Mid-Term Report Card Coming Soon!

by TTT Coalition on January 20, 2015

TTT Update – Local Districts Reviewing Textbooks

Currently the 1200+ school districts in Texas are in the process of setting up review panels and beginning the arduous task of reviewing nearly 90 social studies instructional materials. By the end of February the committees will make their recommendations to the local school boards for approval and eventual purchase.

This is where the work of TTT will come in handy for the “consumer”.

Who is the consumer?

The consumers ultimately are the children who will be taught the material but TTT views the parents, school board members and teachers  in that category as they are the ones responsible for teaching/selecting the material.

TTT’s purpose all along was to provide a “report card” that “consumers” can use to help influence which textbooks are published.

How the TTT Reviews can Help You Influence Which Textbooks are Purchased locally

The local school board appointed review team’s recommendations in the past were the primary tool in whether a book was recommended for purchase. Parents may or may not have been on those committees.  Often times parents do not have the time to review multiple textbooks.

An additional obstacle in today’s world will be access…on-line or the actual textbook. In reality the textbooks will most likely be only accessible online.

For some parents this maybe easy but others this may present a problem if they are “technology challenged”.  TTT found that access was not easy and it took great persistence to gain access time after time.

Now parents will have another source to call upon besides their own review or the reviews of the local review panels.

TTT is in the final phase of preparing our “mid-term” report card.  It will be posted on or about February 1.

!. The report card will be a report with all 32 book titles, the name of the publisher, grade level and one of four grades.

Good, Acceptable, Poor or Unacceptable.   On the back on the report card will be an explanation of the findings for each of the social studies subject areas.  To see the exact reasons for the ratings, each textbook will be “hotlinked” to the specific report on our website.

TTT Coalition was able to review only 32 social studies textbooks (out of 95 submitted) that covered Middle School and High School social studies. We were not able to review every textbook/publisher. We chose the books to review based upon the the size of the publisher (larger publishers were the first criteria)  and areas of interest TTT wanted to focus on.  If you don’t see the title of a textbook your school is considering or recommending on our website, TTT did not review/critique it.

“Is there anything I can do between now and when the “mid-term” report card comes out?”

Absolutely.  Even with no “report card”, those interested can see the errors, TTT’s proposed corrections to the errors and in many cases the publisher’s actual responses. In some cases they made changes but in many cases they didn’t.  Here is how to read the reports found under the “Textbook Reviews” tab.

1. There are multiple columns on the TTT template.  The first one on the left is the page/paragraph of the error.

2. The second column is the quoted text that is in error.

3. The next column shows the type of error (the key is at the top of the review  template) such as an imbalanced presentation of material on a particular topic, an omission of fact, a half-truth or simple factual error (such as a date or something easily verifiable.)

4. The next column is TTT’s explanation and “corrective material” with the source of the correct information.  These comments will be in black.

5. Below those comments are the publisher’s comments (in red) directly as they have responded with no editing from TTT.

You will find this part of the template fascinating as you will see the tone and flavor of their rebuttals.  Some are quick to identify something as an error, other times the publishers will say it is not an error but will still make changes and in other cases publishers will give various reasons for not making any changes.

In some cases the publishers failed to even make a reply.

You can begin to get familiar with the textbooks before the report cards come out in 10 days.

You can certainly access these textbooks online to read for yourself also.  Contact your Education Service Center or your local school district and ask for directions for accessing the textbooks you are interested in.

Summary

So to summarize, once you know what publisher and name of the textbook, visit the Textbook Review tab and begin looking over the review.

Check back with TTT around Feb 1 and look for the report card to match up the final grade with the textbook(s).

Once you have reviewed the TTT textbook review and have a grade, you are ready to appear before the School Board and lobby for or against that particular book.

How About the Textbooks That Weren’t Reviewed by TTT? 

Great question.  You may not have time to review the entire textbook but you can do the following in order to make your own personal assessment for adoption or note:

1.Go to this document:

TEKS_P2015 Recommendations for the Adoption List of Instructional Materials_webposting_SEonly 103014

and find your textbook and determine what percentage of the Texas Essential Knowledge Skills – TEKS (these are the minimum items required to be taught and tested in each class as determined by the State Board of Education)  are covered by the textbooks.

A book that has less than 100% will not be rated “Good” by TTT.

School districts are required to certify that 100% of the TEKS are taught thereby insuring any book with less than 100% will require the local schools or teachers to purchase additional material at the district’s expense (often times at the teacher’s expense).

2. Review the TTT reviews of similar grade level and subject matter.  Note what types of errors were found in those books. Often times the same types of errors were found in multiple publishers. The template TTT used for review can be found here. TTT Publication Evaluation Template Proc2015 Complete this as thoroughly as you can and present this at the School Board meeting.

3. Go to the index of the book and skim through topics of interest to you and begin reading those selective passages.  If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. You may find the tone perfectly acceptable and if you can’t read the entire book, this sampling of the various topics is at least one way for you to assess the quality of the textbook.

4. If you find a book that wasn’t reviewed by TTT with similar number of errors on the various topics, make your complaints known to the school board. You can also report errors to the Texas Education Agency by completing this form and submitting it to the email address indicated on the form.

TEA_Textbook_Error

5. For any evaluations done using the TTT template we would appreciate a copy emailed to TTT so we can collect this data for possible inclusion and comparison to others who are after the same information.

“Why a “mid-term” report card versus vs. a “Final Report” Card?” 

The answer is, “we’re not done”

TTT has prepared responses to the “publisher’s replies”.

We will be sending those to the publishers later in February in hopes they will make further changes based upon our arguments and subject matter experts who have commented on the publisher’s comments.

We did not want to wait until the publishers replied with their second rebuttals for fear the local school district review and approval process would be over and our initial work would not get into the hands of the people in time for a final vote at the local school board. We felt a “mid-term” report card was better than on report card before the final selections around Texas.

As publishers reply we will replace those old reviews with the publishers comments and in circumstances where significant changes have occurred, a grade may be changed.  No mid-term or final grade is given for any single error but publishers who wish to make significant changes will most likely see their final grade improve.

Thanks for visiting the site and TTT’s hope is this explanation will give you some guidance on how to use these reviews right now and give you an expectation of when the “report card” will be completed that will compliment these reviews and help you choose the right textbook for your child, student(s) or classroom.

Lt Col Roy White (ret), Chairman

Truth in Texas Textbooks Coalition

truthintexastextbooks@gmail.com

214.924.9033

 rder to make your own personal assessment for adoption or note:

1.Go to this document:

TEKS_P2015 Recommendations for the Adoption List of Instructional Materials_webposting_SEonly 103014

and find your textbook and determine what percentage of the Texas Essential Knowledge Skills – TEKS (these are the minimum items required to be taught and tested in each class as determined by the State Board of Education)  are covered by the textbooks.

A book that has less than 100% will not be rated “Good” by TTT.

School districts are required to certify that 100% of the TEKS are taught thereby insuring any book with less than 100% will require the local schools or teachers to purchase additional material at the district’s expense (often times at the teacher’s expense).

2. Review the TTT reviews of similar grade level and subject matter.  Note what types of errors were found in those books. Often times the same types of errors were found in multiple publishers. The template TTT used for review can be found here. TTT Publication Evaluation Template Proc2015 Complete this as thoroughly as you can and present this at the School Board meeting.

3. Go to the index of the book and skim through topics of interest to you and begin reading those selective passages.  If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. You may find the tone perfectly acceptable and if you can’t read the entire book, this sampling of the various topics is at least one way for you to assess the quality of the textbook.

4. If you find a book that wasn’t reviewed by TTT with similar number of errors on the various topics, make your complaints known to the school board. You can also report errors to the Texas Education Agency by completing this form and submitting it to the email address indicated on the form.

TEA_Textbook_Error

5. For any evaluations done using the TTT template we would appreciate a copy emailed to TTT so we can collect this data for possible inclusion and comparison to others who are after the same information.

“Why a “mid-term” report card versus vs. a “Final Report” Card?” 

The answer is, “we’re not done”

TTT has prepared responses to the “publisher’s replies”.

We will be sending those to the publishers later in February in hopes they will make further changes based upon our arguments and subject matter experts who have commented on the publisher’s comments.

We did not want to wait until the publishers replied with their second rebuttals for fear the local school district review and approval process would be over and our initial work would not get into the hands of the people in time for a final vote at the local school board. We felt a “mid-term” report card was better than on report card before the final selections around Texas.

As publishers reply we will replace those old reviews with the publishers comments and in circumstances where significant changes have occurred, a grade may be changed.  No mid-term or final grade is given for any single error but publishers who wish to make significant changes will most likely see their final grade improve.

Thanks for visiting the site and TTT’s hope is this explanation will give you some guidance on how to use these reviews right now and give you an expectation of when the “report card” will be completed that will compliment these reviews and help you choose the right textbook for your child, student(s) or classroom.

 

Lt Col Roy White (ret), Chairman

Truth in Texas Textbooks Coalition

truthintexastextbooks@gmail.com

214.924.9033

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