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Texas Board Member Pans '11th-Hour' Critique of Math Standards

With revised Texas math standards expected to face a final vote this week, a board member yesterday expressed exasperation with critics who are seeking big changes.

"I am concerned this process has been in motion for a year, and a week before our meeting, we get this long list of things from your expert," Republican board member Thomas Ratliff told the head of the Texas Association of Business, according to the Dallas Morning News. "We should not be trying to rewrite the [standards] at the 11th hour."

Texas is one of a small handful of states that have chosen not to adopt the Common Core State Standards in math and English/language arts.

Although the critique has arrived late in the game, the Texas business group is actually calling for the vote to be postponed to allow time for major revisions, rather than to debate a lot of amendments this week. (For more on its concerns, as well as others voiced by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, see my blog post yesterday.)

Its president and CEO, Bill Hammond, testified yesterday against the standards as crafted.

Hammond told the board that the proposed standards mention "far too many issues" and lack the depth that some experts believe is needed to help students attain strong math skills, the newspaper reported. (Incidentally, the editorial board of the Dallas Morning News issued an editorial this week raising concerns about the standards.)

Several members of the Texas Association of Supervisors of Mathematics also spoke at the hearing, the Associated Press reports, and largely defended the proposed standards.

"You're pushing that rigor envelope within a grade level. That's a good thing," said Caren Sorrells, the president of the math association, according to the AP.

UPDATE: (1:46 p.m.)

The AP is now reporting that Texas education commissioner Robert Scott told the board today that it should hammer out new math standards that are better than the Common Core State Standards, or delay approving them until it can. Indeed, he suggested the board may consider calling a special meeting in May to ensure adequate time get the job done.

Also, I just learned that the board has already begun to amend the proposed standards. You can follow the blow-by-blow by checking out the Texas Education Agency's Twitter feed.

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