Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bad Education Bills Have Been Filed in the Texas Legislature That Will Reduce Math and Science Graduation Requirements

As stated in an earlier post, the "Common Ground"proposal mentioned in this press release is full of subtle and not-so-subtle prejudice. For example, on page 13, immigrants are referred to as “largely illiterate in both English and their native language.”

I would also alert you that there are discussions about revising the Texas Grant from needs-based to merit-based.

These changes would mean that eligibility would change from fulfilling one of the following criteria: a 2.5 GPA, Distinguished or Recommended track, SAT or ACT score)to TWO of the following four (revised) criteria:

a) 3.0 GPA
b) Top 1/3 of class
c) SAT Score (1070) / ACT (23)
d) Distinguished diploma

So this would mean that only ONE of the three diploma tracks proposed by the authors of Common Ground would provide eligibility for Texas Grant aid. Supporters of this change have also confirmed that African American and Latino youth WILL be negatively impacted.



For immediate release
2009 February 21

Steven Schafersman
Texas Citizens for Science

Bad Education Bills Have Been Filed in the Texas Legislature That Will Reduce
Math and Science Graduation Requirements

Report link:

Texas Citizens for Science, the advocacy organization that defends the accuracy
and reliability of science education in Texas, has published a new investigative
report on the attempt of six prominent Texans to reduce the high school science
and math graduation requirements for approximately 80% of Texas students. The
six gentlemen are Sandy Kress, Don McAdams, Mike Moses, David Thompson, Jim
Windham, and Bill Ratliff. Some of these gentlemen have in the past performed
outstanding services for Texas education and its improvement, but their new
proposal will damage math and science education for Texas high school students.

Currently, the Texas high school Recommended and Distinguished Graduation
Programs require a 4x4 curriculum, that is, four courses of English Language
Arts, Social Studies, Mathematics, and Science. The six gentlemen have proposed
a multiple graduation curricula plan that creates three curricula for the
Recommended and Distinguished High School Graduation Programs. The three
curricula are for students who wish to concentrate in humanities and liberal
arts, career and technology education, and math and science. Two bills filed in
the Texas House, HB 1216 and 1503, by Representatives Fred Brown and Marc
Veasey, contain the details of the proposed multiple curricula plan. Only the
math and science curriculum retains four years of math and science courses. The
humanities and career and technology curricula will go back to the pre-2006
graduation curriculum, three courses each of math and science. Texas Citizens
for Science believes about 20% of Texas students will choose the math and
science option.

The Texas Legislature originally passed the 4x4 curriculum in 2007 with great
bipartisan support. The Texas State Board of Education was also in favor of the
4x4 curriculum and implemented it in 2008. Math and science curriculum experts
and educators, mathematicians, and scientists were in favor of the 4x4
curriculum so that Texas high school graduates would be better prepared for
college and university success upon high school graduation. Curriculum
specialists who wrote the College Readiness Standards specified the curriculum
necessary for high school graduates to be prepared for postsecondary work. The
recommended curriculum requires four years of math and science. Also, students
need to take math and science courses during their senior year to prevent a gap
in learning which will affect their performance in college.

Steven Schafersman, President of Texas Citizens for Science, says, "If the
new legislation becomes law, Texas high school graduation requirements will
revert back to inadequate math and science curricula that have long been
ineffective in preparing students adequately for postsecondary academic
achievement. Student success in colleges and universities will continue to be
low in Texas as proved by the large numbers of students who require remediation,
drop out of college, and perform poorly in courses that require scientific and
quantitative skills. Texas students cannot continue to be shortchanged by
irresponsible meddling that lowers high school graduation requirements,
especially when we are facing immense global competition in industries that
require scientific and quantitative knowledge and skills. Texas is too wealthy
to not prepare our students better for higher education."

The full story of the House bills, the graduation requirements, and the
proposal to change the math and science curriculum to the detriment of Texas
student achievement is contained in an investigative report available on the
Texas Citizens for Science website at the address above.

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