Texas BOE Debate Comes to a Conclusion

Texas has decided to drop an Algebra II mandate from its state curriculum.

Texas is once again at the center of national education news, as the state's Board of Education continued to debate certain math and reading standards that could end up having a wider impact across the country.

Texas rethinking standards and materials
On Thursday and Friday, Nov. 21 and 22, the BOE finished up its months-long textbook review and evaluation of new standards set down by the Texas legislature back in May. Among the issues that were tackled were the elimination of an Algebra II mandate and a controversy over a particular textbook that some board members felt taught evolution as fact, not theory.

The Board's deliberations are important on a national level because, as one of the largest buyers of textbooks in the nation, Texas' decisions often influence the content of material that is used in other states. The issues at hand in Texas will go into effect for the 2014-2015 school year.

Lowering requirements
By eliminating the Algebra II mandate, the BOE followed the state legislature's lead in lowering the requirements that students in the state will need to graduate. That is part of a major overhaul that will take effect next year where overall requirements, including changes to curricula and fewer standardized tests are supposed to allow students to focus more on career and vocational training as opposed to college prep.

Evolution debate
Evolution was another hot topic during the BOE session. The approval of the biology textbook was delayed because a member of the Board felt it didn't explicitly treat evolution as a theory, and it will be raised again at the next meeting. Evolution and climate change have been ongoing topics of debate over the months of hearings because several members of the Board are creationists and climate change deniers.

Nonetheless, a large majority of the textbooks being considered were approved without being watered down by publishers to appease those more conservative board members.

Impact on careers in teaching in Texas
The decrease in standardized tests being administered to students applied to teachers in Texas as well, despite the fact that the state was one of the first in the country to institute more strenuous teaching standards. Overall, Texas is once again making its own way in the education world, and that will continue to make teaching in the state a unique experience compared to much of the rest of the U.S.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a non-profit, accredited, online university. WGU's Teachers College offers multiple online degree programs for current teachers or those looking to become teachers. To find out more, please visit www.wgu.edu/wisecareers_teachers.

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