Sunday, January 07, 2007

TAKS is a manipulative/cavalier test with no purpose for the questions! go back to the CAT! adriana ask CCISD Board @"Benchmark testing"& "where is$$$

Teachers left holding bag

January 7, 2007

pictureGoogle search the phrase "caught cheating on standardized tests" on the Internet. You'll find there are about 160,000 references.

Some are headlines. They are from across the country. Illinois. California. Deep in the heart of Texas. The text varies, but the gist of the story is the same - more and more students and teachers are caught cheating on standardized tests every year.

Others are academic studies. Reports. Arguments for and against the mandatory tests. The text may vary but the underlying truth remains the same - a great deal hinges on whether or not a student can pass it.

For the Texas child in the classroom chair, it's the difference between the fifth grade and the sixth. Graduation or redemption. Being labeled as an academic failure or success.

And if members of the Governor's Business Council, made up of representatives and business leaders from across Texas, have their way this legislative session, the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills could be the difference between a teacher in the classroom or at the front of an unemployment line.

In a report released Wednesday, the council outlined several recommendations to the Legislature detailing ways to improve Texas schools.

It argues that students who are exposed to "effective" teachers as opposed to "average" teachers have a better chance at academic success. Like the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, which mandated all U.S. classrooms should have a highly qualified teacher in the classroom by 2006, it does not do enough to explain what exactly that is. Or who would or should regulate the standards by which teachers are measured.

It cites scary statistics about how black and Hispanic students in kindergarten through eighth grade lag years behind white students.

But it doesn't speak enough about all the other factors that can play a large part in how well a child learns - language barriers, learning disabilities, economics, lack of family support, lack of family education, lack of early childhood education. The list goes on.

The council's report does include some positives - it stresses the need for continued training and support for Texas teachers.

But the push is overshadowed by one sour crescendo: Educators would face yearly evaluations (most districts already conduct them) and reviews would be based in part on how well students do on the TAKS. If a teacher receives three low evaluations, they would be fired.

Fired. Based on one test.

You don't need Google to get the word out. With proposed policies like this, the message is loud and clear: Forget whether those students in the classroom have progressed over the academic year. Who cares if that teacher helped them get there? We don't care if they learned anything. We just want to know the final score.

It's no wonder so many feel the need to cheat. The system is trying to cheat them.

Contact Venessa Santos-Garza at 886-3752 or santosv@


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