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Putting Children First!
Putting Children First!
An open letter to the Denison Community...
During its regular Board meeting on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 the Denison ISD Board of Trustees passed a resolution calling for a reexamination of the public school accountability system by the Texas Legislature. The resolution states the Board's belief that 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 in the global arena.
The fact is that our educational system in Texas is totally test-driven. As educators, we do not oppose accountability for our schools, but we believe that the current system will not prepare our students to be leaders in a rapidly changing world economy. Standardized tests dominate instructional time and block our ability to make progress toward a world class educational system of student-centered schools which graduate young adults prepared to meet the needs of the future.
The state's accountability system is designed to train all students for college. I believe it is our responsibility to produce graduates who are college ready, but I also believe that we need the flexibility to provide practical options for those students who are not college bound. Quality career and technology education programs will do just that. Unfortunately, with the demands of the current state system, students have very little room in their class schedules to explore vocational opportunities.
What we have in Texas is a "one size fits all" educational system. We have too many students who don't plan to attend college after high school, but do not have the skills necessary for employment in anything other than the most menial positions. It is important that our state leaders address the issue of providing more flexibility to local school districts so that we can provide our students with training that will prepare them for a variety of technical and vocational careers. Our state government seems to have adopted the attitude that if a little testing is good, then certainly a lot of testing must be even better! The fact is the over-emphasis on high stakes tests has been detrimental to our students and to our state.
In my opinion, those promoting high stakes testing do so with the good intention of wanting our students to perform at a high level. I simply do not believe that the current system is the best that we can do for our future leaders. Education in the 21st century requires a program that prepares all students, college-bound and non-college-bound, for success in their chosen field.
If you agree that our state's educational system needs change, I encourage you to voice your opinion. As parents, educators, business and community leaders, and taxpayers you can facilitate a change in the educational culture of this state.
Henry Scott, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
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