Texas Gets Middle Marks on School Standards

More than a decade ago the American Federation of Teachers began an examination of the states' teaching standards. This year's report is out and Texas falls roughly in the middle. The State's math and science standards got high marks, but social studies and English need work.
According to the American Federation of Teachers, good standards are clear, specific and content-focused.

Linda Bridges is president of the AFT's Texas chapter. She says Texas meets the criteria when it comes to math standards.

"A teacher can look at those standards and know exactly what a student is supposed to know and be able to do and it's by grade level or content level. And it helps us drive the curriculum then and then match that to the state tests so that we're actually testing the curriculum that's based on solid foundation of standards."

Texas also got good marks on science standards, except at the elementary level, where the report says the standards are not clear enough.

But things take a downturn in social studies where only high school standards scored well and English, which received low scores in all grade levels.

"The standards tended to repeat themselves from grade to grade and so that you were not building a rigorous process from grade level to grade level. And the other problem is, specifically in Texas, is that grammar has been segmented apart from all the other components of teaching English."

The Texas Education Agency is currently reviewing the state's English standards. Bridges says the agency is considering how to better align the curriculum with grade levels. Bridges says she likes to use the illustration that right now testing drives the Texas educational bus.

"We don't have to sit here and reinvent the wheel. You know we can learn from other states that have been doing it right. And I think it's incumbent upon us to look at other places, Virginia for instance who met all the criteria, and look at what they're doing and learn from what they've done."

The AFT report found 35 states have inferior standards overall.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.
Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...