge and skills statements (shown with cardinal numbers), and the content standards or student expectations (shown with capital letters A, B, C, etc.). 


Randy Houchins, a mechanical engineer, and other concerned parents have tried for years to get the SBOE to strip out the Common Core-like process standards from both the knowledge and skills statements and from the content standards.


The SBOE entertained a motion at this April meeting to strip out only the process standards language from the knowledge and skills statements even though Houchins et al. wanted the process standards language to be stripped from the content standards (student expectations) as well.   


When the final, recorded vote was taken on Friday, only 5 out of 15 SBOE members agreed to strip out the process standards language from the knowledge and skills statements. Since the motion did not pass, that means no changes will be made in the teaching of Common Core-like math in Texas.  


The SBOE did try to clarify one problematic issue. Texas math teachers who see the knowledge and skills process standards language at the top of the “tree” wrongly assume that students must master all of the content standards (shown in capital letters) underneath by utilizing the 7 process standards methods to solve a math problem. This is what has forced students to have to learn how to calculate 5 x 5 seven different ways, causing students great confusion. The Board made it clear that teachers do not have to teach to mastery each of the 7 process standards for each TEKS element.





TEK 3.1

(1)       Mathematical process standards. The student uses mathematical processes to acquire and demonstrate mathematical understanding. The student is expected to:

(A)      apply mathematics to problems arising in everyday life, society, and the workplace;

(B)       use a problem-solving model that incorporates analyzing given information, formulating a plan or strategy, determining a solution, justifying the solution, and evaluating the problem-solving process and the reasonableness of the solution;

(C)       select tools, including real objects, manipulatives, paper and pencil, and technology as appropriate, and techniques, including mental math, estimation, and number sense as appropriate, to solve problems;

(D)      communicate mathematical ideas, reasoning, and their implications using multiple representations, including symbols, diagrams, graphs, and language as appropriate;

(E)       create and use representations to organize, record, and communicate mathematical ideas;

(F)       analyze mathematical relationships to connect and communicate mathematical ideas; and

(G)      display, explain, and justify mathematical ideas and arguments using precise mathematical language in written or oral communication.


TEK 3.2         

(2)       Number and operations. The student applies mathematical process standards to represent and compare whole numbers and understand relationships related to place value. The student is expected to:

(A)      compose and decompose numbers up to 100,000 as a sum of so many ten thousands, so many thousands, so many hundreds, so many tens, and so many ones using objects, pictorial models, and numbers, including expanded notation as appropriate;


TEK 3.3         

(3)       Number and operations.  The student applies mathematical process standards to represent and explain fractional units.  The student is expected to:

(A)      represent fractions greater than zero and less than or equal to one with denominators of 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 using concrete objects and pictorial models, including strip diagrams and number lines;

(E)       solve problems involving partitioning an object or a set of objects among two or more recipients using pictorial representations of fractions with denominators of 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8;

(F)       represent equivalent fractions with denominators of 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 using a variety of objects and pictorial models, including number lines;

(G)      explain that two fractions are equivalent if and only if they are both represented by the same point on the number line or represent the same portion of a same size whole for an area model; and

(H)      compare two fractions having the same numerator or denominator in problems by reasoning about their sizes and justifying the conclusion using symbols, words, objects, and pictorial models.


TEK 3.4         

(4)       Number and operations.  The student applies mathematical process standards to develop and use strategies and methods for whole number computations in order to solve problems with efficiency and accuracy.  The student is expected to:

(E)       represent multiplication facts by using a variety of approaches such as repeated addition, equal-sized groups, arrays, area models, equal jumps on a number line, and skip counting;

(G)      use strategies and algorithms, including the standard algorithm, to multiply a two-digit number by a one-digit number. Strategies may include mental math, partial products, and the commutative, associative, and distributive properties;

(K)      solve one-step and two-step problems involving multiplication and division within 100 using strategies based on objects; pictorial models, including arrays, area models, and equal groups; properties of operations; or recall of facts.


TEK 3.5

(5)       Algebraic reasoning.  The student applies mathematical process standards to analyze and create patterns and relationships.  The student is expected to:

(A)      represent one- and two-step problems involving addition and subtraction of whole numbers to 1,000 using pictorial models, number lines, and equations;

(B)       represent and solve one- and two-step multiplication and division problems within          100 using arrays, strip diagrams, and equations;

(E)       solve problems involving partitioning an object or a set of objects among two or more recipients using pictorial representations of fractions with denominators of 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8;



Here is the recorded vote taken on Friday, April 21, 2017:


TEKS – Math – K – 12 – To remove content standards from the knowledge and skills statements: 



Allen                        No

Bahorich                 Did not vote

Beltran                    No

Bradley                   Yes

Cargill                      Yes

Cortez                      No

Ellis                           No

Hardy                       No

Maynard                 Yes

Melton-Malone     No

Mercer                    Yes

Miller                       Yes

Pérez                        No

Perez-Diaz              No

Rowley                    No


[Voters, if you have not supported strong conservative SBOE members in the SBOE elections, then you have nobody but yourselves to blame. Notice that only the conservative SBOE members listened to parents and voted to delete the Common Core-like process standards.]  


4.17.17 – Texas State Board of Education – Testimony by Randy Houchins on the Texas Math Standards (TEKS):



Link to Randy Houchins’ Power Point presentation to the SBOE (click on words highlighted in red):







The Second and final vote on the English / Language Arts / Reading (ELAR) TEKS for K – 8 was to have been taken on 4.21.17; but because of technical corrections that need to be made by the Texas Education Agency staff, the Second Reading vote will be taken at a specially called SBOE meeting on May 10, 2017.  However, no further public comments nor amendments will be allowed – just technical changes.


3.5.17 — “Pt. 2 of 2 — Texas Students Will Be Taught To Read, Write, & Spell – My Recommendations – ELAR/TEKS Grades 6 – 8” — By Donna Garner – Edviews.org



2.27.17 – “Open Letter – My recommendations regarding the ELAR/TEKS K-8 draft for Second Reading vote on April 21, 2017” – by Donna Garner – EdViews.org








The First Reading of the ELAR/TEKS for English I through English IV was approved by the SBOE on a voice vote. The Second and final reading will be taken in the June 20 – 23, 2017 SBOE meeting.  


To watch the ELAR/TEKS – High School discussion on 4.20.17, please go to this link:



4.17.17 — “Why Should Texas High-School English Students Be Stuck in a Rut?” — By Donna Garner – — 4.17.17



3.15.17 — “Big Problems with the New Texas English Standards for High School” — by Donna Garner – —






4.21.17 — “Victory! State Board of Education Preserves Strong Science Standards: Students, Teachers May Continue Critical Discussion and Open Debate on Evolution” – Texas Values —





Summary of Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath’s comments:


  • No significant problems have been reported so far to the Texas Education Agency about the March administration of the STAAR/End-of-Course tests. 


  • A new STAAR report card has been designed and will be distributed to parents/teachers by mid-to-late June 2017. This report card has much easier terminology, a Lexile reading rate for the individual student, and a resource list of recommended reading materials to help students raise their reading levels.


  • The online and hard-copy of the new STAAR report card will show the actual STAAR test questions that the student was asked to answer on the spring administration.


  • The Commissioner recommended that the English / Language Arts / Reading (ELAR) TEKS (curriculum standards) that are close to being finished should be as (a) precise, (b) grade-level specific, and (c) clearly worded as possible so that teachers do not have to have special training to understand them.


  • Commissioner Morath reiterated that in Texas, the TEKS drive the content standards taught in classrooms, and the STAAR/End-of-Course tests are also based upon the TEKS. 


  • To help teachers make the transition from the present ELAR/TEKS to the new set of standards (K-8 to be implemented in School Year 2018 – 19 and High School in School Year 2019 – 2020), the Commissioner and the TEA are planning to set up a website that will help teachers “unpack” the new ELAR/TEKS six months ahead of implementation.   The website will focus on the differences in the new elements and assessment items vs. the old ones.  Professional development will emphasize what the verb at the beginning of each content standard looks like in actual classroom practice.  Teams of classroom teachers will be chosen to produce model lessons that will contain real-life videos of teachers planning and carrying out the lessons with their students. These model lessons will be made available online to form a “bank” of teaching units that will be closely aligned to the new ELAR/TEKS.  Hopefully teachers could then satisfy their ELAR/TEKS professional development days by studying the online “bank” 24/7.  


  • In this biennium, there is money set aside by the Legislature for the3-day Reading Academies with the requirement that if teachers come, their principal(s) must come with them also. The TEA is working toward having a continuous flow throughout the school year of practicing what is learned at the Reading Academies.


  • The suggestion was made to the Commissioner by an SBOE member that Student Success Initiative instructional materials (used with students who do not do well on the STAAR) MUST be aligned with the new ELAR/TEKS. 


  • The A – F Report Card issue was discussed. The TEA has gathered feedback from the public with the Commissioner having held at least 70 meetings with stakeholders. The Texas Legislature is still in the midst of debating legislation that might change the A – F mandate.


  • Commissioner Morath said that by Sept. 2017, Texas is required by ESSA legislation (replacement for No Child Left Behind) to submit its assessment, accountability, and school improvement plan to the U. S. Dept. of Education. The Texas Education Agency must prove that each of the TEKS elements has been addressed on the assessments.


To verify my summary, please go to the TEA website link for April 18, 2017, Texas State Board of Education, Committee of the Full Board, Part 2, Commissioner’s Comments:





Link to the archives of SBOE meetings:

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