MSNBC just put up a critique of Texas education.. Texas  was the instigator of No Child Left Behind which when Obama took over, became Race To The Top.

It started in Texas.  It is about to end, … in Texas.

A coalition of parents nicknamed  Mothers Against Drunk Testing has taken the fight to the Texas Legislature.   Soon, it appears Texas will lead the nation again on education,… by banning the role testing plays in analyzing the competency of education.

The problem underlying both No Child Left Behind and Race To The Top is not in its philosophy. It is not in its intent.  It is not in its principles.   It is … the test.

There is a reason these tests are top secret.  Here is the story of one that leaked out…   The Hare and the Pineapple…..

Subsequent inspection showed….” On the fourth-grade exam, one question has two correct answers, the department warned. The eighth-grade test contains one question with no correct answer at all.”

Needless to say, both came out of a firm, Pearson,  receiving a 5 year $32 million dollar contract from New York State….

Grown ups are now taking the tests.  Florida school board member with a bachelors degree and two masters degrees made national news when he flunked his state’s 10th-grade math test.  Seattle teachers boycotted the giving out of their tests based off the faults inherent in their texts.

Then, we got the results.

Texas started to lose 70,000 kids a year, most dropping out before they had to take the 10th-grade tests that would count against the school.

A third of kids in Texas who started high school never finished.

Scores on the Texas test rose, but SAT scores for prospective college students dropped.

The Texas tests designed by Pearson primarily measured test-taking ability, researchers discovered.

National Assessment of Educational Progress scores were cherry picked to show progress, but Texas lost ground to the rest of the country.

According to Julian Helig, who released this report to examine the education for the Texas Legislature,

“The reason why we’re seeing, well, what we’re seeing, after ten years of No Child Left Behind is the fact that we didn’t close the gaps, the fact that our graduation rates haven’t gone anywhere, our dropout rates haven’t improved, because Texas never did that in the 1990s,” said Heilig. “Over the last ten years now that we have Texas-style accountability and policy in the whole United States, the reason why it didn’t deliver is because it never delivered in Texas.”

Texas revolted back in 2009.  The parents and teachers that is.  But Republican Governor Perry refused to sign the bill banning standardized testing,  saying he would not sign it unless the legislation doubled down on accountability….

So instead of the testing being eliminated, kids in elementary school and middle school would be required to pass tests—or else. To get out of high school they’d have to pass not two, but 15 tests. Pearson got a new $468-million contract to write and administer all these new tests…..

Sandy Kress, a Democratic lawyer from Dallas, who first got Texas Governor George W. Bush’s ear with the expression:  “soft bigotry of low expectations, has moved on to a high paying job with Pearon and was on Texas Governor’s Educational advisory committee when he doubled down on standardized testing.

Now, and only now, as a result of all this data, even the Republican Texas Chief of Education,  Robert Scott, is calling the fatuation with all this testing, … a perversion.

Speaking to the Texas State Board of Education late last month, Scott said that the mentality that standardized testing is the “end-all, be-all” is a “perversion” of what a quality education should be. What’s more, he called “the assessment and accountability regime” not only “a cottage industry but a military-industrial complex.” And he attacked the Common Core Standards Initiative as being motivated by business concerns.   It is the heart of the vampire, so to speak.”

It’s too soon to say whether a near-unanimity of opposition to high-stakes testing from school boards, superintendents, parents and education researchers will succeed against Perry and Pearson, but there’s a better chance than ever that the false education doctrine that Bush started in Texas and then spread across the country will finally meet its end in the same building where it started.

It can best be described by the Republican appointed Texas Commissioner of Education at a Dallas Board Meeting.

I say this all the time: Parents care about kids, teachers care about kids, individuals in this room care about kids.  “The system doesn’t give a damn about kids unless you make it care.”

 

 

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