We’re two daughters of educators and budding social workers, looking closely at Texas schools and wondering…what?!
We are proud products of public education. Looking back on our own time in public schools (which we know, is a while back…), we have fond memories of art, band, and other electives. Our schools weren’t perfect, but they helped us get where we are today. We had teachers who pushed us to think and helped us get into college. And our memories of testing are faint, just a blip on our childhood radars.
One thing is clear: that won’t be true for the generations of students in classrooms today. A distinct shift has happened, starting with No Child Left Behind. The impact of the accountability movement on Texas in particular is staggering.
A quick look at some hard facts:
- Texas requires 15 end of course exams for high school graduation – more than double any other states’ requirement. (Source: Education Commission on the States via Raise Your Hand Texas)
- Texas ranks 49th in per-pupil funding for public schools. (Source: Dallas Morning News)
- Texas spent $89 million on testing in 2012. By 2015, that pricetag will be $100 million per year. (Source: KXAN News)
Interning at public schools in Texas and talking with friends who teach here has painted a disturbing picture: schools rearranging schedules to squeeze in extra test prep; administrators working 12 hour days during testing, scrambling to ensure compliance; entire weeks of instruction spent on standardized tests.
This blog is our effort to untangle how we got here, what’s really happening, and what’s being done to right the ship. We’re also keeping an eye on the school funding battle currently happening as part of the budget debate in the Legislature.