Group Project Texas Education AgencyINF 380CDr. Kenneth Fleischmann University of Texas at AustinBySicily Bua Lauren BurdenAlexaDovalCynthia ManchaHarry OstlundDecember 4th, 2012
1 2 3 4 6 5 7 Create Find Use Understand Transform Share Curate Texas Education Agency (TEA) Information Lifecycle For our group project we decided to focus on how the Texas Education Agency (TEA) creates, uses, understands, shares, and transforms information regarding standards for education in Texas and divided the components as follows: Lauren Burden examined the ways in which TEA creates information. Cynthia Mancha examined how TEA uses its information. Harry Ostlund examined how TEA understands information. Alexa Doval examined how TEA shares information. Sicily Bua examined how TEA transforms information.
What is the TEA? According to its mission statement, the Texas Education Agency provides “leadership, guidance and resources to help schools meet the educational needs of all students. It is the state of Texas’ administrative body for all primary and secondary educational institutions and functions as an overseer for almost every aspect of public education in the state (with the exception of the Texas public university systems). Due to the extensive nature of TEA, our group will focus on the statewide educational standards, also known as the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (or TEKS), specifically the ways in which the agency finds, creates, shares transforms and understands these standards for use in Texas classrooms. As such, it is involved in developing statewide curriculum standards, selecting/adopting textbooks, administering assessment programs, rating public school performance according to the statewide accountability system, distributing state and federal funds, and performing research.
History of Educational Standards in Texas • 1947--Gilmer-Aikin Committee and the development of the Minimum Foundation School Program. • This program defined what exactly the minimum requirements for education in Texas were and charged local school districts with “providing all students in the state with a basic education.” • Also produced Senate Bill Number 115, establishing a “Central Education Agency with a State Commissioner of Education and a State Board of Education”—an entity we now know as the Texas Education Agency—thus creating one single agency for policy-making out of four separate agencies. • 1961, 1970, 1980, and 1985—Significant revisions were made to the Minimum Foundation standards, including the initiation of standardized testing in 1984. • 1996-1998—The most current set of standards, the TEKS, were developed over the course of three years and were adopted in 1998.
creation of educational standards in Texas Research TEA textbook adoption How we studied the TEA • TEA’s website, www.tea.state.tx.us creation of educational standards in Texas Texas Education Agency standards writing Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills revisions • Our group decided on using literature reviews for our research method, so we searched scoUT Library Catalog, Proquest, JSTOR and ERIC using these search terms. Texas textbooks and standards
Our Findings on the TEA • The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has a responsibility to the students, families and citizens of Texas to create, use, understand, share, and transform information regarding the standards for education effectively and efficiently. These statewide educational standards are known as the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, or TEKS. • Create: TEA creates the TEKS through a systematic composition and review process comprising input from educators, the general public, and the State Board of Education. • Use: The TEA uses the TEKS to choose the materials students use to learn and to write the tests with which they are assessed. • Understand: The TEA understands information through the use of expert reviewers and the SBOE. • Transform: TEA transforms the standards into materials for classroom use. • Share: The TEA website contains a wealth of information for school teachers and the school community, including having the TEKS available for the public online.
Flow of Information • TEA is an agency that creates, finds, shares and understands the language of the TEKS so that a consistent understanding is produced and modeled for internal and external clientele, as well as other TEA divisions, school districts, state agencies, legislative entities, institutions of higher education, researchers, private organizations, and the general public. TEA To be considered an “expert reviewer,” the designees must meet the following requirements: minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, demonstration of expertise in subject area of nomination (no guidelines for what, exactly, this demonstration consist of are given), and either teaching or working experience in the field (no guidelines for what entails “working experience” exist either). “Expert Reviewers” • TEA has very strict rules on what kind of educational materials will be considered for adoption and use for students. Since 100% mastery of the TEKS are expected for all students, TEA, administrators, and teachers seek the instructional materials that will support the highest student mastery of the TEKS. Accordingly, publishing companies have high investment in accurate transformation of the TEKS from list form to textbook form. Publishers Many districts develop and implement their own curriculum frameworks to guide the lessons their teachers will teach. In fact, most public school districts have a section of their website devoted specifically to district-wide curriculum and instructional materials that are implemented to meet the state-defined TEKS standards, integral parts of any public school system. School Districts
What can the TEA improve? Expert Reviewers Awareness • Reach out to more members of the community through publications in the newspaper and other media outlets to provide awareness of the current TEKS standards and why they are revised and implemented. • More people becoming aware of how the TEKS are shared with the public means more people will learn about how the laws for curriculum standards work and that the public has the right to know. Transparency is ensured when information is shared with the people, ensuring accountability. • Allow more transparency regarding the method, requisite credentials, and policies regarding the choosing of Expert Reviewers. • Provide access to supplementary documentation explaining the depths of the review process on how to apply to be a Expert Reviewer. Improvements • Disseminate more information to the public during the elections of board members.
Best Practices • TEA handles a large volume of valuable information that serves a wide audience. • TEA’s transformation of the TEKS into textbooks and standardized tests streamlines the foundation of learning across the state. • TEA makes information about the TEKS easily available. • The TEKS Review committees provide a broad base of knowledge from which the committee can pull. Attempts are made to bring in levels of expertise, and the revisions are put through a rigorous vetting process. • Inherent in the standards is the belief that “virtually all children are educable”
Conclusion Future of Standards Text Books • The standards that are created, understood, used, shared, and transformed do not remain static; they evolve over the years, and they adapt to the changing needs of students and educators. • Making sure that the standards for our students should be of the utmost concern not only to educators but to the citizens of Texas as a whole. Texas’ influence on the manufacture of textbooks is significant because the Texas SBOE determines what values, political bias, history, and skills students should know or experience in the classroom, even though members of the SBOE may not have the most accurate content knowledge or best educational practices. What does it mean? TEA Other States The TEA’s use of the TEKS has implications that extend beyond its borders. Because Texas buys approximately 48 million textbooks each year, it comprises a large part of the market, meaning that publishers are apt to write books that it knows will be adopted by the Lone Star State, a near guarantee they will sell well.