Letter from Senator Dan Patrick & Representative Dan Huberty
SENT VIA EMAIL
September 10, 2014
Commissioner Michael Williams
Texas Education Agency
1701 N. Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78701
Dear Commissioner Williams:
During the last legislative session, the Texas Legislature passed HB 462, which was authored by Representative Dan Huberty in the House of Representatives and sponsored by Senator Dan Patrick in the Senate. We both have had calls into our offices, where parents are concerned that students are being taught lesson plans that are not authorized under the current law, specifically as it relates to the teaching of Common Core. The 83rd Texas Legislature passed House Bill 462 (HB 462), which contains several important prohibitions relating to curriculum standards. The bill:
- 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.
Chapter 28 of the Texas Education Code requires the SBOE to develop the essential knowledge and skills that Texas schools are required to teach. Additionally, the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) are based entirely on those TEKS developed and adopted by the SBOE.
General Abbott issued an opinion (GA-1067) June 17, 2014, in response to Senator Patrick’s request (RQ-1175-GA) addressing this issue. That opinion states in the summary (emphasis added):
“Texas school districts are required to provide instruction in the essential knowledge and skills at appropriate grade levels, and pursuant to subsection 28.002(b-3) of the Education Code, they may not use the Common Core State Standards Initiative to comply with this requirement.”
We know you sent out a reminder of this new legislation in November 2013. However, we are concerned that some school districts are either not complying with the law, or not aware that certain “Free” lesson plans that are being used off the Internet by their teachers are violating this statue.
We would ask that you once again remind school districts of the importance of maintaining our State Standards, and not those of the federal government. Please make sure you enforce these standards, it is critical to our student’s success.
Please let us know if you have any questions.