Connecting the SBOE Thomas Ratliff Dot to Senate Bill 6 – Paid Lobbyist for Microsoft
By Donna Garner
TEKS coverage before SB 6 & my recommendations on quality curriculum (i.e., instructional materials, textbooks) instead of using CSCOPE
BEFORE SB 6 (2011)
Before SB 6 (2011), the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) adopted a list of conforming textbooks (i.e., *instructional materials – IM’s). The conforming IM’s were required to cover 100% of TEKS for the subject and grade level. Nonconforming IM’s were required to cover at least 50% of the TEKS for the subject and grade level.
School districts could adopt IM’s that covered at least 70% of the TEKS for the enrichment curriculum (i.e., CTE, fine arts, health education, languages other than English, P. E., and technology applications).
All of the aforementioned IM’s allowed school districts to use state funding to pay for them.
However, if a school district bought any IM’s outside of those adopted by the SBOE, the district had to pay for them out of its own local funds.
*Definition of “instructional materials” – “The term includes a book, supplementary materials, a combination of a book, workbook, and supplementary materials, computer software, magnetic media, DVD, CD-ROM, computer courseware, on-line services, or an electronic medium, or other means of conveying information to the student or otherwise contributing to the learning process through electronic means, including open-source instructional material. (Texas Education Code, Title 2. Public Education, Subtitle F. Curriculum, Programs, and Services, Chapter 31. Instructional Materials, Subchapter A. General Provisions, Sec. 31.002, Definitions, Instructional Material —
Now under SB 6, the IM’s only have to cover 50% of the TEKS (even though school districts by law are required to cover 100% of the TEKS).
Please remember that one of the people who openly testified in support of SB 6 and who worked to push SB 6 through the Texas Legislature was Thomas Ratliff, ineligible SBOE member. It is SB 6 that opened the door for CSCOPE and other instructional materials that are not aligned with the SBOE-approved-and-mandated TEKS to proliferate our public schools.
MY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR IM’S INSTEAD OF USING CSCOPE
Reading Reflex by Carmen McGuinness teaches children to learn to read by going from sound-to-letter and is in alignment with the NIH empirical reading research.
Notice how inexpensive Reading Reflex is on amazon.com. A classroom teacher can buy ONE USED COPY FOR $1.25(non-consummable) and can use it for all of her/his students. Volunteers could come into the classrooms for perhaps 30 minutes a day and work with students individually to make sure that students gain automaticity and fluency on each sound before going to the next. Reading Reflex (also called Phono-Graphix) teaches not only reading but spelling and writing.
Shurley Grammar (K-8) is an excellent grammar/usage/composition series. Zaner-Bloser is an excellent cursive writing program. (I do not recommend Zaner-Bloser for any other subject areas because they are marketing their materials now as being in alignment with Common Core Standards. However, I know a very capable teacher who has told me that Zaner-Bloser’s penmanship/cursive writing program has not changed to CCS. CCS does not require students to learn cursive writing. Such a loss for an entire generation of children who will not learn how to read cursive writing either –)
All English/Language Arts/Reading (ELAR) instructional materials (K-12) in Texas have gone through the SBOE-adoption process, and all ELAR/IM’s approved by the SBOE are aligned with the new ELAR/TEKS. This means that Texas school districts have access through their state IM funds to purchase materials (K-12) that cover English, literature, reading, spelling, cursive writing, grammar/usage/punctuation/capitalization, research writing, and all of the content that is required in the ELAR/TEKS. Therefore, school districts do not have to search out any other IM’s for ELAR. All they have to do is to adopt the SBOE-approved ELAR textbooks.
Science supplementary materials were adopted by the SBOE to align with many of the Science TEKS a few years ago, and the new SBOE-approved Science IM’s are due into schools in the 2014 – 2015 school year.
Social Studies lessons are easy to create because there are so many instructional materials available that are aligned with our TEKS (e.g., patriotic, Founding Fathers, Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, great battles of the world, heroes/heroines, etc.). Social Studies is taught chronologically which makes curriculum units much easier to create than, for instance, ELAR which contains multi-strands of curriculum.
Saxon Math and Singapore Math are both excellent programs; and there are many used textbooks/workbooks/supplementary materials/diagnostic tests that have been published by these two companies.