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Education

Legislative Committee Examines Efforts To Streamline Math And Writing Standards

A senate committee is examining the State Board of Education’s efforts to streamline math and writing standards, amid new data showing Texas students SAT scores are at an all-time low, but some lawmakers remain leery about what will be taken out and whether Texas is really doing enough to prepare students for college.

Starting 2015, Texas high school students will be taught using a new Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standard for math. The State Board of Education is also looking at streamlining writing standards.  Austin Democratic State Sen. Kirk Watson, though, who sits on the Senate Committee on Higher Education, remains skeptical about what might get taken out during the editing process.

Watson said,  “You now tell me it’s just making sure what’s essential, but that’s clearly going to be in the eyes of the beholder; several eyes of several beholders. But you haven’t set any goals”

The State Board’s Chairwoman, Barbara Cargil, testified before the legislative committee and says they are simply making sure educators aren’t teaching too much, so that critical information isn’t lost.

Cargil says, “Some of the curriculum standards cover a lot of information. Even within one given standard, they can cover a lot of information. Our goal now is to focus on what is essential” :

Cargil says that should give teachers more time to go more in depth into a specific topic and slow down the learning process. She says that right now, math and writing standards are far too bulky and that could be discouraging for a student, already unsure as to whether or not they are a good fit for college.

Lawmakers have been charged with examining the state’s efforts towards preparing students for college and making recommendations on what changes will be needed during the 2015 legislative session.