This reporter below didn’t cover it, but my older daughter, Clara Zamora, spoke, as well, at the press conference today. She shared her views of the TAKS test and how it takes up too much instructional time and how it places too much pressure on children. She said that she doesn’t blame the schools but rather the government because it forces principals and teachers to make it (and the benchmarks) the center of schooling and how that’s unfair. She said that an education should be about learning and not about so much testing.
Though I’m hopelessly biased, Clara rocked! She’s so unassuming and understated that she exhibited, by all accounts, enormous credibility. She also made it clear that there’s nothing wrong with the test itself. The problem is the way it’s used.
As mentioned in an earlier message, Clara also wants to inform kids of their right to not have to take the test. She and some of her friends are signing an on-line petition that they created over the weekend to support State Rep. Dora Olivo’s bills. Hopefully, she’ll be able to use this as part of her testimony next Tuesday, May 3rd, when the Committee on Public Education plans on taking testimony on the legislation—barring any unforeseen contrivance by our unsupportive Chairman on Public Education. Having effectively joined the ranks of other known conscientious test objectors—Kim Marciniak and Mia Kang (both of San Antonio), Macario Guajardo (EdCouch-Elsa), and Emiliano Guajardo (Austin)—she’s in good company. Her parents are very proud about her principled stance and her willingness to speak on behalf of children in Texas. -Angela
News 8 Story
Lawmaker Says There's Too Much Emphasis on TAKS
4/26/2005 6:11 PM
By: Allie Rasmus
It's a four-letter word that just about every parent with school-aged children knows - TAKS.
Texas students finished taking the standardized test last week.
The statewide exams test third through 11th graders every April on a variety of subjects.
In third, fifth and eighth grades, students who fail the TAKS fail the grade.
"When we get to one bubble-filling day and that makes the decision whether students pass or not, there's something wrong with that picture," Rep. Dora Olivo, D-Rosenberg, said.
Olivo wrote a bill that would make the TAKS test just one of several criteria to determine whether a student stays behind.
"The students' grades, the teacher opinion, plus the test to measure that student's performance," Olivo said.
WATCH THE VIDEO
The importance of TAKS
A bill would make the TAKS test just one of several criteria for determining student performance.
Elementary school teachers Marlee Criaco and Sue Calhoun say that's not a bad idea.
"It's very high pressure. There are kids who have never been sick before but they're so stressed out they're throwing up on the test, they're getting headaches," Criaco said.
"I don't think there's anything wrong with the TAKS test. We need to teach our children the skills that are in the TAKS test. But I think it's a sad thing that so much accountability is focused on one test," Calhoun said.
Olivo's bills, HB 1612 and HB 1613, weren't included to the House's education reform plan, but the Senate is expected to vote on its version of the House education bill on Thursday.
Olivo said there's still time this session to change the rules and decrease the pressure on Texas students. The bill is still pending in the House Education Committee. It's tentatively scheduled for a hearing on May 3.