Friday, May 06, 2005

Clara V. Zamora's Testimony this week

Late Tuesday evening, members of Texas and National LULAC were at the House
Public Education Committee to testify in favor of real assessment (multiple
criteria) bills sponsored by Rep. Dora Olivo.  Texas LULAC has been
supporting these bills since their inception.
Clara Valenzuela Zamora, age 12, refused to take the TAKS exam this year.
She said in the committee hearing that we need to bring fun and teaching
back to the schools. The full text of her testimony can be seen below.

Our Children Are Worth More Than a Single Test - They should be evaluated on
real assessment such as grades and performance.  Their needs should be
identified earlier, not when they have failed a test for the third time.
Angela Valenzuela, TX LULAC Education Chair, says we need to call Chairman
Grusendorf  and members of the House Public Education Committee and tell
them to let the full House decide whether to vote for HB 1612 (relating to
promotion of students to certain grade levels in public) and HB 1613
(relating to the requirements for a high school diploma).  
House Education Committee Members:
Chairman Grusendorf, R-Arlington, (512) 463-0624,
Vice-Chair Rene Olivera, D-Brownsville, (512) 463-0640,
Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, (512) 463-0367
Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, (512) 463-0510
Rep. Anna Mowery, R-Fort Worth, (512) 463-0608
Rep. Dianne Delisi, R- Temple, (512) 463-0630
Rep. Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, (512) 463-0797
Rep. Scott Hochberg, D-Houston, (512) 463-0492
Rep. Bill Keffer, R-Dallas, (512) 463-0244
Clara V. Zamora

May 3, 2005 - Testimony Before the Committee on Public Education
Thank you for allowing me to testify today.  First of all, I
want to say that I am a sixth-grade student at Barton Hills Elementary in
the Austin Independent School District.  And also, I am refusing to take the
TAKS test at my school because I do not agree with the way that the TAKS is
being used.  One of the ways that it is being used in a bad way is that it
is being used to show the students' abilities, when if they want to see that
information, they should look at the rest of the students grades, not just
ONE test.  The student could be the brightest kid in the world, but have a
low test score and be categorized in an incorrect way according to the test
score.  And this isn't fair.
            Another reason why I do not agree with the TAKS test and think
it is wrong is because it is taking up a bunch of the teachers' teaching
time for preparation of the test.  It's not fair to the students or the
teachers.  We have to spend SO much time to prepare for the test, that the
teachers don't have enough time to make teaching fun!  I remember for awhile
we were late on learning some things in math, so we had to skim through the
whole book, just so that we'd know something about what was in the book,
before the test came along.  It's not fair that it has to be a drag for the
students to go to math or reading class anymore.  I know that if the TAKS
test is not emphasized so much that all the students will enjoy school a lot
more, and all of the teachers, will like teaching more.  The ratio of the
hours of school for preparation of the TAKS to the hours of school total is
            Another thing about the TAKS test that troubles me is that we
have taken TAKS tests from the years before, and according to the grade on
those, certain students get pulled out of class at certain times of the day
for tutoring.  I don't think there's anything really wrong about that,
except for the fact that those students probably get embarrassed and they
are missing out on important things that they might need to actually know
for the TAKS test while they are in tutoring.
            I am not protesting this for my own sake.  I am doing this for
all of the students in Texas that have to take the TAKS test every year.  I
hope that me doing this will have an effect on them, and show the students
that they don't have to put up with this, and they don't have to take it.
Though their rights aren't shown, all of the students do have rights.  I
hope more and more students will protest the test and not take it, to the
point that the government finally realizes that they do have to do
something.  The government can start by passing House Bills 1612 and 1613
since they call for a better way to determine students' abilities than the
current way.  Thank you very much.

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