Opinion: Are We Preparing Texas Children for Success?

Texas children
Texas State board of Education seal | Image by Emree Weaver/The Texas Tribune

As a proud member of the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE), I’m deeply committed to ensuring that our children receive the highest quality education possible – but unfortunately, many Texas ISDs are falling short of this goal by using instructional materials and curricula that neither align with our state’s values nor even match the student’s own grade level.

These deficiencies have significant consequences which result in students being unprepared to learn necessary concepts and lead to poor performance on state assessments. This is unacceptable and we must take action to address this problem to ensure student success.

I take great pride in endorsing Senate Bill 2565, proposed by Senator Brandon Creighton, an eighth-generation Montgomery County local, and the esteemed Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education. SB 2565 incentivizes all Texas school districts to choose high-quality instructional materials that have undergone a careful review process by the Texas State Board of Education. The SBOE approval process will ensure the best instructional materials for Texas students. Also, the process will allow parents, teachers, and community members involvement in the development and approval process.

Furthermore, SB 2565 provides transparency for parents by allowing direct access to all instructional materials their child is using in the classroom. Parents have a right to know the daily classroom curriculum so they can help their child at home, ensure content is age-appropriate, share in their child’s learning experience, and ensure their child’s learning aligns with Texas values. When parents are more involved and there’s full transparency in the education system, families and communities win. SB 2565 is a leap in the right direction toward creating a successful and effective education system for parents, children, and educators.

One of my duties as an SBOE member is to review and recommend instructional materials that are age-appropriate and teach Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). If the content is not age-appropriate, our children will not understand which will result in frustration and limit their ability to learn. Unfortunately, many curriculums adopted by local ISDs are sub-standard and are not age appropriate.

Consider the following example that is from the curriculum adopted by many Texas ISDs: A classroom of 7-year-olds (2nd grade) engaged in a lesson that asks them “Why is the war of 1812 referred to as America’s second war? Describe what caused the war and Great Britain’s three-part plan to defeat the United States.” This is not appropriate for a second grade student, nor is it a reasonable expectation for a second grade teacher to convey these mature concepts to a small child.

Thankfully, SB 2565 tackles this issue head-on by ensuring that all curriculum and instructional materials are age-appropriate and, further, that they’re aligned with the values that are important to Texans.

Article 7 of The Texas Constitution states the purpose of a free education is to preserve our liberties and freedoms. Texans take great pride in our state’s rich heritage and the core principles that our country was founded upon. Texas families believe their values and our God-given rights should be imparted to our children through their education. Over the past decade, the state has been working hard to ensure that our students are taught a love for Texas and America, not taught critical race theory, and are protected from obscene materials.

For instance, in the 87th Legislature, Texas passed the American Patriotism Act, sponsored by Rep. Greg Bonnen, which requires the teaching of critical founding documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Federalist Papers. Also, Texas Education Code 28.002 requires teaching the Old Testament and New Testament when teaching English and Social Studies in every grade level. Unfortunately, despite these commendable efforts, many school districts have adopted a curriculum that does not follow state law nor fulfill the Texas Constitution.

The beauty of SB 2565 is it will allow Texas to develop, write, and publish its own curriculum. Additionally, this bill brings much-needed openness and accountability to our material review process. Currently, the curriculum is reviewed about once every eight years and only requires instructional materials to contain 50% of our state standards. This bill mandates open and transparent annual reviews for all foundational subjects’ instructional materials and curricula and requires 100% TEKS alignment for approval.

It’s time to take action to ensure that our children receive the high-quality education they deserve. I urge all Texans to support SB 2565, which will empower school districts to choose age-appropriate and high-quality materials that align with Texas laws and values. By passing this bill, we can ensure that our children are prepared to learn, experience success in the classroom, and are provided an excellent education to protect their opportunity to live The American Dream.

Julie Pickren is a former Alvin Independent School District School Board Trustee and an active Texas State Board of Education member for District 7 (represents 11.25 counties about 2.5 million people).


Support our non-profit journalism


  1. Bill

    Texas public schools are failing miserably. They are massively overfunded, spend the money poorly, have more administrators and functionaries than they do teachers and the people that are attracted to leadership roles in schools do so because they want to implement social engineering projects instead of education. Teachers unions or any public sector Union for that matter needs to be outlawed immediately because as long as a union sees education as a path to political and financial power there is no hope for reform.

  2. Marjie

    Honey, I was in the classroom for 26 years. No one is teaching Critical Race Theory, whatever that even is. Teachers are too busy testing for the test and these days conducting active shooter drills. Why don’t you pay attention to what really matters? I’m a 6th-generation Texan and THOSE are MY values.

    • Bill

      26 years in the classroom? Given the state of public education I wouldn’t exactly be bragging about that . Public Schools have been such abysmal failures that where I live we had to breakaway from our school district and form our own to ensure a proper education. My children went to the Lovejoy School District and I don’t think there’s another District in the area that produces the results that we have.

    • pennstate

      and men can be women and women can be men and and and

      you lose again!

  3. sue r.

    While I certainly agree that education materials should be age appropriate, teaching the Bible in every grade is not always age appropriate. Further, it clearly violates the US Constitution separation of church and state, unless you are also teaching the Koran, the Torah, the teachings of the Buddha, Shinto, and the numerous other religious systems in the world. As for the proposed bill, do we really want the Texas legislature writing curriculum for our children, given some of the laws they have written? Really?
    As many have stated, our schools need more teachers, less administration, and less outside meddling.

  4. R Reason

    Thank you for bringing this to awareness. 

    Public school curriculum is a form of government speech.  Does the SBOE think a person’s God-given rights include the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?

    To be clear, Texas Education Code 28.002 curriculum requires “religious literature” as an enrichment curriculum, not a ‘foundational’ one; you seem to imply otherwise. In any case, does the SBOE ensure the study of religious texts and concepts is secular in purpose, or are you bent on the Christian-conservative view?

    This seems like nothing more than a suggested ‘state takeover’ of the public school system, and paves the way for other ‘mischief’. No, thanks.

  5. R Reason

    I love the part that criminalizes teachers for “coloring outside the lines” (Sec. 22.05125). 

  6. pennstate

    parents>>>”peaceful” protest


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article