Several actions of the State Board of Education at its November meeting will impact instructional decision making in 2023. First, updated Social Studies TEKS were approved with little discussion or public testimony, despite the controversy that has surrounded the 2021-22 social studies TEKS review previously. In a specially called September meeting, the Board gave preliminary approval to only the TEKS revisions required to meet the requirements of SB3, the bill passed in the 87th legislative session that updated instructional requirements and prohibitions regarding controversial topics. A full revision of the social studies TEKS was delayed until 2025 to allow for further study of the proposed frameworks. The updated social studies TEKS are available on the TEA website.

The Board also discussed next steps for Proclamation 2025, which is currently scheduled as a call for K-12 social studies instructional materials. TEA staff reported that publishers of currently adopted social studies instructional materials did not believe that extensive changes would be needed to meet the updates required to comply with SB3. Changes could likely be made through the update or substitution rules, which allow publishers to update adopted instructional materials with approval of the SBOE. The Board discussed concerns that social studies adopted materials were quite dated and would be even more so by the time the TEKS are revised again in 2025 if the Proclamation is delayed. Ultimately the Board did not instruct TEA staff to draft a proclamation for review at a future meeting, so it appears likely that the social studies adoption will be delayed. Other SBOE action related to funding for Proclamations 2024 and 2025. The Board adopted a distribution rate for the Permanent School Fund of 3.32% that will result in an annual distribution of $1.55 billion available to the legislature for public schools, with at least 50% of that funding for the Technology and Instructional Materials Allotment. This is the largest distribution from the PSF in its history.

The Board approved recommendations to the 2023 state legislature, including recommended changes to the state adoption process for instructional materials. SBOE recommendations would require publishers to meet 100% of the TEKS to qualify for SBOE adoption, an increase from the current 50% requirement. The SBOE review process would be streamlined to combine the TEKS review with the Texas Resource Review (TRR) qualitative review, and the SBOE would approve the TRR rubric, which is currently developed by TEA staff with educator input. Another recommendation would require districts to only use SBOE approved instructional materials or apply to TEA for a waiver.

Commissioner Mike Morath provided an update on the STAAR redesign, discussing test development and the standards setting process, which will delay results for grades 3—8 in 2023. Chair Keven Ellis asked about expectations for third graders responding to the open-ended questions by typing, and the Commissioner reminded the Board that keyboarding instruction is required in the third grade TEKS, although it may not be taking place consistently. He noted that practice tests and sample questions have been available on the TEA website to familiarize students with the online tests they will be taking this spring. Video of the Commissioner’s comments is available on the TEA website at this link: Admin Monitor – Texas – Texas Education Agency at 1:15.

Six outgoing SBOE members were honored for their service. One memorable moment was the emotional tribute to Gina Perez, Democrat from El Paso, by former member and SBOE Chair Donna Bahorich, Republican from Houston. Describing Gina as a “fierce advocate for literacy” who “worked tirelessly across party lines to bring about the best decisions for the benefit of the children of Texas,” Donna spoke of how she and Gina made “good faith efforts to work through the issues, rolling up our sleeves together regardless of party labels to work with anyone and everyone in support of the 5.5 million students of Texas. The students of our great state deserve nothing less.”