Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Local News

April 3, 2013

Joshua native discusses testing reform with parents

TAMSA aims to revamp mandated tests

 

A Joshua native joined forces with parents and educators across the state who want legislators to revamp Texas’ way of high-stakes testing. 

While thousands of Johnson County students were preparing for another round of State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness testing on Monday, Stacey Amick, a 1988 Joshua High School graduate and mother of two who now lives in Flower Mound, was busy telling parents why Texas needs to give its students a break. 

Amick is a member of the grassroots organization Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessment, whose members say they’re concerned with “teaching to the test” and the hundreds of millions of dollars going to Pearson, the company who makes the STAAR. 

She met with community members Monday at the JHS auditorium. 

“TAMSA doesn’t want to go in and say get rid of all testing and that we don’t want accountability,” Amick said. “All parents want testing in our schools. We want accountability in our schools but we are appalled with what’s happening in our classrooms.” 

Amick and others have urged Texans to support House Public Education Committee Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen’s, House Bill 5, which the House overwhelmingly passed last week. The last hurdle is Senate passage, Amick said. 

The bill, if passed, will scale down the number of STAAR end-of-course tests to five, versus the current 15, a number TAMSA supporters say is daunting. 

“A lot of 10th-graders who failed their ninth-grade test still have their 10th-grade test to think about,” Amick said. “I can tell you these kids don’t have a lot of hope. They are starting 10th grade already behind.” 

Students who feel that they’ve fallen too far behind are more likely to drop out of school, Amick said.

She said 25 states in America have no exit-level graduation tests. Those states are required to test under the No Child Left Behind law but don’t require their students to aim for unreachable goals to graduate. 

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