“My Take on Texas’ Social Studies Curriculum Standards – TEKS”
By Donna Garner


BREAKING: The Texas State Board of Education has decided not to take its First Reading vote (set for 8.30 – 9.2.22) of the proposed, new Social Studies curriculum standards (TEKS).  Neither has the Texas Education Agency posted any new updated draft standards from the Work Groups. This means that the process of adoption of new Social Studies TEKS has been slowed down because of the wide concerns statewide over the Work Groups’ products.  


Because I am old (81) and am a retired Texas teacher, people keep asking me for my recommendations to improve our Texas public school classrooms. Below are some of those recommendations, but I encourage readers to verify each and everything that I have stated because I definitely make mistakes. 

Please read to the bottom of this page to see my full article. 


A terminology change was made at some time in the past few years. In years past, the people chosen to draft curriculum standards were called the “TEKS Writing Team.” Now the people chosen to draft the curriculum standards are called “Work Groups.” I imagine the distinction was made to clarify that the present TEKS do not necessarily need to be rewritten from scratch; some only need to be revised. 

The Work Groups have no mandate to rewrite the Social Studies TEKS from scratch. In fact, they are encouraged to take the present Social Studies TEKS and to use them as the master copy on which minor changes can be made (e.g., making the social studies courses more chronologically developed and/or to include more emphasis in the younger grades on Texas and U. S. History). 


Here is the link that I have to the Work Groups A and C Draft for all the high-school social studies courses: (https://tea.texas.gov/sites/default/files/social-studies-teks-review-work-group-a-and-c-draft-recommendations.pdf?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=da67cd96-f7b0-4cf1-93cc-4010be8fc079). I presume this is the latest draft.

Notice at one glance the large amount of green underlined wording. This means the Work Groups added all of this to the present U. S. History TEKS. 

At a second glance, notice all of the red strike-throughs. This shows the large amount of wording in the present U. S. History TEKS that the Work Groups want deleted. 

The purple italicized and underlined words are those that the Work Groups want to move to another location (e.g., grade level).   

By putting all of the green underlined wording together with the large amount of red strike-throughs and purple terms, it is easy to see that the Work Groups have completely decimated the present U. S. History TEKS. 

Was that meant to be their mission…to destroy the present Type #1 U. S. History TEKS? 

I do not believe that is what they should have done. They should have stayed close to the present U. S. History TEKS as the master copy and moved a few elements to various grade/subject levels to achieve closer chronological order.  

The present Social Studies TEKS (K-12) are solid Type #1 curriculum standards and do not need a complete rewrite. In fact, they were streamlined only a few years ago. 


Here is the link to the K-8 Work Group D draft. Again, I presume this is the latest draft: https://tea.texas.gov/sites/default/files/work-group-d-draft-recommendations.pdf?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=da67cd96-f7b0-4cf1-93cc-4010be8fc079

On this draft it is much more difficult to see what changes were actually made by Work Group D (K-8) because they did not color code the edits that they made to the current Social Studies TEKS.  So far as I can tell, a person would have to sit down with the present Social Studies TEKS alongside the K-8 Work Group D document and go word-for-word to find out what and where edits have been made in the Group D draft.  

It seems strange to me that this group did not use the same color coding as the high-school Work Groups used. The K-8 Work Group put their comments and rationale in the far right-hand column, but I cannot tell where the actual edits/changes were made in the wording on the left.  Either way, there appear to be many edits/changes to the present K-8 Social Studies TEKS. 

I do not believe that was the mission of the K-8 Work Group – to change so many of the present Social Studies TEKS. The Work Group should have taken the present K-8 Social Studies TEKS and streamlined them, perhaps moving more chronological order into the document and a stronger emphasis on U. S. and Texas history into the younger grades. 


What I am doing is encouraging the new conservative SBOE candidates (whether they get seated as SBOE members or not) to start now having conference calls with one another, sharing common ideas, and building trusting relationships during the time that they can do this without having to worry about quorum problems after being elected.  (A quorum on the 15-member SBOE would be 8; in other words, once elected, seven or fewer SBOE members could meet together to discuss SBOE business without there being a quorum.)

From what I can tell, some of the present SBOE members (elected by “We the People”) have been made to feel that the TEA (unelected) chooses the nominees for the pool and that the only thing a Board member can do is to exercise his veto power over an inferior nominee in his SBOE district. 

I am trying to get them to understand that that is not the way it is supposed to work.  Present SBOE conservatives need to be pro-active by making a list right now of people in their SBOE districts who are knowledgeable, credible, and committed. Conservative board members can also turn to various conservative organizations in Texas to help them locate and identify qualified people to serve. Then when called upon to present nominees for a pool, the conservative SBOE members will be ready and waiting to nominate the very best people for the pool. 

Board members can also veto from the pool any nominees from their SBOE district who do not seem to be good choices.  The final pool list then becomes the list of people from whom the TEA staff may select Work Group members or to form other committees that may arise. The TEA tries to assign one Work Group member per SBOE member for most subjects.

When it comes to SBOE members nominating Expert Advisors (maximum of 7 advisors per subject area) to critique proposed TEKS drafts, two SBOE members will normally team up to nominate one Expert Advisor.


To form Work Groups, the present SBOE members are often asked to nominate knowledgeable people from their SBOE district. The SBOE members are allowed to object to any people in their district who seem unfit to serve.  The final pool list is given to the Texas Education Agency who then fills out the slots on the Work Groups.

Present SBOE members are allowed to meet in groups of no more than seven to make sure there is not a quorum present.


I definitely think the final/Second Reading vote on the Social Studies TEKS should not take place in the Nov. 2022 SBOE meeting.  That is much too rushed since there is an ever-growing concern in the public over the various Work Group drafts which presently contain CRT, LGBTQ, sexual orientation, etc. and other undesirable recommendations.

Thankfully the SBOE at its Special Meeting a few weeks ago did vote to stop the work on Work Group E which was off into “wokeness.”


I believe that the present Social Studies TEKS should be the master document from which people need to work and not the Work Groups’ documents.  Yes, there need to be some changes made to the present Social Studies TEKS to make everything more chronological which seems to me to be the best way to teach history; but those changes should not be major ones. However, there is no need for a complete rewrite.

Right now the Social Studies TEKS are Type #1, and I believe the Work Groups (who are being driven by the leftists) want to move them into Type #2.  Below is the Type #1 vs. Type #2 Chart which I think everyone should study because then they will be better prepared to recognize and categorize curriculum standards, curriculum, teachers, lobbyists, politicians, legislation, and on and on.

Type #1 cannot be mixed with Type #2 any more than water and oil can be mixed. To the student in the classroom, there should be either right or wrong answers (Type #1) in life.  Wishy-washy emotions/beliefs/personal opinions are Type #2 and are very subjective based upon the person’s value system (or that of the evaluator).  

Unfortunately in today’s world, much too much is based upon emotions/beliefs/opinions with very little emphasis being placed on right/wrong, legal/illegal, good/bad, truths/lies.  Students must be taught to know the differences.

Presently Texas has Type #1 ELAR, Science, and Social Studies TEKS. The Math TEKS at the last minute through devious means were moved “by the light of the moon” over into Type #2 (process standards added to the introductions). That is a shame, and our latest STAAR test results in math definitely show lack of academic proficiency.

Type #1 curriculum standards (which tell teachers WHAT to teach but leave the HOW up to their own creativity) focus the classroom toward fact-based, academic, traditional, observable, and measurable instruction with right or wrong answers to questions. Type #2 directs the classroom toward subjectivity, feelings, emotions, and personal opinions.

Unfortunately, the Type #1 vs. Type #2 Chart (below) does not have a URL link because the webmaster on whose website (EdViews.org) I published for 35 years passed away three months ago, and his website died with him.  I am desperately trying to put up my own website at my own expense in part so that I can give a URL link to the chart. This will make it available to be readily shared on social media platforms and on iPhones, thus reaching a much broader audience.

“Only Two Types of Education – Type #1 vs. Type #2 -- Cannot Be Mixed -- Just Like Oil and Water”

By Donna Garner





INSTRUCTIONDirect Instruction by teacherSelf-directed learning, group think

Subjectivity, feelings, emotions, beliefs, multiculturalism, political correctness, social engineering, globalism, evolution, sexual freedom, contraceptives, environmental extremism, global warming and radical climate change, victimization, diversity, acceptance of LGBTQ as normal, redistribution of wealth

Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, U. S. and State Constitutions, national sovereignty, Founding Fathers, American exceptionalism
CURRICULUMAcademic, fact-based skills, researchSocial concerns, project-based, constructivism, portfolios, collaboration, subjective, use of unproven fads and theories
TEACHER’S ROLEAuthority figure in the classroom, sets the plan for the class, academic instructionFacilitator in the classroom
STUDENT’S ROLELearn from teacher; focus on factual learning; develop foundational skills for logical and analytical reasoning; independent thinkingStudents teach each other; decide what they want to do for the day; focus on feelings/emotions/opinions; group-think
ENGLISH/ LANGUAGE ARTS/READING (ELAR)Phonics; classical literature; cursive handwriting; grammar; usage; correct spelling; expository, persuasive, narrative, descriptive writing; research writing; emphasis on standard pronounsWhole language, balanced literacy, Guided Reading, no cursive writing instruction so unable to read primary documents of Founding Fathers, emphasis on non-standard LGBTQ pronouns
MATHEMATICS“Drill and Skill,” four math functions learned to automaticityFuzzy math, Common Core process standards, rejects drill and memorization of math facts, dependent on calculators, correct answer not important
SOCIAL STUDIESFocus on American heritage and exceptionalism, national sovereignty, Founding documents, appreciation for sacrifices made by America’s forefathers, equality under GodCritical Race Theory (CRT); diversity; multiculturalism; globalization; revisionist history; political correctness; portrays America as an evil country; White privilege/Black bondage; equity based upon race, ethnicity, and/or gender identity
CHARACTER DEVELOPMENTPro-faith, self-control, personal responsibility, self-discipline, sexual abstinence before marriage, solid work ethic, moving toward achieving tenacitySecular, moral relativism, sexual relations before marriage, sexual perversion, anti-faith, victimization
EQUALITYEqual opportunities through hard workExpecting equal outcomes regardless of personal effort
ASSESSMENTStudents evaluated by grades earned, emphasis on objective tests with right-or-wrong answers based upon observable and/or measurable factsInflated grades, subjective assessments, evaluated based upon subjective value system of grader, group grades
OUTCOMESObjective tests (right-or-wrong answers), emphasis on academic skills and knowledgeSubjective assessments; emphasis on holistic, “feel-good” scoring

Original chart produced by Donna Garner on 9.1.13; revised by Carole H. Haynes on 11.04.13; updated by Donna Garner and Henry W. Burke on 4.27.22



These Type #1 verbs found at the beginning of the elements in our present Texas Social Studies TEKS illicit test questions in classrooms and also on the STAAR tests that have right-or-wrong answers, are objective, fact-based, academic, traditional, observable, and measurable.  

The STAAR tests are closely aligned with the curriculum standards (TEKS).  The TEKS should also be closely aligned with teachers’ classroom standards and the curriculum utilized.

It is important to avoid Type #2 with its emphasis on subjectivity, emotions, feelings, opinions. However, with objective curriculum standards that lead to objective testing, students and their parents can rely upon an objective tool (right-or-wrong answers) by which to gauge student progress. 

The largely objective instrument (STAAR tests) provides teachers, administrators, legislators, and researchers with an objective measurement of student progress which also leads to accountability on the part of the classroom teachers and the ISD’s. Basically, if a teacher’s students do well on the STAAR tests, this shows that the teacher has emphasized Type #1 instruction in her/his classroom.

Teachers, administrators, legislators, and researchers can all count on an objective standard whereas a Type #2 subjective standard is based upon the value system (e.g., prejudices, likes, dislikes, personal animosities, etc.) of the evaluator.


The public can take a quick look at the beginning of the various elements in the present TEKS Social Standards and will see these types of Type #1 verbs.

Example taken from Grade 3 Present Social Studies TEKS:


Please look after the Introduction:

TEKS Element: (1) History. The student understands how individuals, events, and ideas have influenced the history of various communities. The student is expected to:

STUDENT EXPECTATION (SE):  (A) describe how individuals, events, and ideas have changed communities, past and present;


These Type #1 TEKS elements/student expectations will lead to there being a majority of Type #1, objective questions on students’ tests and also on their STAAR tests:

Describe, identify, compare, use, create, define, explain, gather information, apply, express, locate, summarize, analyze, give examples, evaluate, sing, recite, differentiate between, interpret data, organize and interpret, incorporate main ideas, trace characteristics, identify and explain, identify and describe, explain the relationship between, make predictions about, differentiate between, pose and answer questions about, use effective communication skills, uses problem-solving and decision-making skills, considers options, considers advantages and disadvantages, explain the significance of the following dates, compare the cultures of, identify important individuals and dates/events/issues, identify important contributions of, describe the chain of events, explain the roles played by significant events, explain the political/economic/social effects, explain how, the student understands the effects of, explain the reasons for, identify different points of view of, summarize the strengths and weaknesses of, explain the changes, compare the principles and concepts, explain the rights of, identify examples of, identify contributions of, identify the validity of, analyze political positions of, explain issues affecting, describe the responses of, explain how, explain the impact of, explain constitutional issues, explain various means of, evaluate the contributions of, identify major causes of, compare the factors that led to, describe the interactions between, explain the evolution and expansion of, analyze the causes of, locate places and regions of historical significance, identify examples of key persons, identify examples of politically motivated, describe the changing roles of, explain the impact of, analyze primary and secondary sources to, evaluate the validity of, construct a thesis on

Here is a link to the TEKS Guide: https://www.teksguide.org/