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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Opinion

Texas education standards changing for the good


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Brittaney Penney/The Cougar

There are few laws disliked as much as the “No Child Left Behind” act made law by former President George W. Bush in 2002.

This law enslaved millions of teachers to become robots in their lesson plan preparation. There was always a constant struggle to ask whether or not they were giving students the tools they needed for a test rather than a future.

Millennials grew up knowing that they must pass the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test or the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness if they wanted to eventually wear a cap and gown. Deprived of innovation and exploration in middle and high school, the generation of today has been starved for so long under the strict accountability that this act enforced.

Until recently, there has been little hope for a brighter future. However, because of the determination from Texas, it has gained the approval for an extra year of self-governing their education system from a localized perspective.

“This renewal is in the public interest,” said Ann Whalen, a senior adviser to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “Texas will be able to continue implementing its plans to promote innovative, locally tailored strategies, to improve educational outcome for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity and improve the quality of instruction.”

While some may roll their eyes in response to this proposal, the big win comes from the state leaving it up to individual districts on whether they adopt this form.

“The reprieve from the No Child Left Behind act is a welcome deep breath from those struggling to fit into the demanding skinny jeans of adequate yearly progress,” English senior Rosie Garza said.

“Because the state of Texas raised the rigor in order to increase government mandated ‘achievement levels,’ students’ scores reflect that our children aren’t making progress. In truth, our children just aren’t being tested correctly.”

For the 2016-2017 school year, Texas will be proposing a new standardized structure, the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System, which is related to NCLB requirements, but tweaked in order to accommodate individual districts in the state.

Federal officials will deem Texas “high risk status” until this method gives concrete results of progress in school districts, and if there is a failure in accountability, it could revoke the waiver in the future.

Many states are worried that the NCLB rewrite could come to a possible halt with the resignation of John Boehner, a house speaker proactive in the shaping of a new version of NCLB.

According to U.S. News, “House and Senate are conferencing to reconcile the NCLB re-authorization bills passed in each chamber. It’s unclear whether a new speaker will continue to prioritize the legislation, especially given how difficult it was to shepherd a Republican-backed version through the House.”

But Texas isn’t relying on the government anymore in shaping the needs of the education system. Texas is taking a proactive role in trying to strain away from the robotics of the NCLB implemented program.

The prospective new system shows promise to build innovation for its future successors and redefine education standards.

Opinion columnist Phylicia Sneed is an English senior and may be reached at [email protected]

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