Wednesday, July 29, 2015 – STAAR, TEA, SBOE and Goodbye Pearson
I see where there is a dialog among teachers regarding next year’s STAAR assessment.
We, as employees of the Texas Education Agency, used to say “Your perspective depends on what altitude your aircraft flies.” There are those whose perspective of education is that viewed from a crop duster. These are teachers and principals – the ones actually doing the work to make “crops” grow.
Then there are people, such as the State Board of Education and the Texas Legislature whose aircraft is the Space Shuttle. This also includes those who believe they can evaluate an educational institution by the sheer fact they attended one.
As you express your well stated concerns please keep in mind:
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) works at the pleasure of the Texas Legislature. By statute in the Texas Education Code (help me RL and Joan for exact citation) it is the agency’s responsibility to develop and/or monitor legislation passed and signed into law or something like that.
In addition, there is statutorily defined, The State Board of Education. The Texas Legislature and the SBOE are both elected bodies. Together, they have an IQ equal to the temperature on a hot day in July in Texas.
Therefore, please ensure your comments regarding all assessments are directed to the appropriate entity.
However, you may also inform the Texas Education Agency of your concerns by calling the complaint division whose phone number is 512-463-9290. I remember this because my phone number there was 512-463-9092. I was chewed out enough by superintendents and higher ups with better titles who made way more money than I did, without being chewed out by people trying to reach the general complaint division.
It was commented that “It (STAAR) is a moving target.” I can assure you that following a legislative session everything at TEA is a moving target. This includes, but it is not limited to the creation of a Kindergarten funding program and assessment strategies for awarding schools, those letter grades of A, B, C, D, and “bottom of the barrel.” (V. Bergin, TEA, when it was fun).
In addition, I am sure the graphics department is busy making big old capital letters to hang on the front of the school.
And last, but certainly not least, we say good bye to Pearson, or Big P.
In May, the Texas Education Agency announced that Pearson Education would no longer be the exclusive standardized testing vendor, a position the British mega-company had held for more than three decades.
Which part of that hangs you up? British mega-company or three decades?
The largest provider of testing services in Texas, education giant Pearson confirmed Thursday that it will lay off more than 200 Texas employees after the state chose another vendor for the majority of its new standardized testing contract.
Nikki, don’t you love Karma?
Of course the audit did not help either. http://kut.org/post/what-s-texas-500-million-testing-contract-pearson
Still tattooed on the inside of my eyelids – “you do not have to defend the results; you have to defend the process.” And when there is no process other than “Here, you go, my friend and supporter,” it is hard to defend.
So as you express your concerns, please:
- Ensure you are complaining to and about the correct entities.
- Remember, the Commission of Education at TEA and the Chair of the State Board of Education are political appointees by the governor.
- Note that the chair of the SBOE at this time home schooled her son and has no public school background or experience.
- With New Jersey Testing replacing Big P, it’s a new bubble to color.
- Keep your voter registration card current.