A pending Texas attorney general opinion on a recently enacted school curriculum law could help determine whether public schools may use instructional materials that reference a set of national curriculum standards.
The pending opinion concerns HB 462 by Huberty, enacted by the 83rd Legislature in 2013, which prohibits school districts in Texas from using standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative as part of the Texas required curriculum. It also prohibits the State Board of Education from adopting the standards and the Texas Education Agency from adopting or developing a state assessment based on the standards.
Sen. Dan Patrick, the Senate sponsor of HB 462, filed a request for an opinion, RQ-1175-GA, to “determine whether Texas school districts violate the law by using Common Core in any way to teach state standards.”
In a letter brief filed January 21, 2014, about 800 school districts represented by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) asked for a “common sense” approach to interpreting the new law that would allow use of materials that are aligned to Common Core standards but could help teach the required Texas curriculum, known as the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). TASB said the overlap between Common Core standards and the TEKS is expansive and that teachers often access resources from multiple sources.
Others have expressed concern that certain textbooks up for adoption are advertised as being aligned to the Common Core and that a district’s potential adoption of such a textbook could indicate that the material is intended for more than supplemental use.
by Janet Elliott