Texas education leaders developing new English and reading standards acquiesced Thursday to pressure from teachers and lawmakers, allowing for more Hispanic input.
"I'm pleased that there was a compromise — and that they just didn't shut out the Hispanic expertise," said Rene Nu?±ez, State Board of Education member from El Paso.
â€?Hispanic inputâ€? and â€?expertiseâ€? Does that mean expertise of English education experts who happen to be of Hispanic ancestry, or Hispanic activists? Well, I think we already know the answer to that question.
The State Board of Education spent hours discussing a new curriculum, defining test standards and the contents of textbooks. Educators and lawmakers had criticized the proposed curriculum, saying it was too prescriptive and ignored Hispanic students' needs.
So Hispanic students donâ€™t have the same needs as those of other Texas students ?
Board Chairman Don McLeroy said last week there was no time to make major changes because the curriculum needed to be adopted in time for the 2009-10 school year. Wednesday, though, the board heard pleas for more input from bilingual educators and from experts with knowledge about how Hispanic students learn. "If we're not meeting the needs of those individual children, especially our English-language learners, they are at a tremendous disadvantage," said Paul Haupt, state coordinator for the El Paso, Texas and International Reading associations and a consultant for Socorro Independent School District.
And thanks to the "Hispanic input" and "expertise", the reading list is being eliminated:
Teachers also objected to a reading list, which they said removed flexibility.
Nope, wouldnâ€™t want a reading list.
The board unanimously agreed to eliminate the reading list and to consider input from Hispanic teachers and two experts, including Elena Izquierdo, University of Texas at El Paso bilingual education professor and president of the Texas Association for Bilingual Education.
Hmmm. Do you suppose that bilingual educators have a vested interest in continuing bilingual education ?
As for the reading list, notice they arenâ€™t changing the reading list, or modifying it, or even adding books that would supposedly be appropriate for Hispanics. No, theyâ€™re just scrapping the reading list.
Texas readers take note â€“ the final vote on the â€?revised English and reading standardsâ€? is scheduled for next month, so Texas readers still have time to share their input and expertise with the Texas State Board of Education. You can contact them here and share your input and expertise.