Monday, May 09, 2005

CNN Program on High-Stakes Testing

In the event you missed the CNN Special  regarding high-stakes testing, you have a chance to see it next  Saturday. The program that aired last night will be  repeated next Saturday, May 14th at 2 p.m., 7 p.m. (8 p.m. EST), Texas time. They interviewed me for this program and my appearance is rather brief. Aside from exposing all the fraud, I like very much the human element, the incredible burden and stresses that this testing system places on children in a very abusive manner. -Angela


  1. I saw the CNN piece and highly recommend it, especially if you have the opportunity to watch the report with a person who is NOT an educator. I watched it with my mother, and it was really great for her to see that all of my rantings and ravings were rooted in my devotion to students and their success. Several years ago, my mom stopped by my school when she was visiting Austin. It was nearing the end of the day, but I was still with students and had asked that she come and sit in on my last classes, rather than wait in the car or front office. At that time, she was introduced to David--one of my students who was facing the reality that he would likely not graduate because he could not pass the (then) writing TAAS test. I remember mom telling him, "I'm rooting for you on your test, David!" and thinking how gracious he was in response.

    After watching Sunday's CNN report, Mom reminded me of that afternoon, and pondered whether the testing had really made a difference or impact on David's learning in school. It certainly impacted him emotionally, because he DID NOT pass the test, and WAS NOT allowed to walk the stage with his peers at the end of May.

    My hope is that there were many viewers (and will be next weekend as well) that do not spend their careers in schools, so that perhaps this message will reach a larger audience. It's affects us all, yet very few people get hot and bothered when those with the greatest insight and understanding--educators, researchers, and school systems--are completely left out of the accountability debate when it comes to creating policy. I think the public is afraid of us, or they distrust us in regard to educating children. My hope is that with a larger viewing audience people in homes across this country will begin talking with each other--like Mom and I did--about standards and testing.

    Only through a larger conversation about this mess will we be able to create a space to talk about what WORKS in public schools.

  2. we're a group of graduate students, from university of texas at san antonio. we studied the TAKS and standardized testing research with Ellen Riojas Clark this semester -- and participated in a teleconference with Dr. Valenzuela.
    especially in the CNN piece, i notice the focus on children, their decision-making. this is coupled with the apparent LACK of decision-making ability our teachers have. as a teacher, i feel a responsibility to educate, not traumatize.
    so we've created and distributed a manifesto. for a "TAKS Boycott." we promote the collective action of all texas teachers, to destroy TAKS tests (literally, with scissors or matches or something) instead of administering them. so not permit students like Mia Kang to risk their college futures. teachers should lay down in front of this TAKS bulldozer. if they're want to dismantle public education, they'll have to get through us first. refuse to step aside.