27 January 2013

I Guess that Texas Was Sick of Being a Laughing Stock

This is why the Texas legislature took the power to select textbooks away from Texas Board of Education:
Much has changed since then. In 2011, the Texas Legislature shifted authority to order textbooks from the state to individual school districts with Senate Bill 6. The law deprived the board of its final say-so. Now, school districts have control over how they spend their almost $800 million on learning materials.

“It’s pretty clear that it reduces our authority in the sense that we’re not the only game in town,” board member Michael Soto, D-San Antonio told the Austin American-Statesman.

Filmmaker Scott Thurman describes it this way: Before, “the textbook publishers had to meet 100 percent of the TEKS [Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standards]. In The Revisionaries, I follow the process of making those standards. Now, they only have to meet 50 percent of the standards…Textbook publishers have a little more wiggle room.”

He speculates that SB6 was passed because of the controversy the board raised in 2009 and 2010. “According to moderate members of the board, the far right didn’t like this at all. They wanted complete control. They wanted to lock in those standards and not allow textbook publishers to work around it.”
Yes, having a Board of Ed that is batsh%$ insane is a problem, particularly when, before the new law, they dictated text books for 5 million students in one fell swoop, which would lead text book publishers to make their books for everyone match the frequently nonsensical requirements of this body.

This is very good news for education in the US.


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