SBOE Testimony – Discrete Math

WEDNESDAY September 18, 2013

(A) Committee of the Full Board – Office of the State Board of Education, (512) 463-9007, FAX: (512) 936-4319;

6. Proposed Repeal of 19 TAC Chapter 126, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Technology Applications, Subchapter C, High School, §126.37, Discrete Mathematics (One-Half to One Credit), Beginning with School Year 2012-2013

This item presents for second reading and final adoption the proposed repeal of 19 TAC Chapter 126, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Technology Applications, Subchapter C, High School, §126.37, Discrete Mathematics (One-Half to One Credit), Beginning with School Year 2012-2013, in order to remove the technology applications discrete mathematics course to correspond with the proposed adoption of a new discrete mathematics course in 19 TAC Chapter 111, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Mathematics.

Thank You SBOE for voting against this. And, thank you to my SBOE representative Donna Bahorich for taking the lead to change the name to Discrete Math for Computer Science.

Question and why EVERY Educator needs to question laws that impact their teaching:
Who and why proposed eliminating the TA Discrete Math course in the first place? HB 5 requires TEA and SBOE to approve 6 CTE or TA courses to have a 4th year math credit. They only have 4. They approved the TA Robotics course for a math credit and changed our TEKS, which I did not agree with.

My Successful Testimony:

Hi, I am Karen North and have spoken before this board in the past to include computational thinking and programming in math and elementary school curriculum. I thank you again for the opportunity to address the board.

I respectfully request your consideration to
(1) Sustain inclusion of the Technology Applications version of Discrete Mathematics.
(2) Designate it as a fourth year mathematics credit.
(3) Change the name to Discrete Math for Computer Science to distinguish it from the proposed mathematics version.

I had the privilege of serving on the TEKS writing team for the computer science courses. One of our goals was to provide students with a series of courses to prepare them for computer science at the university level. We know that statistics is a crucial mathematics for the social sciences and calculus is crucial for engineering. Discrete mathematics is the mathematics for technology, specifically computer science. In developing career paths it is appropriate for students entering a technology profession to receive secondary mathematics credit.

At the SBOE meeting today, Representative Patrick said, “What do we really need to teach in the TEKS?” In Discrete Math it is to see computational problems from a mathematical perspective. That is what the computer science version of Discrete Math does.

The article, Why Discrete Math Is Important, explains that because it does not figure prominently on “high-stakes” exams, nor on college admission exams it is often overlooked. Yet, Discrete Math has become increasingly important in recent years. Students who learn a significant quantity of discrete math before entering college are at an advantage when taking undergraduate-level math courses. University of Texas Discrete Math Instructor Dr. Myer believes the Technology Application Discrete Math is a great course for future CS majors. Discrete Math for Computer science is part of their core courses.

  • The mathematics of modern computer science is built on discrete math.
  • It allows students to very quickly explore “real world” problems that are challenging and interesting.

The Technology Application Discrete math course gives our Texas students the opportunity to study this increasingly important area of math and at the same time apply computer science concepts.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that by 2018, computing occupations in the United States will grow by 21%, or about 800,000 new jobs, which is more than double the growth rate of all occupations in the United States. It is predicted that by 2018, over 71% of the STEM related jobs will be related to computing. However, according to the Texas Department of Labor, only 31% of the job openings in Texas that require computer science degrees can be filled.

With less than 2% of all Texas high school students taking a computer science course for each of the last four years, every effort should be made to enable Texas students to pursue a course of study in computer science. The topics covered in the technology applications version of discrete mathematics provides students with a good understanding of the mathematics that computer scientists use within their work and thus should be included in the curricular offerings for both technology applications and in mathematics.

Thank you for considering this request. I appreciate all you do on behalf of the teachers and students of Texas!

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