Former state board member (and chairman) Don McLeroy contacted our office this morning to dispute the accuracy of information in this post. Specifically, Dr. McLeroy claims that the substitute English/language arts TEKS document given to board members only hours before the final vote was not – as we (and the Associated Press) maintained – a “new” document. Dr. McLeroy claims that it incorporated elements of earlier versions that the board had previously considered during the marathon two-year review process.
We appreciate Dr. McLeroy’s courtesy and concern for accuracy. However, even granting the argument that the board had at various times seen all the elements in the final standards document, we believe it is fair to characterize this last-minute substitute document as a “new” version – or even a “never-before-seen” version, as the AP article states. A 100+ page document that cobbles together bits from more than one source – even if the sources themselves had been reviewed earlier – is a substantially new set of standards.
And semantics aside, our larger point stands: forcing board members to vote on something this important after only a few hours of review is simply not a reasonable way to write curriculum standards. That’s precisely why we support Rep. Strama’s bill to require a modest amount of time for consideration before the board makes these once-a-decade curriculum decisions.
More than once this legislative session, the far-right supporters of the status quo at the Texas State Board of Education have argued that it ain’t broke, so don’t fix it. They usually say the SBOE process is top-notch and the envy of other states.
How soon we forget.