New Pictures here!
Dear friends and supporters,
As the holidays approach, I want to wish you and your families a blessed season filled with time together, laughter, and relaxation. We look forward to having our two college boys at home and to spending time with other family members. We as a country and state have much for which to be thankful!
Have you been wondering how YOU can serve the children of our state and make a huge impact on improving their education? Please consider serving on one of the following Curriculum Review Committees.
Science: The online supplemental material for Biology, Physics, Chemistry, and IPC (Integrated Physics and Chemistry) will be reviewed. This material will cover the fantastic new science curriculum standards that were adopted by the SBOE last year.
Math: K-12 math curriculum standards will be revised. Committees include K-2, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Algebra I and II, Geometry, Precalculus, Math Models, and other high school math courses.
Fine Arts: The curriculum standards for grades K-12 art, music, theatre and dance are also scheduled for revision.
We need parents, educators, business and industry representatives, and employers to serve on these committees. Here is some information about volunteering for this important task.
Time and time again over the past six years I have called upon you to help serve our schoolchildren. You have answered the call with dedication and passion.
UPDATES ON SBOE ISSUES:
· After lengthy debate, the Board passed the Balanced Treatment of Religious Groups in Textbooks Resolution. During my travels within my 24-county district the last few months, many of you were very interested in this issue and wanted to learn more about it. I have pasted the link to the resolution itself below. Once there, click on the word “resolution.”
When the resolution was brought to the SBOE by a public citizen in July, I wanted to review current World History textbooks being used in Texas classrooms to see if bias did exist. Unfortunately, it was not difficult to find. Religious groups are not treated the same. I will give you a just a couple of examples.
In one World History book there is an entire chapter entitled “The Muslim World.” It covers the rise of Islam, the benefits and practices of Islam, and it gives a step by step list about how to become a Muslim and how to convert to Islam. Other religious groups such as Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, etc. are given far less coverage in various chapters in the book. Another current textbook lists the word "Islam" 24 times in its table of contents. Judaism and Christianity are not listed at all. They are covered on very few pages in the book.
The Resolution is non-binding, but it sends a message to publishers that the Board wants major world religions covered in a fair and equitable manner. The last part of the resolution makes this clear by stating, ““RESOLVED, That the SBOE will look to reject future prejudicial Social Studies submissions that continue to offend Texas law with respect to treatment of the world's major religious groups by significant inequalities of coverage space-wise and/or by demonizing or lionizing one or more of them over others, as in the above-cited instances.”
ON THE NOVEMBER SBOE MEETING AGENDA:
Here is a description of a few items that are on the agenda for our meeting November 18-19. To see a complete copy, go to the Texas Education Agency website at http://www.tea.state.tx.us. The agenda is posted under “State Board of Education” (on the left). After that screen appears, click on “Current Agenda.” There are also links to meeting minutes, web casts, and SBOE member information. (The comments in dark blue italics are mine.)
(The state was scheduled to purchase textbooks for English Language Arts (Grades 2-12), Spanish Language Arts (Grades 2-6), English as a Second Language (Grades K-8), Handwriting (Grades 1-3), Spelling (Grades 1-6), and Supplemental Science materials (Grades 9-12). Through its prudent oversight of the Permanent School Fund, the SBOE sends plenty of money to the Legislature to cover the cost of new textbooks. Now the Legislature must appropriate the money back to the TEA so that textbooks may be purchased. When the Texas Legislature meets in January 2011, we must make it clear that we want them to prioritize the funding to pay for these new textbooks!)
The November meeting will be the last one for my fellow Board members, Don McLeroy and Cynthia Dunbar. It has been a privilege to serve with people of such integrity who worked tirelessly to improve education in our state. I am thankful for them and for their service on the Board.
For our children,
State Board of Education, District 8
Chair, Committee on Instruction
Please forward this e-mail to parents, teachers, administrators, and others who have an interest in education.