Proposed Amendments to
Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)

After reviewing the several textbooks on American government proposed by various publishers, and comparing them to the TEKS standards, set forth at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter113/ch113c.html#113.35, I find that some amendments are needed. The present standards are a bit vague, and on several points, they need to be made more specific, especially concerning those skills which students will likely need to exercise as citizens. The following are proposed additions to TEKS §113.35(c), under items (15), (16) and (17), Citizenship:

  1.  Deliberative assemblies, rules of parliamentary procedure.
  2.  Jury duty.
    1.  Trial jury.
      1.  Importance of serving. Abuses trial juries intended to avoid. Roles of magistrates and attorneys.
      2.  History of trial jury standards and procedures. Changes since early decades of the United States.
      3.  Judging evidence and witnesses, reasonable doubt, preponderance of evidence.
      4.  Determining constitutionality and applicability of charges and statutes.
        1.  Textual analysis
        2.  Historical and etymological analysis, legislative history.
        3.  Precedents, limited role for.
      5.  Detection of abuses of defendant due process rights.
      6.  Deliberation toward a verdict, procedures, how verdict is to be reported.
    2.  Grand jury.
      1.  Importance of serving. Abuses grand juries intended to avoid. Roles of magistrates and attorneys.
      2.  History of trial jury standards and procedures. Changes since early decades of the United States.
      3.  Handling complaints from multiple parties. Avoiding undue influence by officials.
      4.  Conducting hearings, subpoenas, questioning witnesses, hiring investigators.
      5.  Determining sufficiency of evidence for an indictment.
      6.  Investigation of public problems toward a presentment.
      7.  Judging jurisdiction, constitutionality, and appointment of prosecutor.
      8.  Maintaining independence and secrecy.
      9.  Preparing, publicizing presentments and indictments.
  3.  Law enforcement.
    1.  Defense against crime.
    2.  Crime detection, surveillance and patrolling.
    3.  Arrest procedures.
    4.  Gathering and proper handling of evidence. Forensic methods.
    5.  Identifying suspects, building alternative theories.
    6.  Preparing prosecution, defense cases for court.
  4.  Policy analysis.
    1.  Factor analysis. Use and misuse of statistics.
    2.  Forecasting, simuations and scenarios.
    3.  Cost-benefit analyses.
    4.  Long-range and unintended consequences.
  5.  Campaigning.
    1.  Diffusion modes and methods.
    2.  Evaluating effectiveness of various methods of public persuasion.
    3.  Propaganda and logical fallacies.
  6.  Voting.
    1.  Gathering information on candidates and issue positions.
    2.  Reducing influence of money by citizen involvement.
  7.  Lobbying and influencing decisionmakers.
    1.  Analyzing decision structures and points of influence.
    2.  Organizing electoral constituences, methods of influence in debate.
    3.  Conducting public hearings, gathering and interrogating witnesses.
  8.  Pursuing complaints
    1.  Identifying complaint recipients and procedures.
    2.  Preparing various kinds of complaints.
    3.  Advancing complaints through process to final determination.

The objective should be to impart the knowledge and skills for performing the essential duties listed by not only studying theory and cases, but by role-playing or even by actual practice of the skills in real-life situations.

See also Learning Objectives for American Government.

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Original URL: http://www.constitution.org/reform/us/tx/textbook/teks_amend.htm
Maintained: Jon Roland of the Constitution Society
Original date: 2002 September 1 — Updated: 2002 September 2
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