Huzzah! The Texas Tribune reports that HB866, a bill by Dan Huberty to allow many students to skip standardized testing in the fourth, sixth and seventh grades, has been approved by the States Senate 29-2 after passing the House unanimously late last month. The two nays came from Dan Patrick (R-Harris) and Brian Birdwell (R-Hood). Birdwell is so right-wing he is probably upset that all the tests hadn’t been abolished, and Patrick probably couldn’t stand the idea of anyone else spearheading something pertaining to education.
The Tribune article reports that this new program, which would only allow the test waivers if the students did “well” on their 3rd and 5th grade tests, respectively, would require an exemption from the Federal Government. Another bill, HB2836, which I talked aboutlast month after it passed the House, originally would have axed writing tests for 4th and 7th graders. The Senate butchered that bill last night, so that the “new” version would only create a commission to “look into the matter.”
As a general rule, standardized tests for Elementary education is quite the asinine proposition. Organizations like the Texas Association of Business are deadset against reducing these tests, arguing that it is a good way to measure how well a student is doing. I still think that Grades are all that are needed to “measure how well a student is doing” until at least the start of High School. Let us hope the Obama administration agrees and grants Texas waivers from the (ludicrously named) No Child Left Behind Act that would allow the reduction of these high stakes tests.