Help Defeat HB 4294
by Terri Leo on June 1, 2009 at 9:19 PM
HB 4294, which has just been passed in both the Texas Senate and the House, will divert state funds from textbooks to unproven instructional materials based in technological equipment. This bill will take the authority away from our elected State Board of Education and hand it over to the unelected Commissioner of Education- this clearly being a departure from the Republican platform that supports the authority of the elected SBOE.
Cynthia Dunbar, a member of the State Board of Education, explains that “the ability to approve electronic textbooks is already in the Education Code, but those books had to receive SBOE approval like all others which, thanks to this bill, they no longer do. Now they will simply be approved by a bureaucracy rather than an elected representative body.” The bureaucracy’s decisions may not include the students’ best interests. Furthermore, teachers and parents will no longer have control over textbook content.
Claims that this bill will save the state money are not valid. Transitioning to a technology-only system requires an expensive upkeep. Also, some families cannot afford to purchase up-to-date technologies, inhibiting students from accessing textbooks from home.
The Texas Insider quoted that this is "a blatant vendor bill that will allow computer companies, not textbook providers, to sell Texas low-end equipment that will become dated in two to four years."
Now, it is up to us to fight for the best interest of our public education system by asking Governor Perry to veto HB 4294. The issue here is not about opposing technology, it is about preserving the voice of the people as to the content of textbooks.