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Letters From Leticia Reforming the STAAR Honoring Wounded Warriors and School Finance

Letters From Leticia Reforming the STAAR Honoring Wounded Warriors and School Finance

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Published by: vomeditor on Feb 06, 2013
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Placido Salazarpsalazar9@satx.rr.com Letters From Leticia: Reforming the STAAR,Honoring Wounded Warriors, andSchool Finance
Excerpt from below:
system is not working. Wemust admit our mistakes and fix the problems. It is not about 
us, it's about what's best for school kids.” 
On several occasions, before the SBOE and before the StateCommittee on Education, I have relayed the message which Ihave heard from several teachers:
“It’s not enough to simply 
the implementation of the STAAR system….. but to
eradicate it completely 
and readjust the curriculum to allow teachers to concentrate on teaching our students, basiceducation which would provide these students the ability to solve
every-day, real-life situations
in their future careers. They want
to “stop teaching to the test,”
 The American GI Forum Motto:
 Education is Our Freedom
and Freedom Should Be Everybody’s Business
Placido Salazar, USAF Retired (
Vietnam Veteran
…… You guys
 war, don’t you?
Some of us are still around.)Commander of Dr. CP Garcia ChapterDr. Hector P. Garcia American GI Forum Org of TX
Senator Leticia Van de Putte[mailto:leticia@state-tx.ccsend.com] 
On Behalf Of 
Senator Leticia Van de Putte
Tuesday, February 05, 2013 12:23 PM
Letters From Leticia: Reforming the STAAR, Honoring Wounded Warriors, and School Finance
Having trouble viewing this email? Click here
February 5, 2013
In Case YouMissed It
Senator Van dePutte in the News
Time to Reform the STAAR Test 
Wounded Warriors Day
 School Finance Ruling
 Helping Our Military Kids
Outstanding Texas State Leader Award!
Time to Reform the STAAR Test
 Bill Would Put the Emphasis Back on Learning
Sometimes, despite all the research legislators put into a billand all the testimony given, we pass a law which, when it takeseffect and becomes public policy, does not work. Such was thecase when we passed legislation implementing the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) testingsystem in 2007 and school accountability system in 2009. At the time we passed these testing and accountability measures, it made sense for our students and our schools. Weall believed that these tests would raise standards withoutraising the stakes on kids. But in its implementation, that hasproven not to be the case. Valid concerns regarding how this testing tool is used, and whether or not it is a meaningful measure in the 21st century,have been raised by students, parents, teachers, principals,
superintendents, and business leaders. With its 15 end-of-course exams (EOCs), a complex cumulativescoring system which has to be adhered to in order tograduate, and the requirement that STAAR count as 15 percentof a student's course grade, an overemphasis developed onpreparation for testing, taking away from the creative learningprocess.For these reasons, I have teamed up with RepresentativeDiane Patrick, R-Arlington, to author Senate Bill 240 (Rep. Patrick's identical companion bill is House Bill 640). I am so
excited to once again team up with Rep. Patrick - I previously  worked with her on an anti-bullying law passed last session.Our bill pares down the end-of-course testing regime to theessentials that truly indicate college- or workforce-readiness.It reduces the number of EOCs from 15 to three: Algebra I,English III, and Writing III.It also eliminates the cumulative score, which requires thatstudents must achieve a passing average on all high schoolexams within each content area to graduate, and the 15%-of-course grade requirement, and prohibits the use of studentperformance on the EOCs in determining class rank.It also broadens the accountability system to recognize other ways students can be college- and workforce-ready. It holdsdistricts accountable for their ability to produce students thatnot only pass standardized exams but upon graduation obtainassociates degrees, score college credit levels on AP exams,score college credit levels on SAT, ACT, or IB exams, earn dualcredits, or obtain certifications and licenses.Finally, the bill deemphasizes these EOCs by prohibiting themfor being used to determine admission to a public university,although it could be considered among other criteria.These reforms maintain the importance of schoolaccountability and a rigorous curriculum."We have been told that this one-size-fits-all system does not work for our over 1,200 public school districts and charters - we agree," said my dear friend Rep. Patrick when weintroduced the bills last week. "Senator Van de Putte and Ihave crafted a bill that is a starting point with the goal of 

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