Sign the Petition to Veto HB 4294!
by Terri Leo on June 4, 2009 at 10:28 AM
Please join citizens in appealing to Governor Perry to VETO HB 4294, which is a poorly conceived bill. Governor Perry is the only hope for preserving authority by our elected representatives in the State Board of Education (SBOE) over electronic textbooks.
Your Action is Required!
- Sign the online petition,
- Call Gov. Perry at 512-463-2000 / 800-252-9600,
- or send a fax Gov. Perry Urgent at 512-463-1849.
Talking Points and details regarding this include:
- Content can already be delivered electronically now, without HB4294-there is no reason for this bill to exist!
- HB4294 establishes a second content path WITHOUT the SBOE or public “check and balance” we have now
- HB4294 would allow publishers to add or delete content at will without the elected SBOE approval
- The new second path would NOT fine publishers for errors unless they were “intentional”. Currently ALL errors are subject to fines. The new second path to content in the classrooms would enable publishers to claim errors were “unintentional” and hence avoid all fines!
- Politicians have been less than candid with constituents about this second content path
- SBOE “comments” (under HB4294) are completely without authority to act or reject
- Data in pilot studies do NOT show that laptops improve learning, but rather, show they hurt, including the four year $20 million dollar Texas Technology Immersion Pilot study. Those researchers concluded,”Given the financial and logistical challenges of implementing and sustaining the Technology Immersion model, statewide implementation may not be possible.”
- Online security is a huge issue. Hacking, inappropriate and graphic websites, cheating (reported just this week!), etc. Do you want your child to have unsupervised access with their own personal laptop?
- It unconstitutionally re-directs Permanent School Fund (PSF) money currently under the direction of the elected SBOE from textbooks to electronics under the direction of the appointed Commissioner. The Texas Attorney General has already ruled that laptops are not textbooks!
- The elected SBOE members spend the better part of their lives voluntarily trying to address these and other education issues. Respectfully, most of our legislators don't have nearly as much knowledge and expertise on education as the elected SBOE.
Help rescue the taxpayers, children, and teachers of Texas by vetoing HB 4294!
TexasGOPVote Twitter follower, Bill Curnow, poses a good question:
[BillCurnow] @TexasGOPVote what's wrong with electronic textbooks?
[TexasGOPVote] Bill, the issue is not e-textbooks, per se. It's the bill's stripping of power from the State Board of Education - thanks for taking a look
[BillCurnow] I'll take another look. I supposed the bill because of the e-book issue, never made sense to force purchase of physical to obtain electronic
[TexasGOPVote] We believe that the SBOE, an elected body, should be able to review e-books as they do regular books. HB4294 did not allow for SBOE review.
[BillCurnow] Original intent was that the e-book be the same as regular, when regular is approved e-book is as well. Something changed.
Here is the response from Terri Leo:
"I am in no way opposed to technology in education, however, I am opposed to bureaucrats in a back room having the final say over electronic versions of textbooks or classroom materials. Parents, teachers and citizens deserve transparency, they do not want publishers to 'self-monitor' themselves and they do not want them being able to add or remove content at their pleasure."
From the House Journal -- Rep. Branch and Rep. Chisum discuss legislative intent of HB 4294, prior to the House's concurrence with Senate amendments:
5876 81st LEGISLATURE — REGULAR SESSION
HB 4294 - HOUSE CONCURS IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
TEXT OF SENATE AMENDMENTS
Representative Branch called up with senate amendments for consideration at this time,
HB 4294, A bill to be entitled An Act relating to textbooks, electronic textbooks, instructional material, and technological equipment in public schools.
HB 4294 - STATEMENT OF LEGISLATIVE INTENT
REPRESENTATIVE CHISUM: Mr. Branch, I just want to make sure we're not trying to diminish the existing powers of the SBOE. Would you mind if I asked you a couple of questions for legislative intent?
REPRESENTATIVE BRANCH: I'd be happy to answer any questions.
CHISUM: It's my understanding that it is not your intention to circumvent the SBOE's authority to approve the content of our textbooks. In fact, the notwithstanding clause ensures that there will be an SBOE approved textbook available for each student in each classroom across our state. Is that correct?
BRANCH: That is correct, the specific clause reads: "Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, a school district or open-enrollment charter school must purchase a classroom set of textbooks adopted by the State Board of Education under Section 31.023 or 31.035 for each subject and grade level in the foundation and enrichment curriculum." By this provision alone, the intent of the commissioner's list is clear. The commissioner's list is intended to supplement SBOE approved material, and could potentially include electronic versions of textbooks already reviewed and adopted by the SBOE.
CHISUM: What safeguards are built into this bill to ensure that the SBOE will continue to have the authority to review the content used to educate our kids in our classrooms?
BRANCH: Again, this bill is meant to allow districts to purchase materials to supplement the textbooks approved by the SBOE. The best example I can think of is using Rosetta Stone to supplement our approved Spanish textbooks. We have worked hard to develop a series of safeguards for the SBOE including: requiring the TEA commissioner to give SBOE ample time to comment on all materials before they are placed on the commissioner's list; and ensure SBOE maintains authority over TEKS development and review. The bill also includes verification language that requires districts to certify annually to the SBOE and the TEA commissioner that, for each subject in the required curriculum and in each grade level, the textbooks purchased cover all elements of the essential knowledge and skills adopted by the SBOE.
CHISUM: Is it your intention for districts that would like to utilize this option in the next school year be able to do so?
BRANCH: Absolutely. The intent of this legislation is for the commissioner to adopt an initial list so that electronic textbook and instructional materials on the list will be available for requisition by school districts and open-enrollment charter schools for the 2010-2011 school year, in concert with Proclamation 2010.
CHISUM: Mr. Branch, will you help me next session if indeed we find that not all textbooks are able to be reviewed and registered by SBOE?
BRANCH: I will.
REMARKS ORDERED PRINTED
Representative Chisum moved to print remarks between Representative Branch and Representative Chisum.
The motion prevailed.
Representative Branch moved to concur in the senate amendments to HB 4294.
Issue of Supervision
Electronic textbooks are fine by itself, but the content will need to be under close watch. Without the SBOE, who's going to ensure the contents are right and that they are what the parents and teachers approved?