From Jeb Bush’s Dallas Morning News opinion piece yesterday:
Today, Texas has the chance to lead again. Moving above and beyond the testing of basic academic skills, the new STAAR exams include end-of-course exams. This is a common-sense improvement to the Texas system of accountability and transparency.
If Texas taxpayers are going to invest in the classroom facilities and personnel to provide students with a physics or history class, it follows that they have the right to know how much students learned about physics or history.
The STAAR exams represent a logical and necessary next step for reform. End-of-course exams provide a deeper level of transparency across a wide array of subjects beyond reading and math.
The anti-accountability activists discuss ideas for improving schools, but ironically — without testing — lack a credible system of evaluation to judge whether they succeeded or failed.
Bush’s rhetoric is becoming easier and easier to counter. His need to dismiss opponents of high-stakes tests as “anti-accountability activists” is intellectually dishonest. And he knows it, too. Whether opponents of his test-dominated education policies be teachers, school board members, principals, superintendents or parents their point is philosophical and based on observations and outcomes.
Conveniently ignoring the waste land that is the Florida test-based accountability storm he caused, Bush is going over the head of Texas’ local school boards, its education commissioner and even members of his own party by appealing to the republican base in Texas where his last name is revered. In Jeb Bush’s world, test data proves that his education reforms work because of his tests. And doubling down on tests will be that much more swell.