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Saturday, April 16, 2005

Urgent Message from State Representative Dora Olivo

Public Education continues to be assaulted by the House Leadership. This particular bill has been championed by LULAC for several years. Please read below and take ACTION:

Urgent Action Alert: Transition to Accurate Assessment

April 21st: Statewide Video-conference

April 26th: Day of Action at the Capitol

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your continued support and actions through your phone calls, faxes and e-mails to the members of the Public Education Committee requesting a committee hearing for HB 1612 & HB 1613.

I would also like to recognize those organization who are reaching out to their members with our message to help broaden our base of supporters and encourage the passage of these two pieces of legislation: PTA, National Council of La Raza, the Texas Association for the Education of Young Children, LULAC, NHCSL, IDRA and the Texas Freedom Network.

Recently you might have been notified of a committee hearing on both HB 1612 & 1613 for Tuesday, April 19th. Unfortunately, the chairman of the Public Education Committee decided to take these two bills off of the schedule due to the number of bills on the calendar for that day. I cannot emphasize enough the important role you play in encouraging the chairman to reschedule these two bills as soon as possible. These are important bills that directly affect the lives of our children and could have an impact in providing a more accurate assessment of our student's education.

Our children will begin another round of the TAKS testing next week and it is very important to let everyone know that you support a transition to accurate assessment. Recently Rebecca Coleman, an eighth-grade English teacher for a school district in Dallas, was quoted in the April 14th edition of the Dallas Morning News that "Teaching is more than turning out good test takers. We're creating minds, nourishing souls and contributing to the betterment of our society. Let's not cheapen the importance of education by measuring it based on the results of one bubble-filling day."

CALL TO ACTION

1. Please call the Public Education Chairman Kent Grusendorf's office and urge your support to not delay the discussion of HB 1612 & 1613, a transition to accurate assessment. Request that a committee hearing be set for Tuesday, April 26th for both HB 1612 & 1613. Chairman Grusendorf can be reached through his capitol number: (512) 463-0624.

2. Please plan on attending the "Transition to Accurate Assessment Mobilization Day" at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 26th. This is the day we hope to have HB 1612 & 1613 set for a hearing and we plan on having a number of people to testify and sign witness affirmations. If we are unable to get this hearing on Tuesday we will use this day to break into groups and talk with Senators, Representatives and their staff serving on both the House Public Education Committee and Senate Education Committee in regards to our bills. There will be a press conference on the South steps of the Capitol at noon to draw attention to the need for testing reform. It would be great to get as many people there as possible. Spread the word.

3. This coming week we will be hosting a statewide video-conference on Thursday, April 21st at 6 pm to continue the dialogue on the transition from high stakes testing to an accurate assessment. We will be joined in Austin via video-conference by teachers, parents, students, superintendents, school board members in Dallas, El Paso and the Panhandle. The video-conference will be simulcast on the web and you can watch it live with the link available on my website. I encourage your participation and ask that you sign up at my website www.doraolivo.com.

If you have any input, suggestions and/or questions, please call Joshua Cinelli in the capitol office at 512-463-0494 or toll free 1-888-777-0033.

E-mail is Joshua.Cinelli@house.state.tx.us

Sincerely,

Dora Olivo

District 27 State Representative

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