Changing the way we write the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills
:The recent debate over new math Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)points out weaknesses in the current system of curriculum development andapproval in the State of Texas.While the review process appeared to be detailed and lengthy, the finaldocument that was approved was, overall, weaker than the common corestandards that the State was trying to surpass. Furthermore the document wasstill being revised just hours before its final approval. Those changes were notgoing through a full review as they were being made to ensure rigor and clarity.In putting together vital education policy that will directly affect the school childrenof Texas for the next decade, we must ensure that the State Board of Educationand the public actually know what is in the final version of the State
s TEKS. Thefinal version must be adequately reviewed for rigor and language clarity beforefinal approval is given by the State Board of Education.
:The current system allows for too many non-experts and education professionalsto make significant changes to the TEKS. In some cases these changes aremade without consideration of the effect on the overall document. In some casesthese changes are made for reasons other than improving the educational qualityand rigor of the standards. Limits should be put in place to keep extraneousissues out of the TEKS creation andreview process, leaving the writing of newcurriculum up to a panel of academicexperts and professionals in the field ofstudy being reviewed and re-written.This panel of experts would come from alist of people who meet clear guidelinesto write academic standards. Those guidelines would be debated and approvedby the State Board of Education.The public and board could then review the proposed changes and makesuggestions through a series of hearings, public work sessions and publicmeetings. Those suggestions would then be given back to the panel of expertsThe final version must be adequatelyreviewed for rigor and language claritybefore final approval is given by the StateBoard of Education.