Adoption of Social Studies Curriculum and Textbooks
The Texas State Board of Education is in the process of approving a new set of Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Social Studies, Grades Kindergarten-12 (called TEKS). Based on these standards, textbooks and instructional materials will be adopted for use in all the school districts in Texas. This very important process takes place only once every 10 years.
One big problem in the past is that previous standards have lacked adequate and comprehensive coverage of Tejano history and historical figures. This is especially true of the era before 1836. Therefore, it is the purpose of this initiative to provide information to the State Board of Education and to Agency staff that will result in more inclusion of Tejano history into the Social Studies curriculum. Since the process takes place only every 10 years, it is imperative that action be taken now.
The first draft of Proposed Revisions, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) was made public in September and was developed by a statewide committee of educators. The State Board of Education discussed it on September 17-18, 2009.
The plan of action for incorporating Tejano content into the proposed Social Studies Curriculum is divided into several phases because this is a long multi-year process, but Phase I is the most important because it provides the basis for developing textbooks. The phases are described below.
All persons should read the draft of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Social Studies, Grades K-12. Grades 4, 5, 6, and 7 are especially crucial because early Texas History is taught at these grade levels. However, comments can be made for all grades. The document can be reviewed by accessing the Texas State Board of Education website, then clicking on Curriculum, and then on Social Studies.
After reviewing the document, public comment can be made in two ways. One is to e-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. The state committee is meeting again on October 17, so it is important to send in comments before this date.
The second way is to testify before the State Board of Education at the November 19 public hearing and to show support by being physically present. All interested parties can testify provided they register to testify. Information is available through the State Board of Education website. The strategy is to establish a statewide committee of historians and community leaders to review the preliminary report of the revised TEKS and to make recommendations. These recommendations will be compiled into a comprehensive report that will be presented to the State Board of Education at the November 19 meeting. There will be two other state board meetings, but the November 19 date is critical.
The final adoption of the TEKS is published and textbook companies develop textbooks to address the TEKS. Volunteers will be needed to monitor the State Board of Education meetings to ensure there is follow through. Proposed textbooks will have to be read and reviewed. Public testimony to the State Board of Education will have to be made. The final date is in 2013.
Critical Time Lines:
September-October 17, 2009
Send e-mails to the State Board of Education. Forward comments to Anita Sylvia Garcia at email@example.com so they can be included in the comprehensive report.
October 26, 2009
Deadline for the Statewide Committee of Historians/Community leaders to send recommendations for revising the TEKS.
October 31, 2009
Meeting to compile statewide report that will be presented to the State Board.
Identify persons who will be testifying before the Board.
November 19, 2009
Testimony given to the State Board of Education.
Phase III timelines to be announced at a late date.