State Board Discussions of Overtesting, Charter Issues Set for April 18

Two agenda items for the State Board of Education meeting in Austin this week will be of special interest to educators. Board member George Clayton, Republican of Dallas, has put a “discussion of standardized testing in Texas” on the agenda of the committee on instruction, which he chairs. At previous meetings Clayton has criticized the excessive emphasis on standardized testing spawned by the Texas accountability system. This agenda item also will address issues raised by time-consuming test preparation at the expense of instruction, including “benchmark tests administered by school districts to prepare students for state-administered assessments.”

The need for improved state quality control and oversight of charter schools will get an airing in the SBOE committee on school initiatives. In planned testimony as well as in comments submitted ahead of this week’s SBOE meeting, Texas AFT will continue to urge closer scrutiny of proposed charters before they are approved and more vigorous monitoring of charter schools’ actual performance once they are up and running.