It is time that we had a frank discussion about our public education system, Texas. By 2020, Texas is set to educate over 5.5 million students in the public K-12 education system, yet this great state ranks 40th in the nation when it comes to education outcomes. If you were to ask any student, parent, or teacher what they disliked about our education system, you would hear one response time and again: standardized testing. Despite the fact that standardized tests have been shown to exhibit a negative bias towards minority and disadvantaged populations, we have allowed standardized testing to become a cornerstone of Texas education. And as we have become more test-centric, we have also allowed the power of critical thought and practical knowledge to fall by the wayside. view article arw

History and social studies teachers in Texas schools must perform a daily quickstep if they want to keep up with rigorous curriculum standards that require them to educate children about high-priority topics and key historical figures.  The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standards set the bar high, with third-graders expected to learn about "the purposes of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, including the Bill of Rights" and "the basic structure and functions of various levels of government." view article arw

The Lufkin ISD Board of Trustees announced its choice for two construction managers at risk for upcoming construction projects.  The contractors could bid on one, two or three of the possible bond projects: the middle school, the high school multipurpose facility and the high school baseball/softball complex. Berry and Clay out of Rusk was awarded the bid for the middle school and the high school multipurpose facility.  “They’ve been in business for 41 years,” Torres said. “They’ve completed in the last few years 59 different projects with Goodwin-Lasiter-Strong. view article arw

The state of Texas will require schools to teach that “Arab rejection of the State of Israel has led to ongoing conflict” in the Mideast. The Texas Board of Education voted during a curriculum review last week to keep the controversial sentence in high school textbooks, used by approximately 5.4 million public-school children. The board is comprised of five Democratic members and 10 Republican members, implying that the decision was likely demonstrative of a shift towards a more right-wing educational program. view article arw

Hillary Clinton made history as the first-ever woman nominated by a major party for president, but whether she makes it into history lessons in Texas schools is up for debate. The Texas State Board of Education voted Friday to “streamline” the social studies curriculum in its public schools, including reconsidering which historical figures are considered required learning. Board members approved the removal of Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller, the deaf and blind woman who became a college graduate, author, and political activist, while keeping Biblical figure Moses in lessons on the founding of the US.    view article arw

After four years of battles over ethnic studies textbooks and courses in a state with a booming Latino population, state education officials gave final approval to adopt a Mexican-American studies course that can be taught statewide. Although the State Board of Education OK’d the course with no discussion at its board meeting Friday in Austin, the issue of teaching Texas students about the influence of Mexican-Americans has dominated much of the board’s discussion for more than four years. view article arw

Texas schoolchildren will still learn of the heroic "Victory or Death" letter penned by Lt. Col. William Barret Travis while besieged in the Alamo, under streamlined social studies curriculum standards given approval Friday by the State Board of Education to solicit public feedback.  The board rejected a proposal by an advisory group that suggested deleting the specific reference to the famous letter and deleting the word “heroic” when describing the Alamo heroes.  Instead the board unanimously voted to include this revised language to the seventh-grade Texas history standards: "Explain the issues surrounding significant events of the Texas Revolution, including the Battle of Gonzales, the siege of the Alamo, William B. Travis's letter 'To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World,' and the heroism of the diverse defenders who gave their lives there; the Constitutional Convention of 1836; Fannin's surrender at Goliad; and the Battle of San Jacinto." view article arw

Don’t mess with Texas history

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The Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) performs a crucial role in reviewing the material taught in our public schools. Among all of the educational disciplines, our Texas history is among the most important to be taught to our children. History itself is full of ironies. I have the distinct honor to serve Senate District 18 in the Texas Senate, an area that encompasses the town where William Barrett Travis lived most of his life in Texas. view article arw

If the Committee of the Full Board does not complete its agenda Wednesday, it will resume its meeting in Room 1-104 on Thursday and/or Friday. If the Committee on Instruction does not complete its agenda Thursday, it will resume its meeting in Room 1-104 on Friday. If the Committee on School Finance/Permanent School Fund does not complete its agenda Thursday, it will resume its meeting in Room 1-100 on Friday. If the Committee on School Initiatives does not complete its agenda Thursday, it will resume its meeting in Room 1-111 on Friday.  view article arw

As a fight over Alamo Plaza’s physical layout rages in San Antonio, a new debate flared last week over how the historic siege of the Alamo will be characterized in classrooms around the state.  Amid the process of revising state social studies standards, the State Board of Education heard testimony in Austin Tuesday morning on proposed changes that would remove a reference to “heroic defenders” of the Alamo in seventh-grade Texas History curriculum. Another suggested change would strike a reference to William B. Travis’ famous letter that called for “victory or death.” view article arw

Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott rallied his supporters on social media against the removal of defining Alamo defenders as "heroic" from social studies curriculum standards. This week, the State Board of Education tentatively voted to keep the language intact.  Seventh grade Texas social studies teachers will likely still be required to describe Alamo defenders in terms of their “heroism” and refer to William B. Travis’ letter “To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World,” contrary to an initial recommendation of a board-appointed work group view article arw

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas education committee has backtracked on its recommendations to remove curriculumrequirements referencing Alamo fighters as “heroic” and a famous letter written during the siege. The Texas State Board of Education received hundreds of calls and emails after the committee of teachers, parents and business representatives recommended the changes this spring. The changes included removing the language “all the heroic defenders” from the state’s description of those who fought at the Alamo. view article arw

AUSTIN — The State Board of Education will hold a hearing today on whether the Texas social studies curriculum should drop the words “all the heroic defenders” from a description of those who fought at the Alamo, a proposal that has been rebuked by the governor and other top elected officials. view article arw

Heeding an outcry from conservatives, a working group nominated by the State Board of Education has backtracked on its recommendation to remove references to “heroic defenders” and a letter by William B. Travis from the Texas school curriculum on the Alamo. Stephen Cure, director of education with the Texas State Historical Association, said he and his colleagues on the working group did not intend to offend anyone by removing those references from the Alamo curriculum standard, which is taught in Texas middle schools. Instead, he said the working group thought the language was redundant because it would be impossible to teach the Alamo without referencing its defenders and the Travis letter. view article arw

Alamo defenders acted heroically

September 1108:41 AM

Heroism abounded on the 1836 battlefield at the Alamo. Is “heroic” then a “value-charged” term that warrants deletion from the curriculum taught to Texas seventh graders — in relation to the Alamo defenders? Clearly not. Outnumbered and outgunned, the Alamo defenders fought to the death or were killed after capture. Whatever you make of the various motivations involved in the struggle, this is incontrovertible fact. The only “value” involved here is accuracy. view article arw

How “heroic” were the defenders who died at the Alamo?  That’s a question that the State Board of Education will likely take up during hearings next week, as it considers recommended changes to the state’s seventh-grade history curriculum standards.  And it’s one that’s drawn attention from top state lawmakers, including Gov. Greg Abbott, who has encouraged Texans to call members of the SBOE and “stop political correctness” in how students are taught about the attack by Mexican troops. view article arw

The proposed Long-Range Plan for Public Education, which calls for establishing educational goals that will impact the next generation of Texas public schoolchildren and educators, will be considered Tuesday by the State Board of Education’s Committee of the Full Board..  Four years in the making, this plan creates recommendations through the year 2030 in four broad categories.The goals of access and equity serve as the overarching vision of the proposed plan. Access and equity refers to funding, as well as access to advanced courses and modern technology. read more arw

Opening a new front in the seemingly endless battle over how to remember the Alamo, an advisory group of educators recommended eliminating the words “heroic defenders” from the standard that requires seventh-graders to learn about the 1836 siege in their Texas history classes. view article arw

A panel advising the Texas State Board of Education on curriculum is recommending that the word "heroic" be dropped from study materials that describe the defenders of the Alamo. The reason? Apparently, the panel believes that the word "heroic" is a "value-charged word." view article arw

A committee is recommending that the State Board of Education cut the word from the school curriculum standards because it is ‘value-charged.’  he concept of defenders of the Alamo being heroic is engrained in the history of this state—and in the psyche of most Texans. The Alamo has been compared to the ancient Battle of Thermopylae, in which an outnumbered Greek army fended off a much larger Persian army for several days before being annihilated. But a committee streamlining the state’s history curriculum standards has removed the word “heroic” from a proposed revision of the curriculum because it is “a value-charged word.” view article arw

SBOE honors 2018 Heroes for Children

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Fifteen volunteers who have collectively donated 223 years of service to Texas public schools will receive the Heroes for Children award Sept. 14 from the State Board of Education (SBOE).  One outstanding school volunteer is selected from each board district. The SBOE will recognize the honorees in a ceremony at 9 a.m. in Room 1-104 of the William B. Travis State Office Building, 1701 N. Congress Ave., in Austin. The board meeting and award ceremony will be broadcast online. view article arw

AUSTIN – State Board of Education Chair Donna Bahorich will participate in the Federal Commission on School Safety (FCSS) listening session in Montgomery, Alabama on Aug. 28. read more arw

Texas may change how your child understands biology when taught in a public high school classroom. The Texas' Board of Education tentatively approved changes to portions of the states Biology curriculum. Instead of asking Texas public school students to “evaluate” scientific explanations for the origins of DNA and the complexity of certain cells, the state will now ask that the students "examine" the scientific explanations for the origins of DNA and complexity of certain cells. In the past, some educators have argued that the word "evaluate" encouraged students to challenge the scientific theory of evolution and opened the door to teaching creationism. view article arw

The Georgetown Board of Trustees has hired Fred Brent as the district's newest superintendent. view article arw