Thank you for all you do for the students of Texas! I hope everyone had a great start to a new school year and we are geared up to “back the future.”
For an association as large as Texas PTA, information sometimes gets repeated incorrectly or partially correct. Some within our association for whatever reason believe Texas PTA supports Common Core Standards. Texas PTA supports our own state standards and the rigor they represent. So once again I am sharing the facts about Common Core with hopes of dispelling incorrect information. I hope you will convey this to your local members.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative is an educational initiative that details what K-12 students should know in English language arts and mathematics at the end of each grade. The initiative is sponsored by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and seeks to establish consistent educational standards across the states as well as ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter credit-bearing courses at two- or four-year college programs or enter the workforce.
When Common Core Standards were released in 2010 Texas was one of, at that time, very few states who chose not to adopt the standards. Texas had developed its own set of standards, the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and had completed work in 2008 to develop a comprehensive set of college and career readiness standards (CCRS).
I recently spoke with Otha Thornton, National PTA’s President, regarding National PTA’s support of Common Core. President Thornton said, “We agree with your opinion that these standards should be optional, and adopted by states who feel that Common Core raises the bar from their old standards, or those states whose old standards were comparable but who see them as a valuable way to collaborate across state lines. National PTA has never demanded that any state adopt Common Core.”
Texas and Texas PTA both have a tradition of strong support for local control, for allowing important decisions to be made by people who understand the unique concerns of the local population. Texas policymakers often oppose policies that emerge from the federal government. Most recently, the 83rd Texas Legislature passed House Bill 462, which prohibits the State Board of Education (SBOE) from adopting Common Core State Standards; prohibits school districts from using Common Core State Standards to meet the requirements to provide instruction in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS); prohibits a school district or open enrollment charter school from being required to offer the Common Core; and prohibits the Texas Education Agency from adopting or developing assessments based on Common Core State Standards.
Texas PTA continues to focus its energy on implementing House Bill 5, the omnibus education bill passed in May of 2013, on securing adequate and equitable funding for public schools, on reducing the over-emphasis on mandated assessment, and on the current review and refinement of the TEKS.
President, Texas PTA