The article “NO MORE TAKS: Frustrated by standardized test, Raymond develops legislation to dump it” from Laredo last week breaks the mold for typical newspaper articles about education:
Worried about the growing amount of time and resources spent by school districts on getting students to pass the TAKS, state Rep. Richard Raymond, D-Laredo, said Tuesday he has drafted legislation that would abolish it as we know it today.â€œItâ€™s gotten to the point where every year the TAKS has done more harm than good,â€ Raymond said from his downtown Laredo office at a press conference.
He was flanked by the superintendents of the Laredo and United independent school districts, as well as teacher union representatives, all of whom agree that the Texas accountability system, and its high-stakes standardized test, is shortchanging millions of students.
â€œWe now spend a full six weeks preparing and testing students on the TAKS,â€ UISD Superintendent Bobby Santos said. â€œAnd every year, the state comes up with additional tests.â€
My first response to these comments is: THANK YOU! We need more educational leaders to raise the flag of ridiculousness when it comes to what accountability mandates have and are continuing to do to students and teachers in our classrooms.
I would be shocked if the state of Texas actually dumped the educational accountability system ushered in many years ago by then governor George Bush, even though such a move would have merit. Maybe discussions like this can lead to less high-stakes environments for student assessment and more DIFFERENTIATED assessment methods, however. That is my personal hope.
Are economic forces going to support or oppose such a move? Unfortunately, there are likely many whose voices in this debate are strongly colored by their own financial incentives to maintain the high-stakes testing status quo:
Because standardized testing in Texas and the rest of the country has become a billion-dollar industry, Raymond knows he faces an uphill battle.
â€œSo?â€ he said, unfazed.
â€œThis needs to be a priority. The system isnâ€™t working,â€ Raymond said. â€œI know there is support to change it.
â€œItâ€™s going to happen. If not this session then the next,â€ he said. â€œWe just need a big enough uprising from the rest of the state to do it.â€
Let’s rise up, people. We’re too smart as a nation, as educational leaders, as citizens and parents to let the current fear-filled, assessment environment persist. We need more messy assessment instead of flogging with standards and scantrons.
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