“Revealed: The Dumbing Down of Texas’ Public Schools”
By Donna Garner
Under HB 5 (passed by the last legislative session), Texas’ high school graduates will no longer be required to take both World History and World Geography. They also will not be required to take the capstone course in English which is English IV. Neither will all Texas graduates be required to take Algebra II and higher-level math and science courses. Not requiring these courses will send our Texas students out into the world bereft of basic foundational knowledge that will plague them the rest of their lives not to mention the fact that Texas public school graduates will go into college and/or careers with a shallow academic degree.
I tried desperately before, after, and during the 83rd Legislative Session to get people to listen to my concerns about dropping the 4 x 4 graduation plan and gutting the individual student and teacher accountability at each grade level/course level. Now the Texas State Board of Education, the Texas Education Agency, and local school districts are stuck trying to implement HB 5 which mucks up every public school in Texas.
I stand by my comments; and as each day passes, more Texans are beginning to see the damage that HB 5 is doing. Here is what I said on 6.17.13 – “For the Historical Record: Texas Will Rue This Day” -- http://educationviews.org/for-the-historical-record-texas-will-rue-...
12.26.13 – Dallas Morning News
Texas high school teachers fight plan to scale back social studies
By Wendy Hundley
Excerpts from this article:
As state officials work out details for implementing the education reforms outlined in House Bill 5, a small but significant backlash is beginning in area school districts.
High school teachers are asking state and local officials to restore the requirement for four credits of social studies that was scaled back to three under the proposed graduation plan.
“Social studies provides a training ground for 21st-century skills,” Amy Harp, a Lewisville High School government and U.S. history teacher, said earlier this month when she addressed the Lewisville ISD school board.
She was one of four LISD teachers who asked the board to require both world history and world geography for high school students.
Such requests are coming at a time when school districts throughout Texas are preparing to revamp their high school curriculums to comply with the new education law that is intended to enhance local control and give students more flexibility.
The legislation eliminated the “four-by-four” plan that required most high school students to take four classes each of English, math, science and social studies, plus some other courses.
…It [H. B. 5 graduation plan] requires only three social studies credits for all new graduation tracks: the 22-credit “foundation” diploma as well as the 26-credit “foundation, plus endorsements” and “distinguished level of achievement” diplomas.
… “We are concerned about the diminishing of civic education,” said Francis, who is the K-12 social studies coordinator for the Mansfield school district.
Despite her concerns, she said, Mansfield officials are recommending a 25-credit graduation plan that includes only three social studies credits. “I was overruled,” Francis said.
…It’s unclear how many educators are following the lead of the Lewisville ISD teachers in taking their concerns directly to school board members.
The LISD teachers told trustees that world history and world geography help young minds develop critical thinking and writing skills and that both courses are necessary in today’s global economy.
Generally, world geography is a freshman class and sophomores take world history. Under the proposed rules, students will choose between the two courses.
“Just because they both have the word world in them doesn’t mean they can be substituted for one another,” said Erika Lowery, who teaches at the Lewisville High School Harmon Campus.
She said one provides an understanding of geography while the other gives students the necessary historical prospective to understand current events.
…Members [Lewisville School Board] agreed that English IV and speech should be options for students, not required courses.
But they were split on whether or not to require Algebra II, world history and world geography.
…The State Board of Education is slated to finalize graduation requirements in January. The Texas Education Agency (www.tea.state.tx.us) is accepting public comments on the proposals.