GOOD NEWS: IMPROVED TEXAS MATH STANDARDS ON THEIR WAY

Apr 18, 2012 by

Ze’ev Wurman

Good news about Texas’ new Math curriculum standards (TEKS) for our public schools (K-12)

I was assured last night by various Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) members that they and the Texas Education Agency staffers have been working very hard this week to finalize the Math TEKS for Texas and that the final product will be so excellent that the SBOE will be proud to adopt them at their meeting on Friday.

As has happened previously with the English / Language Arts / Reading (ELAR), the Science, and the Social Studies TEKS, the changes to tweak the wording in the curriculum standards at the very end of the process have always been highly productive in fine tuning them.

I believe that new Math TEKS will be adopted this week and that Texans will be proud of the end result.  – Donna Garner

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[It is interesting that the Dallas Morning News which usually totally ignores my many articles and commentaries has chosen to mention my name in the following editorial. I did raise questions about the Math TEKS as did knowledgeable math experts such as Ze’ev Wurman.

I so appreciate Wurman because he truly believes in the importance of a state developing its own curriculum standards instead of swallowing the Common Core Standards developed by the Obama administration.

Wurman spent his own time reviewing the draft of our Math TEKS and made insightful recommendations.  It sounds as if his recommendations and those of other well-respected mathematicians are going to help make our Texas Math TEKS the best in the country. – Donna Garner]

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http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/editorials/20120416-editorial-texas-needs-better-math-standards.ece

Editorial: Texas needs better math standards

 

Published: 16 April 2012 10:07 PM

Excerpts from this article:

…Gov. Rick Perry especially should pay attention to the board’s deliberations. He has been proud that Texas hasn’t joined the vast majority of states that recently approved a set of national standards [Obama’s Common Core Standards] for students…

The math issue has come to the fore since respected mathematicians, the Texas Association of Business and education activists such as Texas conservative Donna Garner have raised questions about the standards

For example, former U.S. Department of Education official Ze’ev Wurman opposes standards that would apply across America. But Wurman, who helped California review the proposed national standards for math, sharply criticizes Texas’ proposal.

Among other problems, he says they are so poorly written that teachers will have difficulty following and implementing them. He argues that they fail to follow a natural progression, where students start learning simple concepts before moving on to more demanding ones. And he contends that, in some cases, the state has too many standards for students to meet…

Texans often need a strong understanding of math to perform jobs that require critical thinking. If the math standards come up short, Texas will limit its ability to provide workers for the jobs the sophisticated, modern economy demands.

Not every standard must be rewritten. But the 15 members of the state’s education board need to listen to the critique of mathematicians like Wurman.

We don’t mean just ram another standard or two in there to please the critics. We mean let mathematicians guide the discussion so the state has an approach to math that is relevant and clear.

Perry has complained that the national standards for subjects such as math would hamstring states from “adopting their own, more comprehensive standards.” The governor and the state board now need to ensure Texas doesn’t fall behind.

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