POSTED: Thursday, July 22, 2010 - 9:02am
UPDATED: Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - 11:49am
AUSTIN — Texas standards for what students are expected to learn in math are “clearly inferior” to a new set of national guidelines that the state’s leaders have rejected, according to a think tank’s analysis released Wednesday.
The report by the Washington-based Thomas B. Fordham Institute gave Texas a grade of C for its math standards, saying they were minimal and lacked specificity.
However, the state got an A-minus in English and language arts — one of eleven states that scored in the same range in that subject as the national guidelines called Common Core State Standards.
The think tank analyzed the standards in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. None of the states were better than the national core standards in math.
Texas officials, led by Gov. Rick Perry, were critical of efforts to adopt uniform national standards, rejecting the efforts in favor of allowing the elected State Board of Education to continue crafting state guidelines.
“We had a long way to go from where we were,” Perry said Wednesday. “The good news out of that report is that our English is above the national standards. But math and science, we’ve got a ways to go, there’s no doubt about it. For us to be competitive in this global marketplace, we must improve our math and science standards, academies and getting our kids in these programs.”
Teacher groups, however, were critical of the analysis.
“The Fordham study represents the views of one group and I’m not sure that Texas teachers would agree with all of their rankings,” said Brock Gregg, a lobbyist for the Association of Texas Professional Educators.
In fact, Gregg says many teachers in his 115,000-member group believe the opposite from what the analysis found. They think the state’s math standards are sufficient but the English and language arts standards aren’t, he said.
The math standards were adopted in 1997 and are expected to get a rewrite later this year. Language arts standards in Texas were adopted by the State Board of Education in 2008.
The Common Core standards have been adopted by 25 states. The state-led initiative aims to establish a uniform set of expectations on what students should know by the time they graduate high school.
The sweeping education benchmarks released in May aim to replace a hodgepodge of academic goals varying wildly from state to state with a uniform set of expectations for students.
The common academic standards many states will adopt this fall are clearer and more rigorous than those currently used by three-quarters of all states, according to an analysis by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
The study found the Common Core standards were stronger than 37 states in English and 39 states in math. A handful of states had academic standards in both subjects that were similar to the uniform ones.