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State Board of Education Wraps Up 3-Day Meeting Today

At the third and final day of the State Board of Education meeting today, the board is expected to approve the revised fine arts Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS); approve bids for instructional materials for Proclamation 2015 that includes social studies for grades K-12, mathematics for grades 9-12, and fine arts; and approve (for 1st reading) additional courses to satisfy the fourth math and science requirements for graduation. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. Watch the live webcast.

On Thursday, the SBOE's Committee on Instruction discussed concerns about the number of TEKS standards compared to the number of instructional days needed to cover those standards and achieve content mastery.

Several people signed up to testify speaking in favor of reducing the number of curriculum standards, including Bill Hammond (Texas Association of Business), superintendent Randy Willis (Granger ISD), Associate Executive Director Susan Holley (on behalf of TASA, TASB and the Texas High Performance School Consortium), and Dineen Majcher (Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessment), among others.

Hammond noted there are too many items and not enough opportunity for students to learn the material in depth. He said that teachers are forced to instruct through the process of "mentioning"—where everything gets mentioned, but nothing is truly learned.

Granger superintendent Willis said that the State Board of Education should "determine what is essential, and then test only those items."

TASA's Susan Holley pointed out to the board members that, according to national education expert Dr. Fenwick English, it would take about 23 years to teach the TEKS to any depth and complexity for true understanding.

Though there seemed to be great interest from the committee regarding the need to reduce the number of standards and define "essential" in the revision process, this item was for discussion only and there was no formal announcement that it would be included as an action item on a future agenda.