Policy … Politics

Advocacy 101

“If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government,
then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools.”
– Plato

RUNNING ON EMPTYCS FOR ALL

June 2017

Texas Education Agency revised process for reviewing TEKS (Standards)

In June 2017, the SBOE approved a new process to be used for the review and revision of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). The new TEKS review process calls for up to five separate work group meetings and provides multiple opportunities for the public to give feedback on the recommendations of the work groups.

Now is the time to get programming (coding) and computational thinking into all courses. Best way to bring CS for All to every Texas student.  I did this with K-8 math standards, although they did not add to the breakouts knowledge section.  Still trying to get that changed, as this is what the textbook publishers use; need to get them to integrate coding into their online textbooks, as they used to do that in the 1990s with Basic and Logo in math textbooks.

(a)(1) The desire to achieve educational excellence is the driving force behind the Texas essential knowledge and skills for mathematics, guided by the college and career readiness standards. By embedding statistics, probability, and finance, while focusing on computational thinking, mathematical fluency and solid understanding, Texas will lead the way in mathematics education and prepare all Texas students for the challenges they will face in the 21st century.

(a)(2) … Students will select appropriate tools such as real objects, manipulatives, algorithms, paper and pencil, and technology, and will apply appropriate strategies such as mental math, estimation, number sense, generalization and abstraction to solve problems…Students will effectively communicate mathematical ideas, reasoning, and their implications using multiple representations such as symbols, diagrams, graphs, computer programs, and language….

January 2017

Texas 85th Legislative session begins and Tx4CS is on top of legislation.  One bill 3593 being hurt in the house 5/3 adds a cyber security pathway and brings Tech Apps into CTE. Three bills from Bohac and Bell are filed to move the Technology Application courses to CATE.  This will bring the needed weighted funding to CS that I have been advocating for … for decades.

  1. Cyber Security Pathway: www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/Text.aspx?LegSess=85R&Bill=HB3593
  2. Moves Tech App to CTE and funds: www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/- Bill=HB395
  3. Funds Tech App: www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/- Bill=HB588
  4. Funds PD: www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/ – Bill=HB587
  5. CS count a 3rd year science or math credit: www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/- Bill=HB728
  6. Higher Education

The new PROPOSED 2017-18 Civil Rights Data Collection has added questions about computer science enrollment and teaching. You can view the documents here: www.regulations.gov/document?D=ED-2016-ICCD-0147-0003 (you will find the proposed data collection instruments on pages 29-31 of the doc titled A-2_CRDC_Data_Groups_12_23_16).

The proposed new instruments are open for public comment through 2/28. Please review the proposed text and provide your comments/suggestions/affirmations. Comments from the public are critical to inclusion of this new data request.You can add comments here: www.regulations.gov/docket?D=ED-2016-ICCD-0147

How to use Federal Funds

November 2016

One more successful initiative.  I started the process to change the SBEC ruling to allow Technology Application certified teachers to teach the introductory CS courses of Fundamentals of CS and AP CS Principles.  Went through 3 approvals with SBEC, then approved Nov. 2016 by SBOE.  See the details on the SBEC Website. The goal is to grow the number of CS teachers in Texas. This gives more teachers the opportunity to practice the basics of CS through actual teaching before taking the CS Certification exam.

January 2016
White House announces CS for All initiative calling for $4 billion in funding for states and $100 million directly for school districts. And $135 million in Computer Science funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Corporation for National And Community Service (CNCS). My Advocacy Goal is to get the money to overloaded classroom teachers. All money must directly touch a student and not go to more research and outside groups that only create more work for teachers.

Texas needs K8 standards like Arkansas and Funding since none of the HBs were passed last year.  We need middle school elective computer science courses such as Discovering CS, Web Design and coding, CS Google First Clubs, and many of the other already free online programs.

April 2015

Texas House Bills 2015 Legislature:

  • HB 3568 – Creation of a technology applications course allotment under the foundation school program.
  • HB 3700 – Establishment of a pilot program to develop computer science education and professional development opportunities.
  • HB 3816 – Establishment of a grant program for promoting computer science certification and professional development for public school teachers.

TechNet and TCEA Advocacy for Funding for CS Education.

March 2015
Replace grades with scout-type badges so teachers have the time. So, President Obama Announces Over $240 Million in New STEM Commitments at the 2015 White House Science Fair. Will this money get to the classroom? Need PBL STEM and CS specialists in every public school, as teachers are too overloaded and I fear most won’t take the time. So the equity of providing the hands-on real world problem solving projects will be replaced with test prep for the very kids that need PBL. All kids want to be the drummers of their learning!

March 2015

About TIME … Bill for weighted funding for computer science education filed by Rep Bohac from Houston Spring Branch ISD. I have been battling this since the 1990s. See the Texas Alliance for Computer Science Education website for information all 3 bills for CS.

November 2014

Has it been that long since I posted on this page … My senator Dan Patrick just got elected Attorney General. SBISD parents let the way with his HB5 legislation so adding their blog site so I can find it again, shapingspringbranch.blogspot.com. – wonder what changes are next. Went to a legislative update by Children at Risk today and seems all they talked about was same stuff for a decade ago.

September 2013

SBOE finally gives math credit for Discrete Math. Why TEA tried to eliminate the Computer Science Discrete Math course and spent time and money creating one in the math area, I just don’t understand. Why was their no communication with those of us who wrote the Discrete Math TEKS? I am a certified math teacher first!!!

November 6, 2012

Just be Nice – No complaints about this traffic cop.  Can we all build on what is working and find common ground?

October 2012
State Board of Education Forum for District 6 October 25 7:00 pm
Revere Middle School, Houston, TX
Please see the SBOE Forum October 25 Revere MS flyer for more details.

September 2012

Testified at SBOE meeting to add Computational Thinking and Programming to Math standards
July 2011
SBOE Testimony

April 2011
SBOE Testimony

December 2010
Lesson Planning – or Exploratory Learning? – See this video from the CS History Project by Professor Simmons using a problem to teach.

Do standards directing instruction help inquiry? How?

Inquiry is central to science learning. When engaging in inquiry, students describe objects and events, ask questions, construct explanations, test those explanations against current scientific knowledge, and communicate their ideas to others. Inquiry-based learning is about using students’ questions to drive the learning. Teaching CS as inquiry would be about encouraging students to explore “how things work” and what their models of computation are and what they should be. – From Computing Education

November 2010
Testimony before the Texas State Board of Education on CSE Enrichment Area and Computer Science standards in Elementary School. SBOE Testimony CS TEKS November 2011. Also testified on the need to have more members on TEKS writing teams.

October 2010
Finalizing the Technology Application TEKS. Have you added your comments? tea.state.tx.us

June 2009
June 2009 the Texas Legislature eliminated the required Technology Application Credit for graduation.  Please add your comments to http://commonsenseeducation.blogspot.com/

For more on advocacy see my history page.

Thank you for taking the time to share your feelings!

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