May 14, 2012
During the April 12, 2012 Board meeting, the Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Board of Trustees passed a resolution calling for a reexamination of the public school accountability system by the Texas Legislature. The resolution states that standardized, high-stakes testing is undermining our mission to prepare students for competitive careers in the global arena.
CFISD superintendent Dr. Mark Henry stated, "The educational system is overly dependent on high-stakes, standardized tests. Educators do support accountability, but at the same time, oppose the current system that does not support preparing all of our students to be productive citizens and leaders in a rapidly changing world. Standardized testing, as currently implemented, hinders progress toward a world-class educational system by driving instructional time."
It is the district's responsibility to produce graduates who are college ready, and flexibility is imperative to address quality career and technology education programs for those students who are not college bound. Unfortunately, with the requirements of the current state system, students have very little room in their graduation plans to explore vocational opportunities.
Recently, the CFISD Community Leadership Committee (CLC), whose membership includes parents, business leaders and community members, endorsed the Board's resolution, which calls for the review of the role of high-stakes testing and its impact on schools. According to Stacye Anderson, CLC community chairperson, "The CLC unanimously agreed to support the CFISD Board of Trustees Resolution Concerning High-stakes, Standardized Testing of Texas Public School Students. We are so glad to see our district become the largest district in the state so far to join this movement to implore our legislators to rethink the current approach to assessment of learning. Although we are extremely supportive of holding schools accountable for teaching all Texas children, the current overemphasis on standardized testing impedes learning and the requirement that the grade on End-of-Course exams be weighted to count as 15 percent of the final course average for high school students is onerous."
Although promotion of high-stakes testing may be based in good intention, adopting the attitude that if a little testing is good, then a lot of testing must be even better is detrimental to our students and their futures. The lack of graduation plan flexibility and the over emphasis on high-stakes tests restricts student career options, which in turn negatively affects our state's economy. Local school districts must have flexibility to prepare students for a variety of post-high school pursuits, including technical and vocational careers.