Texas SBOE Members, Please Stop the High School ELAR/TEKS

Jun 17, 2017 by

“Texas SBOE Members, Please Stop the High School ELAR/TEKS”

By Donna Garner



ACTION FOR THE PUBLIC:  Please ask the elected members of the Texas State Board of Education to give themselves more time to make sure that the new high school English / Language Arts / Reading (ELAR) TEKS (Texas’ curriculum standards) reflect the Type #1/traditional parameters and are not tied to the Type #2 Common Core-compliant philosophy of education as the current Second Reading draft does.


Contact information for SBOE members: http://tinyurl.com/p8xe369



A wise move several months ago by the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) members occurred when they decided to break up the ELAR/TEKS adoption cycle into two separate biennia.  This helps the state to pay for the many instructional materials that are needed for ELAR — more than with any other subject area (e.g., instructional materials for reading, phonics, cursive, spelling, grammar, literature, research, writing, etc.).


By making this decision, the SBOE has made it possible for the K-8 instructional materials to be paid for by the Permanent School Fund in this present legislative biennium with implementation of the new K-8 standards in school year 2019. However, the high school ELAR/TEKS in English I, English II, English III, and English IV are not to be implemented until the next biennium with implementation in school year 2020.


I believe this budgetary measure gives the SBOE extra time to make sure the new high school ELAR/TEKS are really good.


My strong recommendation to the SBOE is that they NOT adopt the high school ELAR/TEKS draft for Second (and final) Reading next week (June 20 – 23, 2017) but that they keep the adoption process moving forward by voting to take the high school ELAR/TEKS back to the drawing board and insisting that each and every grade level (Eng. I, Eng. II, Eng. III, and Eng. IV) be rewritten until all of the elements follow the Type #1 traditional parameters.  


The present ELAR/TEKS Second Reading draft is still tied to the Common Core-compliant philosophy of education (a.k.a., Type #2).  By having almost the same goals for English I/English II and English III/English IV, teachers and their students would feel no real sense of urgency at each grade level.  Neither would there be any real accountability for both teachers and their students at each grade level – mañana…learn it later…let the next teacher teach it…


To be Type #1 (traditional), each element should be: (1) knowledge based, (2) academic, (3) clearly worded with specific direction given to teachers about WHAT should be taught (leaving the HOW up to the teachers), (4) grade-level-specific, (5) worded so that the goals at each grade level grow in depth and complexity as the student moves from one grade level to the next, and (6) measurable with questions on tests that largely can be objectively scored with right-or-wrong answers.  


Obviously, there will always be some subjectivity in scoring that surrounds essays/compositions; but those types of elements need to be limited in the ELAR/TEKS so that the STAAR/End-of-Course tests (used for statewide accountability) are kept as objectively scored as possible. Subjective scoring at the state level leads to students’ test scores being based upon an unknown evaluator’s personal belief system and not upon a local teacher’s good judgment – someone who knows the student’s capabilities well.


The newly adopted K-8 ELAR/TEKS are quite good and largely follow the Type #1 philosophy of Education.  However, this is not true for the high school ELAR/TEKS Second Reading draft.


If adopted, the over-emphasis on subjectivity and generically worded elements in the ELAR/TEKS Second Reading draft would allow the Type #2/Common-Core compliant philosophy of education to flood Texas classrooms with the social justice agenda, the affective domain (emotions, opinions, beliefs), project-based learning, digitized personal learning, competency-based learning, social/emotional scoring, group think, computer-adaptive assessments, and lack of individual accountability.  




5.28.16 – “My Analysis of Differences Among Grade Levels – High School ELAR/TEKS – Second Reading Draft (with amendments from May 2017 SBOE meeting)” – by Donna Garner – EdViews.org




5.14.17 – “ Intimidation and Bullying Against Member of the High School English / Language Arts (ELAR) TEKS Writing Team” – by Paula Moore, Appointee to High School ELAR/TEKS Writing Team – Edviews.org



3.15.17 — “Big Problems with the New Texas English Standards for High School” — by Donna Garner – EdViews.orghttp://www.educationviews.org/big-problems-texas-english-standards-high-school/

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