Dear Commons Community,
The backlash against high-stakes standardized testing in public schools received a significant boost yesterday when Governor Rick Perry of Texas signed legislation reducing the number of tests students need to take to graduate high school. The significance of this legislation is important because Texas was a leader in implementing standardized tests in the early 1990s. As reported in the Huffington Post:
“Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) signed a law Monday that significantly decreases the number of state tests students are required to take before graduating. Starting in fall 2014, students will have to complete only 5 tests, down from 15.
While House Bill 5 was unanimously passed by both the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate, Perry’s feelings on the bill were previously unknown, reports the Austin-American Statesman. Despite pressures from pro-business groups concerned about students’ job readiness, Perry signed the bill into law, saying that it maintains “proper classroom rigor,” according to the Associated Press.
The bill also reduces maximum hours students prepare for tests (from 90 down to 21), creates more flexible diploma plans and abolishes the rule that end-of-year tests count for 15 percent of a course’s grade…
“House Bill 5 was a great step forward for public education because it marks a time where we can say we quit depending on tests to show us that schools are meeting students’ needs,” said Brock Gregg with the Association of Texas Professional Educators.”
This is indeed a great step forward. The U.S. Department of Education as well as other state legislatures should examine carefully what Texas has done.