STAAR Testing Op Ed

Hi! Take a look at the Op-Ed I wrote for the papers. It should be releasing soon.

Sam

 

Another year, another unenviable task for teachers. STAAR testing.

 

The moment has come. The test that educators have been teaching toward all year is finally here. In ‘celebration’ of this unhappiest of occasions I thought I’d share my opinions on the subject of Texas’ standardized test.

 

  1. It’s at the wrong time of year. In an endeavour to be honest, I’ll admit that standardized tests do perform one good function; they tell school districts where to place students. So why don’t we have it at the beginning of the year? Not to mention that by moving the date we could go a long way toward solving the problem of ‘teaching to the test’. Teacher’s can’t be held responsible to the things a child learned last year. Plus, if we tested in the first month there’s NO WAY we could reasonably justify a teacher’s salary being tied to the scores.
  2. It’s the wrong way to judge funding. Robin Hood funding doesn’t work. It’s really hard to target high need schools when all schools are high need. Texas has one of the lowest education averages in the country. This has nothing to do with bad teachers and everything to do with bad funding. When a large majority of schools are underperforming due to a lack of money it’s immoral and wrong to make them scramble for scraps and fear cuts. Cuts caused by poorly designed tests that only benefit the companies who created them. Instead, let’s try raising all ships. Let’s start funding schools like we did in the past at 50% and not the measly 34% they get right now. Our children’s outcomes would be better, our communities would be safer, and our property taxes would be lower!
  3. It’s wrong. Study after study continues to show that not only are Texas’ standardized tests biased toward students with extreme economic advantages but they also aren’t a good measure of what’s been learned. Instead of a bad test of knowledge, let’s give the school boards, administrators, principles, and teachers the budgets and control to do what they were hired to do. Transform our children into functional and productive members of society.

 

In Texas we need an education system that values students in both metropolitan and rural areas. Just because high level political donors don’t tend to live here in the sticks doesn’t mean our children don’t deserve a future worth having.

 

There has been a trend in Texas of taking electives away from students who perform poorly on these standardized tests. These are the ones who benefit the most from electives. This is just cruel.

 

Let’s do away with a practice that does not work, costs way too much money, and ultimately hurts our most vulnerable children.

 

It’s the least we can do.

 

Sam Hatton

Democratic Candidate for the Texas House in District 71

 

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