Apr 30, 2013 by

by Donna Garner



Why do people who want to enter law school have to make a certain score on the LSAT?


Why do people who want to be nationally certified have to pass the CPA test?


Why do people have to pass the MCAT before they are admitted to medical school?


Why do people who want to become certified Texas teachers have to take the Texas Examination of Educator Standards (TExES)?


What would be wrong with locals making up their own tests to certify these people?


Obviously, credibility would be lost if the responsibility for these professional certifications was turned over to the locals.


This is exactly what Sen. Van De Putte wants to do with her amendment to HB 5.  She wants local school districts to design their own 3rd and 4th year “advanced” math and science courses without those courses having to secure state approval based upon their alignment with the curriculum standards (TEKS) adopted by the elected members of the Texas State Board of Education.


Such 3rd and 4th year “advanced” math and science courses created at the local level could be as “watered down” as desired; yet other school districts and/or colleges and universities would have to accept the credits gained by students in these “watered down” courses.


Sen. Van de Putte’s amendment is an example of the legislature’s running amok this session.  It started when they created HB 5 to dumb down the “measuring stick” of the STAAR/EOC’s at each grade level/course.  The “old system” begun in 1997 in Texas’ public schools did not require individual accountability at each grade level/course because the “old” TEKS were Type #2, generic, mushy, and  not grade-level-specific. The Type #2 TAKS tests based upon them were not tied to specific, knowledge-based curriculum standards (TEKS).  Teachers and students had to guess what was going to be tested on the TAKS.


All of that changed in May 2008 when the new Type #1 English/Language Arts/Reading TEKS were adopted followed by the adoption of new Science, Social Studies, and Math TEKS. The guesswork is gone. Now every teacher and student knows what will be on the new Type #1 STAAR/EOC tests because the goals (TEKS) are clear for each grade level and each course.


The New Plan that included accountability to the new TEKS at each grade level/course and the rigorous graduation requirements (4 x 4 x 4 x 4) was moving right along until the 83rd Legislature decided to muck things up.


Under HB 5 not only would individual accountability be lost to teach/learn the new TEKS but also students’ graduation requirements would be dumbed down.


All Texas high-school graduates would no longer be required to take World History and World Geography.  These are the two courses in which the world’s leading religions are studied and in which America’s place in history is established.  What a loss for our Texas graduates not to know the history and geography of our world.


If the legislature takes away the “measuring stick” (STAAR/EOC’s) at each grade level/course (Grades 3 – 11), then teachers will not all be held accountable.  In courses (or grade levels) that are not tested, those teachers would feel no pressure to meet the rigor of the new TEKS; and it would be left up to the teachers who are placed in grade levels/courses that are tested to have to try to make up for the lack of pre-requisite skills in their students. In other words, HB 5 would produce “lazy” teachers in those grade levels/courses not tested; and those teachers could also continue teaching their Type #2 curriculum units rather than developing new Type #1 units that are aligned with the Type #1 TEKS.


If the Texas Legislature does away with the “measuring stick” at each grade level/course,  how will parents and the public ever know whether TASA iCLOUD, regular public schools, charter schools, CSCOPE, Turkish Gulen Harmony Charter Schools, dual-credit courses, Texas Virtual Academy, online learning, Advanced Placement courses, International Baccalaureate programs, Web 2.0 Tools, and Safari Montage are actually moving our school children into Type #1 or Type #2?



Sen. Van De Putte’s amendment would make HB 5 even worse.


The encouraging thing is that the SBOE is moving efficiently ahead to create more courses from which students can choose to meet the New Plan’s requirements.  To learn more about the innovative, new courses being adopted by the SBOE, please read SBOE Chair Barbara Cargill’s article:  http://educationviews.org/barbara-cargill-chair-of-sboe-concerned-about-sb-3/





4.22.13 – “2 Types of Education: America Hangs in the Balance” – by Donna Garner —



4.11.13 – “Education Is Serious Business: Green, Yellow, and Red People” – by Donna Garner — http://educationviews.org/education-is-serious-business-green-yellow-and-red-people/



4.3.13 – “Texans Must Be Patient: Help Is on the Way” – by Donna Garner —




3.20.13 – “What Gets Measured Gets Treasured” – by Donna Garner — http://educationviews.org/what-gets-measured-gets-treasured-sb-1724-would-harm-our-students/



Donna Garner


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