Category Archives: Standards & Testing

contested McLeroy renomination (links and video)

Chairman Mc’s renomination as chair of the Texas State Board of Education is not going smoothly. Video and audio of the confirmation hearing are now available and linked here. The hearings were blogged live by the Texas Freedom Network, which has also has a blog post on the reported status of the nomination. Other informative […]

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TX Creationist Saenz to talk 2/7/09 – audio here of his SBOE testimony (& link to Luskin interview)

As announced at the Austin Chronicle‘s Newsdesk, Jonathan Saenz of the Free Market Foundation (the Texas affiliate of Focus on the Family) will wade into central Austin to make his case for keeping the “strengths and weaknesses” language in the state’s science teaching curriculum, wording that has been used by his group and others to […]

Texas SBOE on Science Standards January 22, 2009 (Audio)

About laws and sausages, it is said that you really don’t want to see how they are made. Even worse, however, is to see the making of TEKS education standards in Texas. I’ve just spent some agonizing hours capturing the audio feed of the January 22 meeting of the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE), […]

Barbara Cargill — TX SBOE’s “Science” teacher

Texas State Board of Education member Barbara Cargill posted an article at Texas Insider.org yesterday (December 18), in which she argues that … too often the tendency is to teach rote memorization of accepted facts.  Instead, teachers must encourage independent thinking.  By applying the scientific process, students will be challenged to think “outside the box” […]

2007 Report on Schooling in Arne Duncan’s Chicago

It may be that Duncan will be somewhat different in Washington than in Chicago. Regardless, any positive changes will require continued great effort on
our part. As a friend remarked yesterday, “It’s what my husband said: If McCain is elected, might as well fold up the tent and go home. If Obama is
elected, it means a lot of hard work on our part.”

Great Summary of Texas Evolution developments

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has a great online article on recent developments in the Texas conflict over teaching evolutionary biology. The article provides a good summary and context for the 10-year review of TEKS science standard by the Texas State Board of Education. (Click here for a page with links for playing […]

McLeroy, Dunbar: Protecting science against political interference

Perhaps one of the more unexpected developments to come out of the seven hours of public testimony before the Texas State Board of Education November 19, 2008 is the emergence of SBOE Chair Don McLeroy and Board member Cynthia Dunbar as the unrelenting champions of science — defending science against domination by political majorities(!) After […]

TX SBOE’s s “not-religion” problem

Throughout the day, SBOE majority members seemed baffled by how one speaker after another was talking about them interjecting religion, when they insisted they were doing no such thing. This time, I think they are honestly baffled. They’re thinking that ID or religion is not being brought into the classroom if nobody is talking about […]

what is TX SBOE trying to get from its science standards hearings?

I hope that someone undertakes the task of systematically analyzing how the SBOE majority engaged with different speakers testifying in the November 19 session. They spent lots of time engaging with their supporter, while vastly more qualified speakers were rushed from the microphone without a single question (e.g., Ellington). It could be demonstrated that these […]

TX SBOE & the “six experts” scandal

Of course, the selection of six experts to review the standards drafts, with “both sides” represented 3:3, reinforces the spectacle noted here and here of representing this as a two-sided controversy. That in itself is scandalous, since there may be a 2-sided controversy over whether to teach science, but there’s no such controversy in biology […]

TX SBOE and the “Kansas problem”

Of course, the selection of six experts to review the standards drafts, with “both sides” represented 3:3, reinforces the spectacle noted here and here of representing this as a two-sided controversy. That in itself is scandalous, since there may be a 2-sided controversy over whether to teach science, but there’s no such controversy in biology […]

Texas SBOE Science hearings Nov. 19, 2008 (with audio)

This post is a gateway to audio recordings of the Nov. 19 hearings on Science Standards revisions by the Texas State Board of Education. These were not formal “hearings,” technically, but an informational session of the Board meeting as a Committee of the Whole. Streaming audio is available at the SBOE website (They are Committee […]

fair, or “balanced”?

Some observers have commented that nothing new or noteworthy emerged from the November 19, 2008 session of the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE). Well, maybe this isn’t new, but I think it deserves notice: Despite the overwhelming imbalance of testimony favoring standards that would support the teaching of real science in Texas, newspaper stories […]

“strengths & weaknesses” — harmless in Texas?

On the website of the Texas Freedom Network, “africangenesis” comments: Ed Darrell, I doubt you can trace the failure of Texas schools to the “strengths and weaknesses” language which has been around a couple of decades. Jonathan Saenz (identified by TFN as “director of legislative affairs for Plano-based Free Market Foundation, the Texas affiliate of […]

Obama team’s support for portfolio assessment

Thanks to Checker Finn’s shop (where they’re not wild about this), we have this news: Tuesday morning on the Diane Rehm Show … Obama staffer Melody Barnes expressed her candidate’s openness to using portfolios to assess student achievement under No Child Left Behind . I don’t have time to blog more now ( I’m turning around […]

new Texas ELAR standards available

The hotly contested new Texas standards for English Language Arts & Reading are now available from the Texas Education Agency.

Texas science standards drafts posted

Drafts for revised science standards in Texas are now available at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/teks/scienceTEKS.html . A press release by the Texas Freedom Network notes that the work groups that prepared the drafts for the various science disciplines “removed unscientific language about `strengths and weaknesses’ of scientific theories for biology and other high school science courses.” That language is […]