SBOE Chair Barbara Cargill released a letter Jan. 9, 2015, responding to public concerns over changes in math education occurring during the 2014-15 school year due to the implementation of new math TEKS.

Of special significance to educators is a section on "what is being done to help teachers, students and parents." It reads:

  • In August, Commissioner of Education Michael Williams announced that the 5th and 8th grade math STAAR tests will not count for passing or retaining students this school year due to the transition.
  • The commissioner also recently announced that those tests will be given three weeks later this year, in April instead of March. (Any changes to accountability? Not yet and that is up to the commissioner. I and other board members have encouraged him to use the test questions this year for field test purposes only, not for accountability purposes.)
  • The SBOE listened to testifiers speak about the implementation of the math TEKS at its November meeting. We recognize that our teachers and students need time and help with the implementation, so the following actions have been taken.
  • The “such as” examples that were taken out of the TEKS (in an effort to streamline them as requested by educators) are now posted on the TEA website.
  • As instructed by the SBOE, Texas Education Agency staff has compiled an additional list of resources to help math teachers and parents at this link.
  • The agency has contacted the 20 ESCs to encourage them to offer more professional development for the math TEKS. At the link listed above, there is also information about professional development options for teachers.
  • I have discussed the challenges of the math implementation with Chair Aycock in the House and with Lt. Governor-elect Patrick’s office in the Senate. The legislature needs to be kept up-to-date on this issue and needs to know that the SBOE and the agency are doing all that we can to help our teachers and students during this transition period.
  • An SBOE resolution about the math TEKS implementation will be discussed at our next meeting in February.
  • The SBOE will continue discussing this issue with superintendents, teachers, parents and other stakeholders to determine ways to help with the transition to the new math TEKS.

In addition, help is coming from the Texas PTA and from TASA:

  • The Texas PTA is working with the agency to produce helpful math webinars for parents. These will be available on the PTA website, hopefully in January.
  • The Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) is posting more instructional resources for the math TEKS in iTunesU, a free application. At its midwinter conference, TASA has asked agency staff to lead a session about the math TEKS implementation.

Read the full letter.