Day: <span>November 12, 2015</span>

No teachers appointed to assessments panel


If you haven’t noticed already, who is missing from the new study commission that will recommend, we hope, a new assessment and accountability system to replace the STAAR regime? Here’s a hint. Besides a parent, who is in the best postion to observe the stressful and counterproductive effect that excessive, high-stakes testing can have on a child?

The child’s teacher or teachers, of course. But Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Speaker Joe Straus failed to include a single teacher among the 10 appointments they made to the panel, which has the unweildy title of “Texas Commission on the Next Generation of Assessments and Accountability.”

Abbott had four appointments, and Patrick and Straus each had three. Appointees had to include at least two “educators,” the term specified in the law creating the panel. So, they named two school board members (including the commission chairman), two public school superintendents, two charter school superintendents, a school district’s chief instructional officer and two higher education administrators. The group also includes a physician.

Many of these appointees obviously know about the problems with STARR, and some, I assume, are parents of school children. But why not include a teacher, or at least a principal or someone from the campus level, on the panel?

Since the commission also will include four legislators and a member of the State Board of Education, it will be very top-heavy with high-level administrators and policymakers, not with the education experts who actually work with school children everyday and know firsthand the damage that standardized testing is inflicting on the classroom.

Teachers and their representatives, nevertheless, will remain eager to testify when the panel begins holding hearings.