Texas Exceptionalism (Texas opts out of common education standards)

Governor Rick Perry announced today that Texas will not submit an application for education funding in the federal government’s “Race to the top” competition.

His office issued a press release under the title:  Gov. Perry: Texas Knows Best How to Educate Our Students. Here’s a video clip from his announcement:

Vodpod videos no longer available.more about “Office of the Governor Rick Perry – P…“, posted with vodpod

Perry also released a letter informing Secretary of Education Arne Duncan that Texas would not be submitting an application for this award.

In the clip, Perry says, “This program’s not a race to the top; it’s a sprint to the middle.” Actually, I don’t completely disagree with that. From what I’ve seen of the math and literacy drafts, the current version of the common standards does not measure up to the best standards that can be found now among the states.

But Texas would have to do some big-time pole vaulting to reach the middling level of these draft versions for the common core. Texas standards are being messed up by politicians on the State Board who don’t understand education or the academic subjects, but capriciously substitute their own whimsical notions in place of the work produced by career professionals in the school subjects and academic disciplines.

Currently, they’re working on revision of the Texas Social Studies standards.  Pretty much all they’re doing is arguing over which people in U.S. and Texas history should be “mentioned” in the standards, and which should be listed as “including” and which as “such as.” There’s no thought to what will happen beyond “mentioning” of people and events, except that some Board members also want “American Exceptionalism” to be taught. But they don’t really know what historians mean by that expression. For them, it’s the idea that the United States is superior to all other countries (or something like that).

This is the same attitude as that of the “Texas Exceptionalism” by which they think that their education standards are superior to those of the other states.

Dr. Steven Schafersman adds these links to Texas newspaper reports:

Texas Newspaper News Resports:

The last news article above is from 2009 November 25, so Perry’s action should come as no surprise. However, the true back story and reasons for Perry’s action have not been reported, nor have Perry’s stated justifcations been analyzed by someone who knows the truth about the claims for Texas academic achievement he states in his press release and letter to Sec. Duncan. These are items that I will provide in my analysis. Here’s a hint: It’s Religious Right business as usual.

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One Comment

  1. Posted January 14, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Good, Tony. I like your title “Texas Exceptionalism.” It is a very appropriate title, since Gov. Perry’s decision partly relies on his beliefs about Divine intent. I am going to continue to use my title, “Race To The Bottom,” to address this issue!


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