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Resolution continues to see supporters: Council backs school, chamber against high-stakes testing
The Coppell City Council joined the Coppell Chamber of Commerce and Coppell ISD when they approved a resolution calling on the state legislature to re-examine public school accountability systems.
STAAR tests replaced the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) this year. STAAR is a more rigorous testing program. It emphasizes "readiness" standards, which are the knowledge and skills the Texas Education Agency considers most important for success.
More questions are contained in STAAR tests that the TAKS assessment did at most grade levels. High school assessments will move from grade-based tests to course-based exams. For the first time, the state's assessments will have a time limit, giving students four hours to complete each exam, according to the Texas Education Agency's website.
"Standardized, high stakes testing is strangling our public schools and undermining any chance that educators have to transform a traditional system of schooling into an educational opportunity that prepares our students to be competitive on a global stage," the resolution that was signed last Tuesday states.
City council member Brianna Hinjosa-Flores said the resolution supports the city's future leaders.
"This [resolution] continues to show our commitment and strong partnership with our school," she said. "What we [as council] do is for the greater good for the community and obviously this affects our students -- they are our future leaders. I appreciate this being on our agenda."
City Manager Clay Phillips said the council and school district have a great relationship.
"The taxpayer that elects the council elects [school board members]," he said. "The taxpayer that pays our tax, pays their tax. So, we are going to do things that make sense for the greater good."
Coppell Mayor Karen Hunt said the resolution mirrors several others signed throughout the state.
"With the consent and encouragement from our great school board," she said, "[we want] to bring some [modern thinking] to the way our state looks [at] education in hopes that we can get past some of this crazy testing ...I don't remember the exact stats, but our children are tested way too much and don't get to spend their time learning."
Anthony Hill, Coppell ISD school board president, said the board appreciates the city signing the resolution.
"It is a strong commitment showing the partnership, as Mrs. Hinojosa-Flores stated, to supporting our students in the community," he said." They spend an excessive amount of time in the spring [testing] -- if you go to our elementary, middle and high schools -- they are inundated with testing. Whether it is end of course, STAAR, TAKS, whatever, they are being prepared to do those tests. It takes away from instructional time and real learning and that's what we are all about in this community."
Other districts that have challenged the current high-stakes testing system include Sherman ISD, located in far north Texas, Amarillo ISD; El Paso ISD; Magnolia ISD, near Houston; Allen ISD and Rockwall ISD. As of May 24, 519 districts representing more than 3 million students have notified the Texas Association of School Administrators they've adopted the resolution, according to its website.