Abbott: No Common Core in Texas
No Common Core in Texas is essentially what Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said in an opinion he rendered on the use of the Common Core State Standards in the Lone Star State on June 17, 2014.
Abbott's opinion was prompted by a request for an opinion filed by Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston), chair of the Texas Senate Committee on Education. He submitted this request (RQ-1175-GA) on December 20, 2013. In his filing, Patrick posed the question -- if Texas school districts violate the law by using Common Core to teach Texas education standards, the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).
"Texas school districts are required to provide instruction in the essential knowledge and skills at appropriate grade levels, and pursuant to subsection 28.002 (b-3) of the Education Code, they may not use the Common Core State Standards Initiative to comply with this requirement," Abbott stated clearly in opinion GA-1067.
Texas did not adopt the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the State Board of Education (SBOE) previously adopted its own standards, the Texas Essential Knowledge & Skills ("TEKS").
In the opinion, Abbott also wrote, in part: "Thus school districts must utilize the TEKS standards, not the Common Core Standards."
During the 83rd Legislative Session last year, Patrick also sponsored House Bill 462 to prohibit the use of the Common Core State Standards in Texas. This bill was signed into law by Governor Rick Perry on June 14, 2013, and it went into effect immediately.
Yet, despite the passage of HB 462, Common Core materials began appearing in Texas schools, as Breitbart Texas reported. In response, Patrick took the initiative and filed his request with the Texas Attorney General's office, in which he wrote: "certain school districts within Texas are currently using Common Core to teach the Texas state standards."
In the opinion, Abbott also cited Texas Education Code amended by HB 462 (83rd Leg., R.S., ch. 861, § 1, 2013 Tex. Gen. Laws 2210, 2210. Section 28.002), in the prohibition of Common Core was clear. A few of these points included:
(b-2) The State Board of Education may not adopt common core state standards to comply with a duty imposed under this chapter.
(b-3) A school district may not use common core state standards to comply with the requirement to provide instruction in the essential knowledge and skills at appropriate grade levels under Subsection (c).
(b-4) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, a school district or open-enrollment charter school may not be required to offer any aspect of a common core state standards curriculum.
Abbott also debunked arguments presented by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) where they claimed "overlap" between Common Core and the TEKS as an issue, suggesting that "if teachers cannot use the Common Core Standards 'in any way,' it will result in an
inability to teach many of the required TEKS." Abbott called this claim out as "baseless."
The Attorney General clearly stated that the "intent of HB 462 was not to prevent the use of materials where the two standards overlap; it was to prohibit the outright adoption of the national Common Core standards."
Breitbart Texas spoke with Senator Patrick following the release of the Abbott's opinion on Common Core. He said, "Attorney General Abbott's
opinion is exactly what I was hoping for when I submitted this request."
He emphasized, "This is a clear message to Common Core advocates that the state of Texas has our own standards and we will protect them from being undermined by national interests."
Patrick, like Abbott, are the favored GOP conservative candidates running for Texas Lt.
Governor, and Governor, respectively. Both face uber-liberals in November; Patrick goes up against Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) and Abbott, Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth).
Follow Merrill Hope, an original member of the Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.