The people of Texas were asked, “What’s the most important issue?’ for K-12 schooling. Respondents gave many different answers, and a whopping 41% said they simply “didn’t know.” Answers ranged from conservative curriculum concerns to safety and discipline. Below we’ll look at the top three.
Conservative Curriculum Concerns 9%
There was supposed to be a vote late in 2022 on whether or not to revamp the current social studies/history curriculum in Texas. However, there was backlash from conservatives, and the State Board of Education decided to postpone the vote until they could “gather more input.”
The Texas Freedom Caucus, a group of republican lawmakers, sent a letter to the State Board saying, “[They] will not hesitate to intervene during the next legislative session, should the need arise, to protect Texas children from being further indoctrinated and taken advantage of.” Apparently, the letter helped the board’s decision to postpone.
In 2010, the Texas Board of Education approved the Conservative Curriculum that’s still in place which was put into motion by the Far-Right. Two key points and or problems with the curriculum are:
– The Board removed Thomas Jefferson from the Texas curriculum, “replacing him with religious right icon John Calvin.”
– The Board refused to require that “students learn that the Constitution prevents the U.S. government from promoting one religion over all others.”
The postponement, of course, caused ire from liberals and liberal groups; Georgina Pérez, D-El Paso, said, “The idea of kicking the can down the road is unacceptable.” Hence, why the conservative curriculum the most prevalent issue from the poll.
Education/Teacher Quality 6%
Education and/or the quality of teachers in Texas is the second most important issue, according to the August 2022 poll. There have been concerns, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, that teacher quality in Texas has fallen off. Many teachers took early retirements, some checked out or “quiet quit,” and others simply never came back when schools opened back up. However, there might be a solution.
Focus on Diversity
Forty-one percent of teachers in Texas are people of color. However, 73% of students are of color. According to The Education Trust, research shows that all students, no matter race, benefit from having more diverse teachers. They benefit emotionally, socially, and academically from a robust and diverse workforce of teachers.
On top of that, black and Latino students attend schools with less capable teachers than whites. Furthermore, despite the challenges teachers of color face, they’re more likely to stay on the job than white teachers. Texas educators have called on the state to address this issue and asked for a seat at the table regarding education policies.
School shootings across the country have risen drastically over the years. In 2021 they hit an all-time high and dipped in 2022, although it was the second-highest year on record.Safety is an extremely I’mportant issue, especially in light of the recent school shooting in Uvalde; where a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers.
New Bill Proposed
Last week two Texas lawmakers proposed the “panic button bill.” Rep. Shawn Thierry, D-Houston, is introducing the bill for the second time. The legislation would require Texas schools to have alert devices with technology that immediately notify EMS, law enforcement, and other first responders in the case of an emergency. Ms. Thierry says the bill is modeled after Alyssa’s Law in Florida which was named after a victim of the Parkland shooting. Thierry, who has a 10-year-old daughter, says, “Time equals life — within minutes, within seconds. All of that makes the difference between saving a life.”
Other Important K-12 Issues
- General Curriculum Concerns 5%
- Funding 4%
- Teacher Pay 4%
- Teacher Recruitment/Retention Shortage 4%
- Testing 3%
- Politicization of Schools by Reps 3%
- Liberal Curriculum Concerns 2%
- Politicization of Schools 2%
- Vouchers/School Choice 1%
- Politicization of Schools by Dems 1%
- Lack of Parental Input 1%
- Discipline 1%
- Other 8%
- Don’t Know 41%