Texas Schools
7:12 am
Fri July 13, 2012

Northeast Texas lawmaker again speaks out against standardized tests

VAN - Dan Flynn said in a release Thursday that the requirement that a student pass three of the new STAAR tests before they can go to college in 2015 is misguided and needs to be reexamined. 

"If a child meets the requirements of their school district and high school, that child should be free to pursue any institution of higher learning without worrying about a mandated test score," he said. 

Flynn, who won the May Republican Primary and is unopposed in November, serves the citizens of District 2 in the Texas House, which next year will be composed of Hunt, Hopkins and Van Zandt counties.

"If they need additional education that is between the parents and the school. Not the government," Flynn said. "The right and proper role of government is not to set obstacles in front of its citizens but rather to help them achieve.  Tests do not educate children and neither do bureaucracies.  Parents and teachers educate children and we need to devote our time and effort to ensure great results in the classroom, not on a test." 

The language comes as local school districts are passing resolutions calling for an end to the testing.

In June, the Commerce City Council passed a resolution in support of Superintendent Blake Cooper, whose district has joined hundreds others in hopes of transforming learning for the use of technology to help bring back engaged learning in the classroom. Cooper told the council that less time spent on standardized testing, the more time instructors have to teach to their strengths.  

“With this resolution, we want the powers in Austin; we want them to know that the stakeholders in Commerce, Texas want to support a transformation of the educational system from a bureaucratic system to an atmosphere based on trust, shared values, creativity, innovation and respect,” said Cooper.

Texas school boards representing 542 districts, that in turn represent over 3.3 million students across the state, had passed the resolution as of last month.

Flynn noted in his release that during last year’s 82nd Texas Legislative Session, he introduced House Bill 2491 that would have placed a moratorium on the "assessments of certain public school students under the public school accountability system."

The cash-saving proposal, as dubbed by Flynn, did not receive a vote from the House Education Committee. According the representative from Van, the bill “would have put the test on hiatus for two years, redirecting those funds to support teachers in the classroom, and allowed members to look at what this test meant for students and come up with a resolution that prioritized the wellbeing of the student, teacher and their classroom.” 

Flynn would later introduce the measure on the floor of the House of Representatives as an amendment, which passed 140-2, but was held off in the Senate.

He added, “The amount of Texas' contract with Pearson, the contracted company developing the testing language, from 2010-2015 was $468,392,617. The state's five-year contract with Pearson, which covers the 2010 through 2015 school years, totals just over $468 million.  Based on figures provided by TEA, Texas taxpayers by 2015 will have paid Pearson nearly $1.2 billion for developing standardized tests and related materials dating back to the year 2000.”

Cooper’s address to the council indicated that of the 177 school days for the 2011-2012 school year, roughly 43 days involved some form of standardized testing.

The frustration of schools across the state from standardized testing has played out in several articles through www.texasisd.com