Information from Lance Gooden on 15% Rule and This Week

Last week, I mentioned that several members of the Texas House of Representatives sent a letter to Education Commissioner Robert Scott regarding their views on the implementation of the 15% rule. That letter is attached to this post. Below is the text of an email from our Representative, Lance Gooden, regarding his views on the 15% rule:

Dear Friends,

 This March, students from across the state will begin taking the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR test. This test will replace the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, or TAKS test, which has been in place since 2003.

 Many of you have called with questions about the requirement that the STAAR assessments count for 15% of a student’s final course grade. This week I joined many of my colleagues in signing a letter from the House Committee on Public Education to Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Robert Scott formally requesting the deferment of the 15% provision for the current school year.  The
Texas House of Representatives overwhelming supported the repeal of the 15%
requirement several times last year; the measure died in the Senate. If you
would like a copy of the letter that was sent to the TEA, please let me know.

I believe that parents and teachers in our local community know what is best for our children.  Standardized tests fly in the face of my commitment to locally-controlled schools. Top-down education policy from Austin and Washington has shown to be a hindrance, not a help, so I will do everything in my power to prevent further
encroachment into the classroom.  I will always oppose standardized testing because no two students are alike.  When we rate districts, schools, or teachers based on these tests it invariably creates an environment where teachers tailor their lesson plans to the tests.  The focus needs to be on preparing students to become productive members of society, not just preparing them to take an exam.

There’s also a problem that arises from the content of the tests themselves.  These standardized tests are so heavily weighted toward reading that less class time is allocated to math, science, and social studies. With so much emphasis placed on the language arts, our students are being deprived of a well-rounded education. We must empower our teachers locally to create their own curriculum that meets the needs of their individual students.

As the son of lifelong educators, I know that our teachers didn’t choose their professions in order to spend their careers helping students pass a standardized test.  They became teachers because they wanted to shape the minds of children, educate them on life, and prepare them for the world and the challenges that lie ahead.

On Friday, we received word from Commissioner Scott that the 15% provision would indeed be waived for the 2011-2012 school year.

This Week: February 20 – 25

Monday – Begin 5th 6 weeks; JV baseball at Kemp – 4:30; SB v. Martins Mill – 6:00

Tuesday – EC Reading Night; School Board Meeting – 7:00; Varsity baseball v. Kaufman – 4:30

Thursday – Report cards; Eustace Baseball Tournament;

Friday – 6 Weeks Awards – Primary; Right Choice and 4th 6 Weeks Drawings – Intermediate; Eustace Baseball Tournament; Softball at Malakoff Tournament

Saturday – Eustace Baseball Tournament; Softball at Malakoff Tournament; JV baseball at Kaufman – 11:00

I hope everyone has a great week!

Letter from Texas Representatives

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