Courtesy David Leao,
AUSTIN–HB 5, the education legislation that deals with high-stakes testing and curriculum in public schools, was debated by the full House of Representatives for nearly nine hours and passed overwhelmingly with a 147-2 vote.
Rep. Richard Peña Raymond, Chairman of The House Committee on Human Services, coauthored HB 5 because the legislation aims to reduce the burden of high-stakes testing and shift accountability measurement to teachers by giving them control of the standards their students must meet.
“This bill is just one step towards meaningful school reform and bringing an end to abusive testing practices,” Rep. Raymond said.
High-stakes standardized tests are used to measure grade level accountability, which determines grade-to-grade promotion, graduation, and entry to pre-professional training programs for students. It is also a major factor in school evaluations. HB 5 reduces the number of end-of-course high-stakes tests from 15 to 5.
“Existing testing practices force teachers to shift focus away from teaching their students to read well, for example, and toward teaching them only the skills needed to perform well on the test,” Rep. Raymond said. “Tests should serve the cause of improving instruction; they should generate meaningful data that will assist teachers in better serving kids and that is done when the testing is knowledgeable of the student’s school environment and surrounding culture.”
“The current competency-based testing movement is part of the broader community demand for accountability in Texas schools. As the reform of educational testing takes shape and evolves, it is vital to link it to the broader construction of meaningful school reform. I am asking my colleagues to join me in fully restoring funding to education and investing in programs focused on the well-being of our kids, such as bilingual education,” Rep. Raymond said.