-- The Bayou, 5.24.08
David Bradley Responds: "There was nothing hasty about the process."
Gator invited Beaumont's David Bradley, a member of the Texas Board of Education, to reflect on Friday's controversial decision about the state's new English curriculum -- a plan that literally arrived in board member's hands about an hour before their final vote. Bradley was one of 9 board members who voted for the new, mostly unseen plan. Here is his response:
There was nothing hasty about the process the SBOE used to develop and adopt new English curriculum standards. This has been a three-year effort. What made it difficult was the last-minute political hijacking of the board's work effort by educrats who have failed to educate our kids for decades.
Those who complained the loudest were the curriculum specialists, coordinators, consultants, and product vendors who are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide consulting and training services to Texas' 1,100-plus school districts at taxpayer expense. We should have standards that teachers and parents can understand without having to hire someone to translate them.
What scared them so much? A healthy dose of phonics. We also wanted grammar taught specifically rather than have students learn through osmosis while reading. We want to start grading for spelling and punctuation. These are areas missing from the classroom.
I heard from many local classroom teachers and local school board members who are frustrated because of the mush they are told to teach by the State. They tell of how we are losing another generation of kids to an educational philosophy that does not demand accuracy or proficiency. Those who testified in support of our efforts were real classroom teachers; many others were unable to testify because they were working at school during this process.
David Bradley, Vice Chairman
State Board of Education
2165 North St.
Beaumont Texas 77701