FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Bill Hammond
Dec. 12, 2012 Phone: (512) 637-7701
Keep Accountability Strong and Increase Options
AUSTIN, TX— Texas business leaders are presenting a new plan that would mean more flexibility in testing, while keeping a strong accountability system and also focusing on post-secondary readiness for Texas students.
“Accountability has done great things for Texas education,” said Bill Hammond, President and CEO of the Texas Association of Business. “Take math for example. Minority students are three grade levels above where they were before the accountability system was introduced in 1993. We are quickly closing the performance gap between ethnic groups and I think that a big part of this success is due to the fact that we have had a strong accountability system in place.”
TAB, the Texas Institute for Education Reform and the Texas Business Leadership Council support keeping a strong accountability system and are offering a plan to improve the current system to put the focus on preparing students for a post-secondary education. Considering that 51 percent of students need remediation upon entering community college, this is where the focus should be.
“Post-secondary readiness as established by HB 3 in 2009 (the current accountability system) must remain the organizing principle of the Texas public education accountability system, and our proposal today maintains that principle.” said Jim Windham, Chairman of the Texas Institute for Education Reform.
"With only 20 percent of our public school eighth graders going on to receive a post-secondary credential within 11 years, we're simply not headed in the right direction," said Bernie Francis, Chairman of the Education Task Force for the Texas Business Leadership Council. "Texas businesses rely on a skilled workforce to grow our companies and grow our economy. We must ensure that our K-12 education system delivers post-secondary readiness for all students, ensuring they are well prepared for the jobs, training or college courses that lie ahead."
TAB, The Texas Institute for Education Reform and The Texas Business Leadership Council endorse the following initiatives:
- Support giving districts flexibility on the use of End-of-Course exams (EOC’s) in grading.
- Support a reasonable reduction in the number of successfully passed EOC’s required in order to graduate, and agree that the EOC’s for world geography and world history could be eliminated.
- Support the creation of an extended, three-year transition period for the full implementation of EOC’s in our schools.
- Support greater flexibility in courses that students may take recognizing the diverse and quality post-secondary paths a student may choose to take.
- Support an accountability system that removes the complexities that have confused and frustrated educators while continuing to ensure ratings for schools, consequences for educators and schools, and options for parents.
“We want to offer a solution to the issue of testing and accountability that will preserve the strength of the current system, while at the same time simplifying it for educators, parents and students,” said Hammond. “We are all deeply committed to accountability. We must ensure that our schools continue to improve to meet the demands of a workforce that is ever changing. Almost everyone who enters the workforce of the future will need to have post-secondary training of some kind, and our schools’ number one job should be preparing our students for that training.”
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Founded in 1922, the Texas Association of Business is a broad-based, bipartisan organization representing more than 3,000 small and large Texas employers and 200 local chambers of commerce.