By Kirk Watson
In schools, standardized testing creates accountability for students, teachers and administrators. Accountability’s great, obviously – it helps make sure that Texas children are getting a good education.
It’s just time that accountability apply to Texas budget writers, as well.
Late last week, the state released results for the latest school and student accountability test, STAAR. Per the AP story, “If the final standards were already in place, more than half of Texas high school freshmen would have failed the new, more rigorous end-of-course standardized tests in five key areas …”
In a number of instances, those in control sought to explain away the results. But what’s notable is that no one defends the results as adequate or acceptable. Even the TEA spokeswoman described the results as “very sobering.”
The low scores demonstrate yet another way in which Texas can do a better job preparing our kids for the 21st Century economy. It’s quantifiable data that the state hasn’t found a permanent solution to funding education and isn’t providing the resources to our schools, teachers and students that they need. If you’ll remember, outgoing TEA Commissioner Robert Scott himself made the explicit connection between test scores and the state budget back in January.
We all love Texas schools. They’re vital to our state, our neighborhoods and the Texas economy. And we all know that Texas can do much better when it comes to those schools. We need a permanent solution that will fund Texas schools – one that transparently creates the great schools Texans deserve.
Accountability is essential, and those in control of the state need to be as accountable as our schools. And they must be judged objectively – the same way they judge our schools.
It’s time for those in control to be open and honest about what’s going on in Texas schools – no excuses, no deception, and no cheating.