TEA News Releases Online
March 12, 2010
Social studies standards, educator preparation accreditation program win State Board’s backing
AUSTIN – After considering about 300 amendments during its January and March meetings, the State Board of Education, on a 10-5 vote today, gave preliminary approval to new social studies curriculum standards that will be used in the Texas public schools.
The wide-ranging debate over what should be taught in history classes covered everything from non-controversial items to heavily discussed topics such as how the history of the Alamo should be taught and whether hip hop should be discussed in classrooms. (All those who died at the Alamo will be discussed in seventh grade Texas history classes. Hip hop will not be part of the official curriculum standards.)
A document containing the extensive revisions will be posted on the Texas Education Agency website and posted in the Texas register by mid-April. Once posted, the official 30-day public comment period will begin. At that time, comments with suggested changes to the document can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The board will then consider additional updates and final adoption at its May meeting. The new standards will replace Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills last adopted in 1997.
The board also gave its blessing to a new accountability system for educator preparation programs, a system created as a result of Senate Bill 174. Under this system, each teacher training program will be rated as: Accredited, Accredited-Warned, Accredited-Probation, and Not Accredited-Revoked or not rated.
The ratings for each preparation program will be based on results of their graduates’ pass rates on certification examinations, appraisals of beginning teachers by school administrators, and compliance with board requirements dealing with field supervision for beginning teachers during their first year in the classroom. By 2013, the ratings will also be based on an additional factor that examines the achievement of students taught by new teachers during their first three years in the classroom.
The new state law now allows the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC), which crafted the accountability system, to sanction under-performing programs by requiring the program to obtain technical assistance approved by the agency or SBEC; requiring a program to obtain professional services; appointing a monitor to participate in and report to the board on the activities of the program; or by ordering closure of the program.
The first ratings will be issued in the spring of 2012, based on the 2010-2011 academic year.
A website will also be created that will provide consumers with information about each preparation program. Information on this site will include the average overall grade point and grade point average for specific subjects for the candidates in the educator preparation program, the average scores on college admissions exams, and the success graduates have in obtaining teaching jobs.
Also at this meeting, the board, which oversees the multi-billion dollar Permanent School Fund, agreed to make its first ever real estate purchases.
The board agreed to enter into agreements with Mesa West Real Estate Income Fund II, L.P. and Invesco Mortgage Recovery Fund and allow each to invest $40 million in real estate.