PAA Austin TX affiliate to co-sponsor testing forum
PAA affiliate Coalition SAUS leader Lorie Barzano invites you to this important event:
Ending High Stakes Testing: Where do we go from here?
Saturday, June 1, 1:00 - 3:00 PM
Carver Branch Library, Rosewood & Angelina (Austin TX)
- Edy Chamness - Director of Texas Parents Opt Out of State Tests
- Cindy Beringer - 26 year Texas public school teacher
- Jesse Hagopian - Leading teacher in the Seattle teachers MAP test boycott (calling in from Seattle)
A nation-wide resistance against high-stakes testing has begun to take shape in the forms of parent opt-outs, teacher refusals to administer tests and student walk-outs and protests. In Texas, the Legislature is poised to reduce the number of STAAR tests, yet the high stakes for students, teachers and schools remain. How can we build a true movement to save our students, teachers and schools from the grueling testing regime? Students are more than a score! Curriculum is more than standardized test prep! Teachers are more than classroom "drill and kill" sergeants!
Join us for a panel and public conversation on how we can win.
Sponsored by Occupy AISD, Texas Parents Opt Out of State Tests and the Coalition to Strengthen Austin's Urban Schools.
More info: OccupyAISD@gmail.com or CoalitionSAUS@gmail.com
Texas legislative update from PAA founding member from Houston Karen Miller
Karen writes: A number of bills related to high stakes testing are sitting on the governor's desk as well as some bad ones related to virtual schools and charter schools. He has until June 16 to sign, veto or let the bills become law without his signature.
While bills related to vouchers, tax credits, achievement school district, and
strengthening parent trigger failed to pass, less than an hour after Sine Die on Monday, 5/27, Governor Perry called a 30 day special session to deal with re-districting. While the call is limited to addressing the US Supreme Court decision on re-redistricting, the call can be expanded to other topics and the Lt. Governor has suggested vouchers be included.
My senator, Dan Patrick, founder of the Tea Party legislative caucus and chair of the Senate Education Committee, filed a "Texas Equal Opportunity Scholarship Program" yesterday. So vigilance is necessary, celebrations premature.
Hopefully the next special session will be devoted to public education, namely, fixing the school finance system which a lower court ruled unconstitutional and will head to the state supreme court.
On the funding side, the legislature increased the education budget but did not restore the $5 billion in cuts from the previous biennium.
Given that Texas adds about 1000 to 1500 residents per day (and gained 4 congressional seats as a result of the last census), the annual student enrollment increases of about 85,000 is close to adding the state of Vermont. Infrastructure is strained in terms of dealing with the growth and years of inadequate funding of basic state services.
Unfortunately, the Governor's legislative priorities included tax breaks this year, which amounts to about $1 billion plus.
Our state is wealthy yet does not invest in children and families. Our current rank in education funding is near the bottom according to NEA.