The Texas Two-Smash: STAAR & Budget Cuts

No, that isn’t the US congressional building – it’s the Texas State Capitol (but Texas’ building is bigger, naturally)

This past year public schools in Texas were hit with the double whammy of a $5 billion dollar cut from education funds as well as the roll out of a new higher stakes testing system called STAAR. Under the new testing system students will be tested more frequently and for more subjects; additionally, results will be linked to promotion and graduation requirements. The exams were developed to align with new “College and Career” standards however from what I’ve seen these standards are a far cry from providing more conceptional learning rooted in critical thinking and strong literacy skills.

At the same time Texas has held off from applying for Race to the Top funds and only just submitted a waver for NCLB; however, many experts predict the waver will be denied due to it’s lack of compliance in terms of standards rigor and teacher evaluations. Add to this the fact Texas is one of only four states not adapting the Common Core Standards and it is sometimes easy to get a little down. Texas Tribune reporter Morgan Smith wrote a great article exploring the relationship between increased testing and decreased funding to teacher burnout (check it out here).

Because of the tight link between eduction and local control and funding Texans, and those living in other states, need to make sure we know how our representatives are voting on education. And so here’s a quick reminder for my fellow Texans: today is the last day to register to vote in Texas. Click here to get it done http://GottaRegister.com/

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