This morning’s editorial at the Dallas Morning News says: “Though not unanimous, the Teacher Voices agree with us in general on a bottom line: A three-year regimen of end-of-course tests makes more sense, in theory, for graduation than TAKS exams given partway through the 11th grade.”
But a link to sample Teacher Voices leaves us wondering where the agreement is. The agreement, as we read it, is teachers saying give us back our students, classrooms, and curricula. Let us do the teaching and testing. If the Dallas Morning News fails to match conclusions with available evidence, the flagship newspaper of Texas instructs us nevertheless that an elite agenda is on the table.
We have a longstanding suspicion of state-administered tests, because they were implemented about the same time that demographers were trumpeting the Hispanic shift. We think the agenda is driven more by an urge to homogenization than excellence. Would our vaunted elites demand a standardized test for admission to the rank of CEO? Nonsense.
Fact is the legislature picks on the people it can pick on. And teachers qualify for that. When it comes to tapping the wealth of Texas so that it can be put into teachers hands? That’s where you’ll find the real agreement these days: can’t do that, no way.
Or, to quote Teacher Voice Kirk Evans, “Put the emphasis where it matters most: in the lives of our students, our children. Give our children the help and support they need to be successful in any direction they choose for their lives. This would be an improvement!”
What is not an improvement is the state handing teachers final exams before the courses begin. That is a recipe for homogenization, not excellence, across the board.