Politicians, not educators, have made testing a “complex” issue

 

After the study commission with the overly long name punted on the issue of STAAR and standardized testing, some of its members apparently felt the need to offer excuses for ignoring the growing, anti-standardized testing sentiment among educators and parents.

Pauline Dow, the chief instructional officer for North East ISD in San Antonio, was quoted in The Texas Tribune as saying that testing and measuring student achievement is a “complex issue and that we have to think about it in that way.”

Politicians, not educators, have made testing a “complex issue.” And I mean the politicians – the legislative majority and recent Texas governors – who have spent more energy imposing punitive, high-stakes tests on third-graders than they have on providing the resources that all students and educators need for real classroom success.

Educators know the importance of testing in measuring student progress and, just as importantly, in diagnosing a student’s strengths and weaknesses and planning how to address them.

Instead of addressing educators’ and parents’ concerns, the commission issued a report full of bureaucratic language that doesn’t really address the damage that the standardized testing regime has inflicted on Texas classrooms for more than a generation now. In fact, Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, the retiring chairman of the House Public Education Committee, warned its potential interpretation by the Legislature could result in an expansion of standardized testing.

The Legislature, which convenes in January, ultimately will decide the future of testing in Texas. But if parents and educators don’t make it clear – loudly and often – to their legislators that high-stakes, standardized testing has to go, the legislative majority isn’t likely to make meaningful changes.

 

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