What started with eight women from Austin and suburban Houston is now a movement that spread across Texas and is challenging the standardized testing regime in the Lone Star State.
The group started by these moms, Texas Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessments, is leading the charge in support of a bill in the Texas Legislature that would reduce the number of state-required standardized tests required for high school students to graduate from 15 to five, according to this story in the American-Statesman.
There is some irony in the fact that such grassroots anti-testing fervor is happening in Texas, as this is the place where the high-stakes standardized testing movement began under then governor George W. Bush.
House Bill 5 has already passed the Texas House and is expected to get through the Senate, though Gov. Rick Perry could veto it. The group started by the Texas mothers has got parents across Texas calling and writing their legislators and showing up at hearings in support of the bill.
Theresa Treviño, a child psychiatrist and Austin mother who helped launch the parent group, was quoted by the newspaper as saying:
Who allowed these big boys to go and play in education? Now the moms have to clean it up, as usual.
Jimmie Don Aycock, a Republican who is the House Public Education Committee chairman and sponsor of the legislation, was quoted as saying:
I think their grass roots are certainly more of an impact than many of the so-called power brokers … for a lot less money. I’m glad they’re on my side.
Last summer, Bill Hammond, president of the powerful Texas Association of Business, accused teachers of trying to scare parents about standardized testing. He said:
They’ve gone about scaring mom. They’ve told mom that Johnny is not going to UT [University of Texas] because of the end-of-course exam.
Funny, these mothers don’t sound a bit scared.
For more than a year, Texas has been in the forefront of growing protests across the country against standardized testing, which has become the dominant metric in school reform to hold schools, students, principals, teachers, districts and states “accountable” for student achievement.
It was early in 2012 when Robert Scott, then the Texas commissioner of education, told the Texas State Board of Education that the mentality that standardized testing is the “end-all, be-all” is a “perversion” of what a quality education should be. Then Texas school boards began passing legislation calling for a rethinking of the standardized testing program, in which high school students could spend up to 45 days each year taking exams tests. That led to a national resolution, an opt-out of test movement and other protests against high-stakes standardized tests.
Let’s see what the Texas Legislature does.
Read the whole story here.