Every Texan is a public education stakeholder, and because all public education issues are decided in the realm of public policy, we all have a voice if we choose to use it.
As voters, we have the privilege of choosing who will represent us and make the decisions we believe to be in our best interest on a wide range of issues. Which issues you consider most pressing likely depends on your vantage point. Educators obviously should care about where their candidates stand on education issues, but they are not the only ones who should be inquisitive during election season. Taxpayer concerns frequently center on testing and academic accountability, while parents are focused on the quality of the educational experience and individual attention to student needs. Regardless of your perspective, all stakeholders have reason to view education as a critical issue during elections. Through Teach the Vote, ATPE is highlighting the education issues at stake in the next election and helping you learn your candidates' views in areas specifically related to public education.
Under each issue, you'll find:
We encourage you to become more familiar with the state of public education today and to formulate your own viewpoints. The information on the Take Action and Resources pages will help you communicate with candidates and officeholders and become involved in the political process. Visit our blog for updates on developments at the Capitol and more information about how you can help advocate for public education.
We asked legislative candidates: Is there a need to increase funding to meet the needs of our student population? If so, how would you recommend securing more revenue for public education? Regardless of the level of funding, do you believe that Texas public education dollars are being spent in an appropriate manner, or should the funds be reallocated and spent in different ways?
Funding determines everything in our public schools. If policymakers do not allocate the resources necessary for the next generation to meet future challenges, then they have done a disservice to Texas children. We all want the best education possible for our children and the best economic environment to foster quality job growth. We can only achieve the best by setting high, yet reasonable, standards and providing educators with the funding to achieve the task at hand.
During the 2013 legislative session, the Legislature chose to increase public education funding by approximately $3.4 billion. However, it is important to note that this $3.4 billion in additional funding does not make up for the $5.4 billion cut from public education in 2011. ATPE advocated for fully restoring the $5.4 billion in addition to funding enrollment growth. At the time, the comptroller projected that the state would have $101.4 billion, including an $8.8 billion surplus from 2012-13, in discretionary dollars to spend on state priorities. This amount is more than enough to fully restore the $5.4 billion previously cut—as well as allocate additional funding needed for the state's schools. In addition, Texas was projected to have nearly $12 billion in the Rainy Day Fund at the end of the 2014-2015 biennium.
Texas' school finance system has been failing to generate sufficient revenue to meet state-mandated educational goals and standards. One reason: An ever-increasing structural deficit exists in our state budget. It's caused by a faulty tax system that can't adequately support our educational needs. In addition, per-pupil funding in districts across the state ranges from less than $5,000 per student to more than $12,000. Against the backdrop of this funding inequity and inadequacy, Texas is again embroiled in major school finance litigation. Pending lawsuits claim the Legislature has not performed its constitutional duty to provide an efficient system of public, free education. In preliminary proceedings, the district judge overseeing the case agreed that Texas' school finance system is unconstitutional. More evidence will be considered in early 2014 before a final ruling is made.
ATPE's position: ATPE supports a fully and equitably funded state and federal public education system for every student. We support any form of state revenue enhancement and tax restructuring that empowers the state to be the system's primary funding source and creates a more stable funding structure for schools. We strongly support efforts to increase funding levels to meet the needs of a rapidly growing and changing population and to increase funding equity for all students.
We asked legislative candidates: Would you vote to spend public tax dollars on a voucher, tax credit or scholarship that allows students to attend non-public schools in grades K–12? Why or why not?
Private school vouchers, tuition tax credits and similar programs seek to direct public funds to private, home or for‐profit schools.
ATPE's position: ATPE strongly opposes private school vouchers of any sort, especially when public education resources are scarce.
We asked legislative candidates: Do you believe the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) should be maintained as a traditional defined benefit pension plan for all future, current and retired educators, or would you vote to convert TRS to a defined contribution plan that is more like a 401(k), in which future benefits are not guaranteed? Why?
The TRS pension fund is one of the most stable and well-positioned funds in the nation. The benefit package available to educators, though not rich, is a major recruitment and retention tool and entices qualified individuals to enter and remain in public education. The system is also a robust economic engine. It affects more than one in every 20 Texans, generates $14.7 billion for the Texas economy, and creates and sustains more than 92,000 jobs (Teacher Retirement System of Texas: A Great Value for all Texans, April 2013).
TRS members contribute 6.4 percent of their salaries to the TRS pension fund, and the average TRS pension received is approximately $1,900 per month. In the 2013 legislative session, public education employees displayed their dedication to maintaining TRS as a healthy defined benefit plan by agreeing to both benefit changes and contribution rate increases. In 2015, the active member contribution rate will increase to 6.7 percent; in 2016, to 7.2 percent; and, in 2017, to 7.7 percent. In 2014, the state contribution rate will increase to 6.8 percent and school districts will begin to contribute 1.5 percent of employee compensation. Further, the minimum age that must be met for all future (and certain current) members to receive full retirement benefits was increased to age 62.
With these changes in contribution rates and benefits, the TRS pension trust fund is considered to be actuarially sound, meaning that the fund is healthy and can issue benefit increases to retirees. The retirement system is well-run, stable, reasonable and cost-effective—in other words, what every Texan should expect from the management of state funds.
ATPE's position: ATPE strongly believes that the state should maintain the existing defined benefit pension structure provided to all current and future retirees. (TRS members contribute a defined amount—6.4 percent (increasing to 7.7 percent by 2017)—from every paycheck and receive a formula-driven annuity based on experience and final average salary.)
ATPE supports the dedication of all available revenue to maintain the pension fund's actuarial soundness using contributions from the state, local school districts and the educators who are system members. Doing so will help provide all active and retired TRS members with improved benefits, such as an annual cost-of-living increase for retirees. We support an increased state contribution rate, an increase of the retirement formula multiplier, the establishment of TRS benefits comparable to state employee retirement benefits, and continued control of TRS funds at the state level.
ATPE also supports federal reforms to eliminate provisions that reduce retirement benefits of educators, and we oppose mandatory participation in Social Security for employees of public school districts in Texas.
We asked legislative candidates: Local decisions on whether to continue a teacher's employment and how much to pay each teacher are often based on evaluations. To what extent, if any, should a teacher's evaluation be based on his students' scores on state standardized tests? If you believe student test scores should factor into a teacher's evaluation, how would you recommend evaluating teachers in grades or subjects for which there are no state standardized tests?
Among the major trends in education reform is seeking ways to measure the effectiveness of teachers and administrators. Under state law, evaluations are used to assess teachers' performance, identify their strengths and weaknesses, prescribe supplemental training where necessary, and dismiss educators who are underperforming. Texas' current teacher appraisal system incorporates objective measures, observations of behavior and consideration of how a teacher's students are performing. A teacher who is evaluated as unsatisfactory in any one category of the appraisal is deemed a "teacher in need of assistance," and intervention plans must be created for such teachers. An intervention plan may be developed even before a teacher receives an evaluation that is "unsatisfactory" or "below expectations," if there is any indication that the teacher might receive a negative appraisal.
Currently, our state's recommended evaluation model is the Professional Development and Appraisal System (PDAS). Critics argue that the PDAS is flawed because it allows an overwhelming majority of teachers to be deemed proficient and fails to provide meaningful feedback on ways in which teachers might improve their job performance. The system is criticized for its lack of focus on the performance of students taught by individual teachers. President Obama's administration is one of the most powerful critics of the PDAS. As a condition of the ESEA/NCLB federal accountability waiver granted to Texas in the fall of 2013, the U.S. Department of Education is requiring the Texas commissioner of education to create a new state-recommended appraisal system that will include student growth as a "significant" factor in teacher evaluations.
With the federal government's emphasis on student growth and testing, Texas faces pressure from proponents of value-added modeling (VAM) to create a longitudinal data system capable of matching individual students and teachers, measuring student growth from one school year to the next using standardized test scores and performance targets, and incorporating such methodology into a new state-endorsed evaluation system. VAM systems attempt to estimate teacher effects through statistical analyses of students' performance on standardized tests such as the STAAR exams. Although helpful in providing data about performance at the campus level or higher, the use of VAM at the individual teacher level is considered unreliable in light of the limitations of standardized testing and access to sufficient longitudinal data. VAM can overlook the achievements of some teachers while masking the ineffectiveness of others. Researchers have also questioned the ability of VAM to isolate and estimate the effects of teachers, when there are so many outside influences from non-educational factors that cannot be controlled by teachers. Furthermore, approximately 70 percent of all teachers teach a subject or grade level in which there is no state standardized test. This creates a concern about the fairness of using VAM systems for high-stakes teacher employment decisions. As noted in research commissioned by the Texas Education Agency in 2011, "Grade levels and subject areas that do not have a state standardized exam are more difficult to measure and there is little consistency across the country to measure those teachers' value-added to student learning." (University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs' Project on Educator Effectiveness and Quality)
The Texas Education Agency plans to unveil and pilot its new evaluation model in 2014-15, and it is likely that the Legislature will consider bills relating to evaluation in the 2015 regular session. With any evaluation instrument, the manner in which it is used is of the utmost importance. Administrators and appraisers must receive consistent, frequent and high-quality training. Additionally, though evaluation is important, it is merely one element in the broad spectrum of educating students. To be truly useful, evaluation systems must work in conjunction with other comprehensive initiatives to selectively recruit and retain high-quality teachers. These include rigorous educator preparation and certification standards; mentoring and induction of novice teachers; ongoing professional development and support of teachers; and stable, competitive compensation and benefits.
ATPE's position: ATPE supports evaluation systems comprised of multiple measures that will help identify teachers who are struggling and that will provide timely, meaningful feedback to all teachers. Also important is the evaluation of administrators; ATPE supports the creation of evaluation standards that include a survey of campus teachers and staff regarding the professional performance of campus administrators.
ATPE opposes using high-stakes standardized test scores as the primary determinant for educator compensation and effectiveness. ATPE recommends that the state's accountability and data systems, including any growth models, be based on statistically valid principles. ATPE also supports vigorous enforcement of equitable educator contract laws and due process laws regarding teacher employment decisions, including assignment, transfer, hiring and dismissal.
ATPE supports a career compensation and benefits package for school employees with salaries that are equal to or greater than the national average and competitive with private industry. In addition to minimum salaries, ATPE supports differentiated pay for educators who undertake advanced training or other professional duties outside normal instructional activities.
ATPE recommends that the state fund programs to reduce the financial burden on teachers pursuing certification and to recruit and retain educators in shortage areas. The state should standardize teacher preparation programs to include policies and practices designed to ensure that new teachers receive adequate mentoring and support. ATPE supports mandatory state-funded and research-based mentoring programs for beginning educators. ATPE also recommends that the state compensate mentors and give them sufficient training and resources to be successful.
ATPE supports professional development programs that are comprehensive, high-quality, affordable and accessible to all school district personnel. We encourage the state and school districts to foster the development of interactive professional development learning communities.
We asked legislative candidates: Would you vote to maintain a hard cap on the number of students per class, or should school administrators be given more flexibility to increase class sizes? (Currently, the law imposes a cap of 22:1 in grades K–4 but allows schools to obtain a waiver, a step many of them routinely take.)
Class-size limits are a watershed issue for educators. The majority of research shows small classes to be extremely beneficial. These benefits include increased individual student/teacher interaction, fewer discipline issues, improved classroom management, improved teacher morale and improved educational outcomes for students. An excellent teacher of a small class—working under great campus leadership and given access to adequate resources—will produce positive, often dramatic educational outcomes.
Currently, Texas law imposes a cap of 22 students per teacher in grades K-4 but allows schools to obtain a waiver from the mandate, a step many schools routinely take. The substantial benefits achieved through statutory class-size limits do come at a price because maintaining smaller classes requires employing additional teaching staff and requires additional space.
ATPE's position: ATPE supports reduced class sizes and caseload limitations that are mandated and enforced by the state for all grade levels and instructional settings to allow for optimal learning environments. We also recommend that the state limit class-size waivers and require full public disclosure of requests for class-size waivers.
We asked legislative candidates: If a public school in your district failed to meet state accountability standards for two or more consecutive years, would you support allowing a private entity to take over the management of that school, essentially converting it to a charter school?
Texas was one of the first states to develop school accountability laws, which now exist in all 50 states and at the national level. Federal accountability requirements for schools are primarily found within the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which is more commonly known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Originally passed by Congress in 2001, the ESEA/NCLB holds states and local schools accountable for student progress and requires that all students be tested.
The enactment of state and federal accountability laws led to the birth and rapid expansion of an entire industry related to standardized testing and longitudinal measurement of student growth using test scores. Testing and ranking schools based on standardized test scores have become the primary state and federal mandates in public education and drive spending, learning and behavior in public schools. Proponents of high-stakes testing for accountability purposes believe the data generated from the tests should be used to punish and reward, and they favor having a standard measure to gauge the value of the public education system. Opponents generally believe that the high-stakes nature of testing and the amount of time devoted to it narrow the curriculum and the educational experience and detract from a skills-based, well-rounded education.
Many school districts have complained about the burden of complying with two separate accountability systems simultaneously, with the state and federal systems containing differing goals, measures and penalties for low performance. The education community has been waiting for Congress to make changes to ESEA/NCLB, which was supposed to have been reauthorized in 2007 and has become outdated and unworkable in many ways. As a result of congressional inaction, most states have appealed to the U.S. Department of Education for waivers from some of the requirements of ESEA/NCLB. (Texas received a conditional waiver for the 2013-14 school year.)
The Texas accountability system assigns ratings to school districts and campuses every year based on their academic and financial performance. Our state Legislature has made a number of changes to the state system, most recently with the passage of House Bill (HB) 5 in 2013. HB 5 succeeded largely as the result of a recent backlash against the overemphasis on standardized testing; educators and parent groups convinced the Legislature to reduce the number of required tests at the high school level, and graduation requirements were also changed in HB 5 in an attempt to give students more flexibility. HB 5 also made changes to the accountability system by altering the academic and financial accountability measures used for campuses and school districts. Additional indicators will be considered, and each district will evaluate its own performance in the areas of community and student engagement. Under the new system, districts will receive "A" through "F" accountability grades. HB 5 also empowers the commissioner of education to recognize schools that are successful in areas relating to student achievement, as well as requires the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to create an online accountability dashboard with information about the performance of every campus.
For schools that fail to meet state or federal accountability targets, the consequences can be harsh. Interventions and sanctions may include agency investigations, public notice and hearings, implementation of improvement plans, monitoring of school operations, appointment of a board of managers to take over the duties of the school board, and consolidation or closing of schools. Sanctions that involve contracting with private entities to manage or take over the operations of a school are especially controversial.
In 2013, legislators filed a number of bills aimed at created a special separate school district for all of the state's low-performing schools. This concept of creating a single "Recovery School District" or "Achievement School District," as they are sometimes called, has been tried in other states, most notably Louisiana. None of the Achievement School District (ASD) bills proposed in Texas has succeeded. Most of these proposals call for allowing a private charter operator to take over the management of the low-performing schools placed into an ASD. Many of the educators in those schools would lose their jobs, while some would be retained in the ASD but be treated as charter school employees, meaning that they would lose many of their most important statutory rights and benefits, such as teacher contract protections and minimum salaries.ATPE's position: ATPE supports a testing and accountability system developed with educator input that maximizes student learning and helps educators meet the individual needs of students. ATPE opposes using high-stakes standardized test scores as the primary determinant for campus and district accountability. We recommend that federal accountability laws, such as the ESEA or NCLB, be designed to allow for educators to meet the needs of individual students. ATPE also recommends that the state's accountability and data systems, including any growth models, be based on statistically valid principles.
We asked all legislative and State Board of Education (SBOE) candidates: Do you believe charter schools in Texas have been largely successful? Should their presence be expanded? Why or why not?
Charter schools are public schools run by private operators that are allowed to operate with fewer regulatory constraints than traditional public schools. The charter school movement is premised on giving schools the freedom to experiment with innovative teaching methods to foster success. Some charter schools in Texas and elsewhere have been extremely successful. However, research shows that charter schools generally do not educate students any better than traditional neighborhood public schools, and in many cases, not as well. Research also shows that Texas charter schools collectively perform worse than charter schools do nationally. Despite these statistics, many policymakers continue to argue for the expansion and increased funding of charter schools.
In addition to questions about the academic success of the charter movement, there are growing concerns about charter school governance and profiteering. Many feel that parents of charter school students are at a disadvantage in engaging or advocating on behalf of their children with an unelected charter governing body located far away or even out of state, as opposed to a locally elected board of trustees that must account to voters. Additionally, while Texas law requires that charter holders be nonprofit entities, the number of charter operators that collect state funding and then send all or most of that funding to a for-profit parent entity, often out of state, is on the rise. In many cases, even charter operators that are not sending state dollars to for-profit entities are paying their top-level executives far more than they would earn in a traditional public school of comparable size.
In 2013, the Legislature pasted Senate Bill (SB) 2, the largest overhaul of the charter movement to occur in a single bill since the creation of charter schools in Texas. SB 2 significantly increases the state's prior cap on the total number of charters that could be granted, raising it incrementally over a six-year period. The bill was passed in part to address the concerns listed above, and in part, it was passed despite them. Proponents of the bill claimed it would strengthen the state's ability to shut down poor-performing charter schools while adding capacity to address what they perceived as pent-up demand for more students to attend a charter school. Opponents of SB 2 claimed that the closure language was not as strong as its supporters claimed, in part because it doesn't apply to individual campuses; they contended that poor-performing charters should be closed before eliminating the state cap and granting any additional charters, and that any pent-up demand could be satisfied through expansion of existing charters without having to change the law.ATPE's position: ATPE recommends that the state adhere to a rigorous authorization process when granting charters. The state should require charter schools to meet appropriate financial accountability and academic performance standards before allowing them to continue or expand. ATPE also supports employees of charter schools having applicable certification requirements, standards, rights and benefits commensurate with employees of traditional public schools.
We asked all State Board of Education (SBOE) candidates: What role should educators and educator groups play in policy decisions made by the State Board of Education (SBOE)? If elected, what do you believe your primary role and responsibility as a state board member should be?
Every SBOE responsibility—from developing curriculum standards and adopting textbooks to authorizing charter schools, ratifying State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) decisions and overseeing the Permanent School Fund—is directly linked to the health and operation of the Texas education system. Educators and the groups that represent them should play a major role in informing and, in many instances, shaping the board's decisions affecting education policy and educational outcomes for students and classrooms. After all, educators are both the practitioners of and primary experts in education.ATPE's position: ATPE recommends that the state allow educators to determine the appropriate content and methodology of curriculum and education programs. We specifically believe the State Board of Education should incorporate educator input whenever curriculum or graduation requirements are revised. ATPE supports legislation to allow SBOE members to elect their own chairman and to require that the chairman have a background in public education. We oppose any legislation that would make the entire board subject to appointment by the governor. We also recommend that all SBOE members have public education experience.
We asked all State Board of Education (SBOE) candidates: Do you believe our state's curriculum requirements allow students to receive a well-rounded education throughout all grade levels? Would you recommend any changes?
During the past decade, the advent of standardized testing and a mandated four-years-by-four-subject (4x4) graduation requirement in high school focused much of the public education funding and attention on the four core subject areas of math, science, social studies and English language arts/reading. In many school districts, the results were fewer offerings in subjects and career choices outside of those core areas and less funding and attention for the non-core courses. Students found it increasingly difficult to pursue their interests in fine arts, extracurricular activities, career and technology courses, and other school activities that provide important social and real-world skills. In addition, teachers had fewer opportunities to work with individual students and classes to develop important social/emotional, communication and technical skills that are critical for good citizenship and a productive life.
In 2013, the 83rd Legislature passed a comprehensive reform bill, House Bill (HB) 5, which changed the graduation requirements in order to move Texas away from the 4x4 structure and reduce the number of mandatory state standardized tests in high school from 15 to 5. Under HB 5, the state has moved from a three-tiered graduation plan to a single 22-credit base plan for all students, called the foundation diploma. In addition to the foundation curriculum, students will also be expected to choose one of five content-specific endorsement areas (STEM, business and industry, public services, arts and humanities, or multidisciplinary studies) for additional coursework. Students wishing to be eligible for automatic admission under the state's top 10 percent rule will have to complete four years of science and four years of math, including Algebra II, as part of their high school course work. The new system moves Texas away from a strictly college-bound curriculum focused on core content areas to one that shares focus between college and/or career readiness and gives students more flexibility to pursue their own areas of interest. It is too soon to know how this change will affect matters such as the extent to which students are prepared, the high school graduation and dropout rates, and the overall value of a Texas high school diploma.
The curriculum requirements in grades 3 through 8 remain unchanged, largely due to restrictions in the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, more commonly known as No Child Left Behind. The 83rd Legislature did pass two bills, HB 2836 and HB 866, in an effort to reduce the overemphasis on standardized testing in the elementary grades, but neither bill took effect; HB 2836 was vetoed by Gov. Rick Perry, and HB 866 necessitated a special waiver from the federal government that was not granted.ATPE's position: ATPE supports comprehensive instruction in all grade levels that prepares Texas students for success throughout their public school years as well as in higher education, career and technology opportunities. ATPE recommends that the SBOE incorporate educator input whenever the graduation requirements are revised. Any changes to graduation requirements should be made with full consideration of the need for a well-rounded curriculum and student choice.
We asked all State Board of Education (SBOE) candidates: Do you believe the number of curriculum standards written into the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) is generally too high, too low or just about right? Would you recommend any changes to the process for adopting and revising the TEKS curriculum standards?
Texas maintains curriculum standards known as the TEKS. Adopting and revising the TEKS is one of the most important functions overseen by the SBOE. The TEKS determine what is taught and tested in Texas public schools, and the curriculum has a dramatic impact on what is included in textbooks used both inside and outside of the state. The TEKS revision process has become extremely controversial in recent years and marked by ideological conflicts among board members, leaving little time to fix perceived structural problems with the TEKS, such as excessive length and complexity of the standards. The more individual standards that are required to be taught in a subject or grade, the less time that can be devoted to any one of them. The more specific the standards are, the less flexibility there is for a teacher to individualize lessons to fit each class and student.
During the most recent regular session, the Legislature passed House Bill (HB) 2836, which called for a study of the TEKS to be overseen by a newly created advisory committee. The study would have looked at the number and scope of the TEKS as well as the interplay between the TEKS and state assessments. Despite receiving a unanimous vote in the House and a near unanimous vote in the Senate, Gov. Rick Perry vetoed the bill.
ATPE's position: ATPE supports allowing educators to determine the appropriate content and methodology of curriculum and education programs. We oppose any legislation that would mandate a standardized national curriculum.ATPE believes the SBOE should incorporate educator input whenever the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills are revised. Furthermore, SBOE members should create a framework for TEKS development and set expectations for the breadth, depth and specificity to be covered by the TEKS. Once a framework is in place, board members should rely on true experts in the field with subject-matter expertise to create the actual content of the TEKS. As an elected board, it is impossible for SBOE members to have the requisite knowledge and experience to be considered experts in every TEKS subject. (ATPE supports maintaining the SBOE as an elected board but recommends that members have public education experience.) In the TEKS review process, the board should continue to appoint writing teams primarily composed of K-12 classroom teachers. Review teams of industry and academic experts should review the work of the writing teams. Currently, the SBOE appoints expert reviewers, but the board has not assigned legitimate qualifications for serving as an expert, which is an area of needed improvement. Once the TEKS content has been produced, the board should only look to see that there are no factual errors and that the TEKS fit into the board's established framework. Any needed modifications should be the responsibility of the writing teams. Under no circumstances should the board directly produce, modify or amend the content of the TEKS.
We asked all State Board of Education (SBOE) candidates: What role, if any, should the SBOE play in approving textbooks and instructional materials?
Under current law, the SBOE may not prohibit a school district from purchasing a textbook for use by its students. The law places a duty on the board to determine whether publishers of textbooks for use in Texas have produced a book that meets applicable physical specifications—i.e., the book is not of poor construction—covers at least half of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for its subject and is free from factual errors. Any textbook meeting these specifications must be placed on a list of books approved by the SBOE. (School districts are no longer required to purchase books from this list, nor are they penalized for not purchasing books from this list.) Additionally, the board must determine what percentage of the TEKS each textbook covers and publish that information for the benefit of school districts.
In the past, some SBOE members have attempted to further their personal ideology by rejecting otherwise-qualified textbooks that contained content with which they personally disagreed, but ATPE is hopeful that new laws pertaining to textbooks will help prevent future abuses of the adoption process.ATPE's position: ATPE urges the state to provide current instructional materials to teachers and students. We also support permanent tax credits and equitable reimbursement programs for materials and items purchased by educators for use in classrooms.
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