Press Release: TEKSWatch Provides Tools for Public Action

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 28, 2009
TEKSWatch Provides Tools for Public Action

El Paso, Texas – The Texas State Board of Education is revising the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)—the standards that govern social studies teaching in the public schools. TEKSWatch aims to educate the public about the revision process and to encourage public participation in the process. The TEKSWatch website now features several new tools to help Texans become part of the process:

• Make an observation about something in the proposed TEKS that you think merits attention. So far users have drawn attention to the increased emphasis on political conservatives in US history (11th grade), the removal of individual scientists and the emphasis on Christianity in world history (10th grade), and the addition of Juan de Oñate as a community builder (3rd grade).

• Write a scholarly analysis about something you think needs to change (or to stay the same).

• Teach your students about the revision process. “Why Things Change” highlights an improvement in the TEKS’s treatment of civil rights in moving beyond “great man” history to understanding the role of organized Americans. “Why did Texas Secede from the Union?” points out a place where the proposed curriculum overreaches the documentary record. “Would This Have Prepared You for College?” provides ideas for engaging university students in history, public history, and education courses.

• Hold a public information and action meeting. Read a report of a recent information meeting held in El Paso and then use the “Meeting Organization Kit” to plan a meeting in your own community. The kit includes a planning checklist and sample promotional and educational materials.

The Center for History Teaching & Learning is a division of UTEP’s History Department designed to promote scholarly teaching among department faculty, to support teacher education among our students, and to provide outreach and professional development opportunities for area social studies teachers.

CONTACT:

URL for the “TEKSWatch” Initiative: http://academics.utep.edu/Default.aspx?tabid=61097

Keith A. Erekson, Director, Center for History Teaching & Learning, kaerekson@utep.edu

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