After several hours of discussing staff reductions due to impending fiscal year 2024-25 budget cuts during the May 6 board meeting, Cy-Fair ISD trustees voted 6-1 to omit 13 chapters from 25 textbooks that will be used next school year.

What happened

Trustee Natalie Blasingame made the motion to omit chapters from textbooks in the following areas:
  • Biology
  • Environmental science
  • Earth systems
  • Principles of education and training
  • Health science theory clinicals
She and other board members cited concerns around “controversial subjects” included in the textbooks, such as climate change, vaccines, COVID-19, depopulation and “a perspective that humans are bad,” Blasingame said.

Despite omitting certain chapters, CFISD educators must still cover topics outlined in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills—the state’s standards for what students should learn in public schools.

To ensure the district meets state standards, district officials must use other resources to write their own curriculum covering these topics, Chief Academic Officer Linda Macias said.

“As far as staff to get it done, we’re going to struggle because we have lost a lot of staff at the district office. ... Our campuses are used to having the curriculum ready—or a lot of it ready—by the time school starts,” Macias said. “It may be that they’re getting two weeks at a time, and then during those two weeks, we’re providing the next two weeks [of curriculum].”

The background

This item was on the board’s agenda in April, but trustees postponed the vote to allow more time to review the recommended textbooks.

A committee of expert educators reviewed the materials and recommended each book that was considered, Macias said at the April 1 board work session.

Trustee Julie Hinaman, the sole trustee to vote against the omissions, questioned whether the district has adequate time and resources to execute this plan amid position reductions and the end of the school year nearing. She said she supported approving the instructional materials exactly as they were recommended.

“I am not clear on why one board member chose to override the recommendations of our highly trained educators who selected these materials for next school year that have been approved by the State Board of Education,” she said.

What’s next

Macias said developing classroom curriculum is time-consuming, so it will be more difficult without the textbook resources. Without it, she said educators will likely use other resources they already have or purchase supplementary resources to ensure the state standards are being covered.

“We typically do a very thorough curriculum-writing aspect when we do curriculum,” she said. “As Mrs. Hinaman said, we have quite a few less staff to do that, so we are going to have to probably rely more on the campuses or those teachers to go through some of their materials.”