New Statutory Requirements for Adoption of Major Curriculum Initiatives

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As the 2013-2014 school year gets underway, I want to make you aware of the provisions in a new law relating to the adoption of major curriculum initiatives, including curriculum management systems and to inform you of efforts the State Board of Education (SBOE) is taking to complete a review of CSCOPE social studies lesson plans. 

Senate Bill 1474 (SB 1474) was passed by the 83rd Texas Legislature, signed by the governor and became effective June 14, 2013. A new process established under SB 1474 seeks to balance transparency to local stakeholders with local control over how districts teach the required Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). 

SB 1474 requires school districts to follow a new process prior to the adoption of any major curriculum initiative.  Before a district adopts a major curriculum initiative, it must gather input and opinion from both teachers and district employees. A local board is also required to have a meeting to discuss the proposed initiative and allow feedback from community members. This process provides school districts the opportunity to obtain feedback while deciding if any proposed curriculum meets the needs of their district.

While questions continue to circulate concerning curriculum management systems and the role of the state in overseeing local lesson plans, I wanted to bring this requirement to your attention. The Texas Education Agency has no rulemaking authority over the provisions of SB 1474. You may read the requirements of SB 1474 at the following link:  http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/83R/billtext/pdf/SB01474F.pdf#navpanes=0

The State Board of Education (SBOE) has begun reconvening its ad hoc committee to resume its review of CSCOPE social studies lesson plans. While there was not sufficient time to complete the review before the beginning of this school year, SBOE members expect to complete the review process sometime this fall. The committee's charge is to provide a resource for districts evaluating individual lesson plans and making decisions in accordance with SB 1474. Please note that the SBOE review is limited to social studies lesson plans only.

 

Sincerely,

Michael Williams
Commissioner of Education