TEA News Releases Online
May 21, 2010
SBOE gives final okay to social studies standards;
tweaks graduation requirements
AUSTIN- The State Board of Education approved new social studies curriculum standards on a series of 9-5 votes today.
The final votes came after two days of lengthy debate this week in which the board considered 213 amendments to the standards for kindergarten through 12th grade. New standards for the high school economics course passed on a 14-0 vote.
The updated standards, known as Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, will be effective with the 2010-2011 school year. During that year, educators will receive training on the new standards and will write curriculum guides. The new standards will then be used in classrooms beginning in the 2011-2012 school year.
Work on the social studies curriculum began in January 2009 and attracted intense international attention and comment. Standing-room-only crowds watched as the board debated many sensitive topics.
Among the amendments that were approved that attracted considerable debate were these standards:
• Analyze Abraham Lincoln’s ideas about liberty, equality, union and government as contained in his first and second inaugural addresses and the Gettysburg Address and contrast them with the ideas contained in Jefferson Davis’s inaugural address. (8th grade U.S. History);
• Examine the reasons the Founding Fathers protected religious freedom in America and guaranteed its free exercise by saying that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, and compare and contrast this to the phrase “separation of church and state.” (Government);
• Explain instances of institutional racism in American society. (Sociology);
• Discuss the solvency of long term entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare. (U.S. History since 1877).
The board also voted to add a direct reference to the election of President Barack H. Obama and to require World History students to explain the political philosophies of individuals such as Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson also continues to be referenced in a number of other TEKS.
In other action, the board made a slight but important adjustment to the state’s high school graduation requirements. The board voted to allow students who successfully complete a two or three-credit career and technical education work-based training course prior to the 2011-2012 school year to count the class towards physical education graduation requirements.
Recent updates to the graduation requirements had eliminated the ability to receive a P.E. substitution for these CTE classes, which caused some upperclassmen to be without the required P.E. credits. Friday’s action allows them to receive the credit they believed they would receive when they began these multi-year graduation programs.
The board also agreed that “science and physical education graduation requirements successfully completed prior to the 2010-2011 school year shall count toward graduation in the manner established at the time the credit was earned.” This change is particularly helpful to students who took the Integrated Physics and Chemistry class.
The state’s looming budget deficit, estimated to be $18 billion in the next biennium, also caused the board to postpone issuing textbook Proclamation 2012, which would call for the purchase of new kindergarten through 12th grade science instructional materials. The science materials were estimated to cost $347 million, which would be in addition to the $888 million in funding that must be requested to cover already approved new English language arts materials, continuing contracts and freight.
Instead, board members decided to purchase supplemental instructional materials that only cover new science curriculum standards for science classes offered in grades 5, 6, 7 and 8, as well as biology, chemistry, physics and Integrated Physics and Chemistry. It is particularly critical to provide the high school materials because the state’s new end-of-course exams will be built on the updated science standards adopted last year.
The board agreed to allow publishers to submit bids on a per-student, per-teacher or statewide license basis.