Letter: Tell state leaders to amend proposed education legislation

It is critical parents contact their Texas state legislators now.  They are discussing our children’s education on the floor of the House on Tues, March 26th. (To find your rep: http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx)   A few key points to mention when you call or email your representatives are below.

Texas parents have witnessed first hand the devastating effects of testing. We are frustrated our legislature continues to see value in a system of high-stakes standardized testing. Texas has had standardized testing for 30+ years but in the 20 years since the state mandated the tests were linked to grade advancement and a diploma the tests have produced NO discernible results.

We have witnessed:

-Our children’s classroom instruction is being narrowed to what is covered on the test.
-Creativity and joy in learning are being stolen from our classrooms.
-Our state and national leaders are trying to convince us our schools are failing based on faulty standardized testing and blame the results on our teachers, while at the same time ignoring the obvious barriers to learning, such as poverty.

Current proposed legislation has decreased the overall number of tests, but fails to remove the associated high stakes and punitive consequences, particularly denial of diplomas and grade retention. The TAKS and now the STAAR have been criticized by researchers as an invalid measurement of student achievement and have been noted to have grading and question errors, and thus should not be used in any punitive manner.

In addition to calling/emailing, please sign this petition to show your support. Then, please send this to as many other Texas parents as you can. I would like every city in Texas to be represented.

Texas parents are asking our legislators to amend the current education legislation to remove the following:

• The sanction of having the tests tied to a diploma and grade promotion, especially for the graduating seniors.
• All non-federally mandated tests, including Writing (especially until the grading process can ensure equitable analysis), Science and Social Studies.

If our legislators refuse to remove our children from a broken accountability system, we insist our legislators amend current education legislation for this session to include an appeal process similar to the 5th and 8th grade placement committees to allow all students who have successfully completed all other aspects of their high school requirements except for passing the state-mandated high-stakes testing. Texas parents are also asking Governor Perry to sign the legislation as amended above.

Kristi Hassett
Flower Mound, TX


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