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Your voice is your powerState Board of Education Runoff Election - May 28, 2024

One of the State Board of Education’s key responsibilities is to approve the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Many TXCSS members likely followed, or even participated in, the standards revisions that began in winter 2022. Although workgroups, composed of educators across the state, wrote new standards that were submitted to the Board, the State Board voted to postpone approval of the standards in fall 2022. As a result, social studies teachers are still teaching from standards that were originally created in 2010 (with some modifications: crosswalks with 2022 standards updates are available on TEA’s site), and most Social Studies courses are overdue for an instructional materials update. Additionally, the Native American Ethnic Studies TEKS are pending approval by the board. They were initially scheduled for first reading at the April meeting, but Chair Kinsey took the item off the agenda.

Owing to the current situation with the social studies standards, this year’s Board election could have a significant impact on what is taught in social studies. Seven out of fifteen seats are up for election in the State Board of Education this November. At TXCSS we urge you to familiarize yourself with the candidates and the elections. While many TXCSS members voted in primaries a few weeks ago, some may not realize there are Republican primary runoff elections occurring May 20-25 and May 28 in Districts 10 and 12. District 10 includes Williamson and Bell Counties, some parts of Travis County, Waller County to the southeast and Burnet County to the west. District 12 is a bit north of Dallas, including Plano and stretching east to Texarkana.

Texas has open primaries, meaning registered voters are not required to be registered with a specific political party to vote in that party’s primary. If you did not vote in the March primaries, you can choose whether to vote in the Democratic or Republican runoffs. However, if you voted in the March primaries, then you can only vote for that same party in the runoff elections.

TXCSS sent out a questionnaire to all four candidates in the runoff elections to learn more about their views on issues affecting social studies instruction, but only Pam Little replied, and her responses are below. She is the incumbent running against Jamie Kohlmann in District 12. In District 10, Tom Maynard (incumbent) and Mary Bone are in the runoff. Some additional information on the races and the candidates’ positions are available in the League of Women Voters’ guide, starting on page 12.

And stay tuned, as the TXCSS Advocacy Committee plans to provide more information on SBOE elections leading up to the November general election. We can use more educators to help us research educational issues, stay informed, and get word out to our members. If you are interested in getting involved with the Advocacy Committee, please fill out this form:


TXCSS Questions and Responses from Pam Little (District 12)

What training and experiences qualify you for a position on the State Board of Education?

I worked for 20 years in educational publishing. Part of that time I was a marketing specialist for social studies with McDougal Littell. I have two degrees in history, one from University of Houston and one from Texas A&M. I’ve served for 5 years on the board 3 as the Vice Chair.

In what ways do the revisions process and the role of the SBOE ensure the creation of quality state social studies standards?

Our process involves content experts and educators writing the TEKS with SBOE approval.

What would you change, if anything, about the current process, to improve the quality of the social studies standards?

Have a broader review process to get feedback from more educators.

The most recent TEKS revision process for social studies was delayed and has now been postponed without a clear timeline. What do you consider the next steps for moving forward on the social studies TEKS revisions?

At our last meeting I pushed to have social studies on the review schedule. First decision to be made is the framework. I asked the chair to appoint an ad hoc committee to investigate a framework. I know we need more content in K-3 and do not want to lose Texas and US history at grades 4 & 5.

How soon do you think the SBOE should start the TEKS revisions process?

Determining the framework should start immediately followed by the revisions.

If or when you meet with social studies educators, what questions would you ask them in order to better inform your role or decisions in the State Board?

I would want to know from the teachers any concerns they have with the current TEKS so that we could correct that in the revision. I always hear we have to deconstruct the TEKS – how can a TEKS revision require less work on the supervisors and teachers of social studies.

Your voice is your power.

Interested in entering a dialogue with policymakers on social studies issues? Consider these opportunities to model informed, active citizenship. Download the toolkit as your one stop resource for staying informed and making your voice heard at the legislature. 

87th Texas Legislature Toolkit and Social Studies Related Bills

SB 3 Guidelines

These guidelines were developed by the Texas Council for the Social Studies. Teachers are urged to consult first with appropriate district leadership regarding the local policies and interpretations of this bill. The complete text of SB3 is downloadable at the Texas Legislature Online.

HB3979 Guidelines

These guidelines were developed by the Texas Council for the Social Studies, teachers are urged to first consult with the leadership of your district regarding the local policies and interpretations of this bill.

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