Some Texas Legislators Wrong Again: STAAR/EOC Tests

Jul 12, 2012 by

by Donna Garner – I agree with Rep. Dan Flynn and with other policymakers that the “quirk” found in two converging education bills passed over the last two legislative sessions by the Texas legislature needs to be tweaked.

Evidently two different statutes passed in two different legislative sessions conflict with each other (7.10.12 — “Quirk in Texas Testing Law Could Cost High Schoolers a Shot at State Universities” – Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com/news/state/headlines/20120710-quirk-in-texas-testing-law-could-cost-high-schoolers-a-shot-at-state-universities.ece?action=reregister ).

However, Rep. Flynn wants to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” Instead of aligning the two statutes more closely together, he wants to get rid of the STAAR-EOC exams, saying they cost too much.

I appreciate and share Flynn’s concern for fiscal responsibility, but he is absolutely wrong this time. Texas public schools have been drenched with Type #2 curriculum and tests for well over 11 years (since 1997), and it is this philosophy of education that has not only dumbed down our students but has also indoctrinated their thinking. We cannot expect to move our public school students into the Type #1 Philosophy of Education without spending considerable time, some money, and lots of effort to do so.

Because of the leadership and hard work of our elected Texas State Board of Education conservatives, we now have Type #1 curriculum standards in (1) English/Language Arts/Reading, (2) Science, (3) Social Studies, and (4) Math. This spring the all-new STAAR/End-of-Course tests based upon Type #1 were administered to our public school students.

It is these Type #1 standards and tests that will force our Texas public schools to throw away their Type #2 teaching units and develop new Type #1 units.

(1) Type #1 Philosophy of Education: Knowledge-based, academic, clearly worded, grade-level-specific content that is tested largely through objectively scored tests — These standards are built from K through Grade 12 and are taught mostly through direct, systematic instruction.

Type #1 standards could be referred to as the traditional method – the method of teaching that people perhaps 50 years old and older experienced when they were in school. This included the teaching of phonics, grammar, correct usage/spelling, cursive handwriting, classical literature, expository/persuasive/research writing, the four math functions taught to automaticity, fact-based and discreet courses in Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Calculus, U. S. History, World History, Botany, Biology, Physics, and Chemistry.

(2) Type #2 Philosophy of Education (adopted in July 1997 and reflected in the TEKS and TAKS) — Project-based, subjective (emphasize cognitive domain – beliefs, opinions, emotions), subjectively assessed based upon the value system of the evaluator — emphasize multiculturalism, political correctness, environmental extremism, diversity, social justice agenda — These standards are built backwards from Grade 12 down to K (similar to trying to build a house from the roof down) and are taught mostly using the constructivist (project-based) approach.

Type #2 can be seen in Obama’s social justice agenda (i.e., Common Core Standards) that includes an emphasis on subjectivity, feelings, emotions, beliefs, multiculturalism, political correctness, social engineering, globalism, evolution, sexual freedom/contraceptives instead of abstinence, environmental extremism, global warming, victimization, diversity, an acceptance of the normalcy of the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender lifestyle, redistribution of wealth, a de-emphasis on factual knowledge, the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Founding Fathers, and American exceptionalism.

 

Rep. Flynn needs to take a step back and look more realistically at the situation. He needs to start thinking about the future of our state and nation. Texas has spent literally tens of millions since 1997 to saturate our public schools with the Type #2 curriculum and TAKS tests. It is going to cost a significant amount – not the tens of millions as has been done in the past but a sensible amount of money — to get rid of that “junk” and replace it with Type #1 textbooks, instructional materials, and tests.

 

The children in our schools today are the voters and taxpayers of tomorrow. They are also the patriots of the future or else they may become the future “haters of America.”

 

Unless we are willing to allow the new Type #1 curriculum standards accompanied by the new Type #1 STAAR/EOC tests to move our Texas public schools into authentic education reform, we will continue to produce students who no longer love America, who are not proficient readers/writers/speakers of English, and who are inept at math and science.

 

We keep creating programs and spending huge chunks of money on remediation. Why not address the problem at the root – “fix the schools” and force them into teaching Type #1 instead of Type #2 by holding them accountable on the new Type #1 STAAR-EOC tests.

 

 

Does Rep. Flynn have a better plan to force educators to dump their Type #2 Philosophy of Education and move them into Type #1? If he does, let’s hear it.

 

On the other hand, I have offered many inexpensive yet worthwhile suggestions. Please read the following two articles:

 

 

7.1.12 — “Reading at a Cost of $6.46” – by Donna Garner — http://libertylinked.com/posts/9944/reading-at-a-cost-of-646—/View.aspx

 

 

7.5.12 — The following is a book review of John Saxon’s Story: a Genius of Common Sense in Math Education written by Nakonia Hayes. The author of the article, Bruce Deitrick Price (http://www.rightsidenews.com/2012062216473/life-and-science/health-and-education/the-legend-of-john-saxon-math-warrior.html ) shares his thoughts after having read Hayes’ marvelous book which can be ordered at: http://saxonmathwarrior.com/about_me.htm

 

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