Recently I read an article on chron.com, headed “Texas Politics” that got my attention. This article announced that a diverse group of Texas business, philanthropic and community leaders have formed a group named the “Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education”. It was described as a “nonpartisan group” of more than 200 founding members, innovators, job creators, former office holders and education advocates. Their mission was for Texas to lead the nation in higher education. It noted that this was done in support of governance proposed by Rick Perry.
The article went on to say that they were alarmed about the cuts in funding of research and professors. It was predicted as a prescription for mediocrity for Texas. I commend this group of concerned citizens for forming this movement.
It is a shame that our Governor, the legislature, these distinguished business leaders and scholars have no time or desire to improve our K-12 basic education. With all of the interest in higher education Texas has decimated the primary education programs. With no facts to support the spending of billions of dollars by adding more testing in lieu of discipline and better teachers is idiotic at best. Adding additional math and science courses with no foundation or preparation will be another disaster. Creating new testing programs appear designed as a way to evaluate teachers rather than improve our children’s knowledge.
We can’t afford to downgrade education in Texas as our current standing in 43rd place out of 50 states in K-12 schools is unacceptable. Testing does not improve knowledge, teachers do.
This new higher education drive does not even follow the laws of nature. To get an pecan tree we plant, water andFertilize a pecan. We do not wait until it reaches adult life to nourish its growth.
Most of the people who formed this new group, our academics, legislators, business leaders and Governor Perry were educated in another era like myself. We did not have discipline problems, aliens, and a welfare society to distract K-12 education. We also had fewer one parent children and parents who shared education responsibilities. Now we expect a teacher in K-12, who is responsible to teach, to also provide nurturing and discipline that is a parental obligation. Teachers spend an enormous amount of time defending their actions with parents.
Common sense will prevail that not every teacher is perfect and some will need guidance and some removed from education. If anyone believes that every K-12 child is 100% angel, they need an awakening. Our Texas leaders have decided, without any facts that the solution will be to use outside testing agencies to evaluate teacher and administrator performance.
We now live in a technological era where the entire problem could be isolated and corrected at a fraction of the costs of the STAAR testing program.
All that needs to be done is to install a digital sound camera in every classroom, office and board room from kindergarten to graduate school. This would provide the facts necessary to know exactly what to do to improve education at every level. This would pinpoint teacher, administrator, student and school board performance evaluation. Parents could witness discipline problems; administrators could review teacher performance; school boards could evaluate administrators and the state could evaluate school boards. This is what a business would do if their costs keep increasing and the performance diminished. Doing the right thing right, every time, is called success and common sense. Unfortunately politicians have little business or common sense.
How many teachers, administrators, school boards, university/college professors and trustees will fight these suggestions? All of them will. Unfortunately politicians will just ignore them.
Hoping that a child will be smarter with testing, so the professors in college task will be easier is a pipe dream. From my perspective our leadership in Texas has their education priorities bassackwards. Pardon my east Texas vocabulary.