This is big news.
State Senator Dan Patrick, the chair of the Senate Education Committee in Texas, wants to reduce the number of tests needed to graduate from the current 15 to “only” four or five.
At present, students in Texas must pass 15 tests to graduate. Yes, you read that right: 15.
That is more testing than any other state in the nation.
Texas is test-mad.
Maybe it is because Pearson hired the best lobbyists in the state, led by the architect of NCLB, Sandy Kress.
Kress writes op-eds in the Austin newspapers about the glories of standardized testing, but he is never identified as a paid lobbyist for Pearson.
In 2011, the Legislature cut the budget for public education by $5.4 billion (that’s BILLION), but managed to find $488 million for a five-year contract for Pearson.
This year, the state announced that it actually has a huge surplus, more than $8 billion, but there is no talk of restoring the cuts.
Methinks Senator Patrick has been hearing from parents in his district.
Methinks he may have noticed the Save Texas Schools rally in front of the state capitol on February 23, where 10,000 or more students, parents, and educators spoke out against budget cuts, high-stakes testing, and privatization.
At least he heard the part about the testing. Or so it seems.